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I'm switching over from Windows to Ubuntu, and I want to know how to get the functionality of Windows Run dialog in Ubuntu.

In Windows, I just go to the Start button, and enter in the search field run, and the Run dialog pops up. I mainly use this program to connect to servers in my network by typing \\ + the name of the server.

screenshot showing run dialog

How do I replicate this functionality in Ubuntu? Do I use the command line? I've read elsewhere about an old GNOME program called "Run" that I can get by installing the Compizconfig Settings Manager, but I don't know if this is what I want.

marked as duplicate by muru command-line Apr 4 '17 at 6:46

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Regarding recently removed material: For information about what the Run... dialog in Windows does under the hood, I recommend posting somewhere like Super User. – Eliah Kagan Sep 2 '13 at 22:48
  • @ShaharilAhmad Please post that as an answer. – ignis Dec 13 '13 at 12:34
  • @ignis answer below. – Shaharil Ahmad Jan 12 '14 at 19:23

I believe that the equivalent of windows "Run" dialog is Alt+F2.

In most Linux systems this will popup a dialog waiting for a command. In the latest versions of Ubuntu, the Dash will open asking you for a command to run.

Of course, you can use a terminal for commands as well. You can open one using Ctrl+Alt+T.

I believe that things like the run dialog in Windows and Alt+F2 in Linux exist as GUI replacements of the terminal, for simple commands that do not have their own desktop launcher in Windows or desktop file in Linux.


You can check this website out for a starter,

1) Terminal

2) Command Line Resources

3) Useful commands in Ubuntu

Thank you @ignis @almel


At the risk of hijacking this thread, and since I am not yet allowed to comment on the above answer, I will expand on this question here. IMHO, Dash does not replicate the function of the Windows Run dialog. In particular, if I don't know which application to use with a particular file type, I can enter a file specification in the Windows Run dialog, and windows will (usually) open the file in the appropriate application. Also, if I enter a directory path in the Windows Run dialog, Windows will display that directory in Explorer. How can I best accomplish such tasks in Linux (Ubuntu)?

P.S. Since this is billed as an answer, I can at least add one answer which I have found for the first task mentioned above (thanks to this thread). It isn't quite as convenient as the Windows Run dialog, however:

  1. Open a terminal window (e.g. by typing Ctrl-Alt-T)
  2. At the command prompt, type:

    xdg-open <filespec>
  3. The file specified in <filespec> should open in the appropriate application.
  • For me (under Ubuntu 12.04), exo-open returns: The program 'exo-open' is currently not installed. whereas xdg-open works witout requiring any additional installation. – R B Dec 13 '13 at 12:37

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