I recently installed Cinnamon on my Ubuntu 12.04.1 and I loved the interface of its file manager Nemo, which I guess is also based on Nautilus. But I prefer Nemo over Nautilus and I want to remove Nautilus completely and have Nemo as my defaut File Manager.

The problem however is that removing Nautilus requires me to remove ubuntu-desktop too. Is it possible somehow to retain Ubuntu Desktop and remove Nautilus?

2 Answers 2


You don't need to remove Nautilus - just set Nemo as default - see here.

To install Nemo, open a terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/nemo
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nemo nemo-filerolle

If you need to install extensions for Nemo (optional)

sudo apt-get install nemo-compare nemo-dropbox nemo-media-columns nemo-pastebin nemo-seahorse nemo-share

To use Nemo as default File Manager, you will need dconf-tools

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

To disable Nautilus from drawing the desktop item,

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons false

To Set Nemo as the default file manager (replacing Nautilus),

xdg-mime default nemo.desktop inode/directory application/x-gnome-saved-search

If you have removed unity, you should be able to reinstall it.

Start your computer and login & open a terminal.

If you can't login, enter the tty with Ctrl+Alt+F2.

Then run:

sudo apt-get install unity-2d
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop-2d
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
sudo apt-get install xserver-xgl
sudo apt-get install emerald
sudo apt-get install compiz-fusion-plugins-extra
sudo apt-get install git compiz-plugins-extra
sudo apt-get install compiz-plugins-extra
sudo apt-get install unity

Then reboot - if in the tty just run:

sudo shutdown -r now
  • Don't mind about the edit @GunJack - should of done it anyway - Would a better title for your new question be Stuck with Intel GMA 3600 (I think that is what it was about...)
    – Wilf
    Dec 15, 2013 at 20:24
  • 1
    I asked that more than a dozen times. At least this one got some views. And with the edit, I was just trying to earn some points
    – GunJack
    Dec 15, 2013 at 20:27
  • 1
    Never mind... If your question had some more information, perhaps they would not of minded the title so much :-)
    – Wilf
    Dec 15, 2013 at 20:29
  • Some applications, like Zotero, do not respect xdg-mime. Only after removing Nautilus, they obeyed my preference of Dolphin. Sep 13, 2016 at 17:44

ubuntu-desktop is a package that doesn't contain any files but just depends on other packages (that's called a "metapackage"). Unity will still work if you remove this package.

  • I removed nautilus and now there is no Ubuntu or Ubuntu-2D in my login greeter.
    – GunJack
    Dec 15, 2013 at 18:34
  • What did it remove as dependencies?
    – Wilf
    Dec 15, 2013 at 18:45
  • It removes ubuntu-desktop
    – GunJack
    Dec 15, 2013 at 19:06
  • 2
    In 12.04 at least gnome-session depends on nautilus. As Unity needs gnome-session this will also remove Unity (Cinnamon may be affected, too). But that is not caused by removing ubuntu-desktop. Dec 15, 2013 at 19:34

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