I would like to know if there is something like DOS interface for Ubuntu. I mean a "GUI" that can run from the console (for example if you are using Ubuntu Server). Some file explorer like Nautilus but in console.

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  • Is this what your looking for maybe?
    – Seth
    Nov 27, 2012 at 0:01
  • No, i don't want to run DOS programs, I want a GUI for file exploring, searching WiFi networks, something like Nautilus but in a console
    – Andres
    Nov 27, 2012 at 0:03
  • 6
    For file searching you have midnight commander, for scanning wifi networks I do not know, for web browsing you have w3m, for playing music you can use sox. Nov 27, 2012 at 0:05
  • 2
    – Mateo
    Nov 27, 2012 at 0:15
  • Nice !!! Byobu with MidnigthCommander is exactly what I need ;)
    – Andres
    Nov 27, 2012 at 0:33

6 Answers 6


Well there is midnight commander:

mcscreenshot To install: sudo apt-get install mc
To run: mc

And also Last File Manager:

lfmscreenshot To install: sudo apt-get install lfm
To run: lfm

  • Does they support full control by keyboard? Because I can't use mouse on Ubuntu Server
    – Andres
    Nov 27, 2012 at 0:13
  • 7
    Midnight commander does work entirely from the keyboard. If function keys aren't available, you can use ESC followed by the digit corresponding to the function key.
    – BillThor
    Nov 27, 2012 at 1:13
  • Why anyone would choose Last File Manager over midnight commander? Mar 13, 2017 at 17:18
  • Similar to @BillThor comment: M-<chr>: Press Alt key and a character key at the same time. Useful if you are inside Byobu. Mar 14, 2017 at 2:14


ranger is a file manager with VI key bindings. It provides a minimalistic and nice curses interface with a view on the directory hierarchy. The secondary task of ranger is to psychically guess which program you want to use for opening particular files.

  • UTF-8 Support
  • Multi-column display
  • Preview of the selected file/directory
  • Common file operations (create/chmod/copy/delete/...)
  • VIM-like console and hotkeys
  • Automatically determine file types and run them with correct programs
  • Change the directory of your shell after exiting ranger
  • Tabs, Bookmarks, Mouse support

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  • What a fantastic program. I owe you a beer for bringing it to my attention. May 11, 2013 at 23:30
  • On Mac, brew install ranger and bam!
    – Max
    Jul 8, 2019 at 23:43

Another useful filemanager that can be operated entirely from the keyboard is vifm and it is available in the repositories. You can install it with:

sudo apt-get install vifm

It has an ncurses style interface and is ideal for using on servers. It is quite similar to the other dual pane file managers mentioned except that it supports all the vim shortcuts. If you know all the various ways of operating in vim, then this file manager will be ideal and you will not need to learn another slew of shortcuts.

A vifmrc is created in a ~/.vifm folder when the program is installed, so you can add your own personal configurations and keybindings. However, to fully use all the more recent features such as customising keybindings you will need to compile the latest version from the project site, and make sure you install the minimum build dependencies libmagic-dev and libx11-dev. The version in the repositories is fine and stable, but it is quite an old version (0.4.2) and the current version is 0.7.4.

Just like in vim, you can press Shift+: to enter the command line inside the file browser and perform many actions, as as noted in the documentation at the Sourceforge site. The creator of the program indeed uses it for his home server, as he shows in his screenshots here, so I think the program would be perfect for you, or anyone already familar with vim.

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You could take a look at Dired Mode for Emacs. Though it's integrated to Emacs (so you have to learn the whole stuff), it's so much useful and nice to use that it could be nice to try it.

You can display a repository in in the console by running it in no-window mode:

emacs -nw /path/to/your/repository/

Dired is a visual directory editor, a computer program for editing file system directories. Dired runs on any Emacs platform. Its commands are generally more modal than most Emacs commands because Dired is a specialized major mode on its own. Dired can perform all expected operations; in operation and use it is akin to an orthodox file manager like Midnight Commander.

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This thread reminded me that you can open a directory with vim and browse it from there with arrow keys and enter. Which is about all I wanted. :+1:

vim .
  • long term I want one of the other file managers mentioned, but this deserves +2 because it's available by default in more locations. Oct 16, 2016 at 2:20

I like the netrw script for VI:


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