Is there a file explorer for ubuntu with a windows style interface? and Nautilus statusbar visibilty - Quickly check free space

These above are not the same as this question and I am struggling to find a definitive answer.

I am trying to ascertain whether or not there is an equivalent program to the windows explorer.exe for Ubuntu. I have worked for years on windows and just cannot get used to the mac/linux file explorer.

In windows explorer the current position of where you are is represented in a nice expandable tree on the left with the contents of the current folder in the main window on the right.

Eg: widnows explorer screen shot

In Ubuntu's "file" and Mac's "Finder" there is no such thing (as far as i can tell), merely a single representation of your current position in the file structure.

EG: Ubuntu files screenshot

In the windows explorer screen shot (please ignore the somewhat garish aesthetics) you can clearly see all the folders in c:/ on the left hand side and the contents (folders and files) on the right.

In the ubuntu screen shot, i am in "/home/john/Documents/test folder" yet the "Documents" folder on the left is still closed. Meaning if you are alien (for whatever reason, a new project or what ever) to the fileset you are working on it becomes extremely time consuming as you have to head somewhat blindly into different folders... but if you are generally a busy person with far too much work to do the very last thing i want to do is waste any time on what should be the simplest IT task... navigating a file system.

Is there any way I can achieve a windows explorer style file navigation?

NB I am not looking to replicate anything else of windows file explorer.


2 Answers 2


I'd recommend Thunar.

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You can get the tree view in the side panel by just setting this mode in View -> Side Pane -> Tree:

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  • That looks like what i am after :) perfect, thank you very much.
    – John
    Dec 19, 2014 at 13:39
  • This should be the default file explorer, it is far superior. Why would the creators of Ubunutu want to limit their users opening experience to something as childish as "files" or "nautilus" or whatever it is called?! Anyway thanks again for the tip, perfect solution :)
    – John
    Dec 19, 2014 at 13:48
  • @John While Thunar might appear superior in some ways I can assure you that Nautilus has a more advanced featureset, especially where connection to remote servers and extensions are concerned. Dec 19, 2014 at 16:04
  • 1
    I believe you, however for my needs thunar was actually workable. I would be wasting far too much time clicking around filesystems using nautilus. I have just taken a peek at LinuxMint and their nemo appears to do everything i need too. I believe from my reading that mint is based on ubuntu and nemo on nautilus.. so hopefully i have the best of both worlds :)
    – John
    Dec 20, 2014 at 1:14
  • Probably Ubuntu's UI decisions to go with a Unity style. Fortunately (unfortunately?) in linux there's always someone willing to "fork" an app & make it how they prefer.
    – Xen2050
    Dec 20, 2014 at 7:16

I'm pretty sure Nautilus can show a folder tree in it's side pane, it's switchable between the "Places" or a tree (maybe other options too). https://askubuntu.com/a/339138 [May even be a duplicate Q]

As can Thunar (XFCE file manager)

  • Welcome. You might want to check out the "source" of Thunar too, the XFCE Desktop Environment. Xubuntu uses it, I use Linux Mint XFCE (based on Ubuntu, so it's like Ubuntu plus extras)
    – Xen2050
    Dec 19, 2014 at 14:14
  • Hello Linux Mint! XFCE on ubuntu was a little funky for my liking but mint seems awesome so far! nemo is just as good as thunar (to my untrained eye) and comes out of the box. Thanks for the mint tip!
    – John
    Dec 20, 2014 at 1:11
  • FYI Mint's main versions are based on (sort of built from) Ubuntu, or they have a Debian based rolling-release version too. I really like the ready-to-rock (pre-installed) media codecs & flash. Xubuntu 14.04 was a little "rough" when I tried it too, but Mint's XFCE is smooooove
    – Xen2050
    Dec 20, 2014 at 7:21

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