Double clicking on folders in the desktop interface of Ubuntu will open them in Nautilus. This is a briefing of my research so far:

I have installed PcManFM. I like it because it very quick. However, I have not been able to configure Ubuntu 14.04LTS to open the folder placed in the desktop. The answers in this post either don't work (for folders placed in the desktop) or make my desktop disappear (as PcManFM seems to be able to manage the desktop like Nautilus or Nemo).

I have installed Nemo. I like how it manage the files in the desktop. However, it has the same issue than Nautilus: it doesn't open the folders in the desktop in a new tab.

I have installed a newer version of Nautilus. It has the option to open folders in a new tab. Unfortunately that option is not shown in the folder placed in the desktop. I have not find anything related in the Nautilus settings either.

Is there any file browser both able to integrate perfectly in Ubuntu 14.04LTS, and open folders in tabs instead new windows? Ideally, it will detect if the tab of that folder is already opened, so we won't have several tabs with the same folder opened.

  • Did you try the solutions proposed in this question? askubuntu.com/questions/55656/… – Sylvain Pineau Feb 24 '15 at 8:43
  • No @SylvainPineau. That script seems a nice workaround if there is not any well integrated into Ubuntu file browser able to open folders in tabs instead new windows. Thank you! Let's wait for somebody who know a file browser able to do that before :) – chelder Feb 24 '15 at 12:38
  • @SylvainPineau those solutions didn't work for me. I wrote a comment in that post explaining my procedure... – chelder Mar 9 '15 at 0:27

PCManFM is now my default Desktop Manager in Ubuntu 14.04LTS. I followed the following tutorial: http://linuxg.net/how-to-install-pcmanfm-1-2-1-on-ubuntu-14-04-trusty-tahr-and-derivative-systems/

I'm going to copy and paste the commands of that tutorial. Visit the above link for more information.

Install or update from repository:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lubuntu-dev/lubuntu-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pcmanfm

Set as the default directory manager:

xdg-mime default pcmanfm.desktop inode/directory

Backup (instead removing) Nautilus Desktop Manager:

sudo mv /etc/xdg/autostart/nautilus-autostart.desktop /etc/xdg/autostart/nautilus-autostart.desktop.bak

Go the the autostart folder:

cd /etc/xdg/autostart    

Create a file (copy and paste the full command below)

sudo sh -c 'cat > pcmanfm-autostart.desktop <<EOF

[Desktop Entry]


Name=File Manager PCManFM

Exec=pcmanfm --desktop




Configure PCManFm Desktop Settings:

pcmanfm --desktop-pref

Reboot Ubuntu


How about speed up Nautilus a bit ...

gsettings set 

org.gnome.nautilus.preferences default-folder-viewer 'list-view'
org.gnome.nautilus.list-view use-tree-view true

org.gnome.nautilus.preferences always-use-location-entry true

org.gnome.nautilus.preferences show-image-thumbnails 'local-only'
org.gnome.nautilus.preferences show-image-thumbnails 'never'

org.gnome.nautilus.list-view default-zoom-level 'small'

To open a folder as Tab you can use the mouse-wheel as button to click CTRL+SHIFT+T If you open a directory from extern, which is already open in nautilus, the file browser does not open a new window. But I think there is no easy possibility to call nautilus for a new tab in an existing window, because nautilus does not know which open window to choose.

  • Thanks but I think it does not solve the problem of opening the folders of the desktop in a tab (as PcManFM does), so I can't choose it as a answer mate! – chelder Feb 17 '15 at 20:34

Give Thunar a try, it comes standard with xfce desktops, so its fairly quick and well integrated.

It support tabs and tree-view among other settings. Right-click on a folder and choose open in a new tab.

It features bulk rename with a good selection of options, f.eks. renaming audiofiles from their metadata. Get it from the repository:

enter image description here

Set Thunar as default File-Manager:

In the controll-pannel open Prefered Applications: Go to Utilities tab. enter image description here

Then select Thunar.

Have a nice day.

  • I'm trying to open the folder places in the desktop with Thunar, but so far I haven't been able (folders placed in my desktop are always opened with Nautilus!). How did you configure Thunar to open those folders with Thunar?? – chelder Feb 26 '15 at 16:15
  • 1
    I have executed exo-preferred-applications to set Thunar as the default file manager. Dropbox and other software open Thunar by default instead PcManFM. However, the folders placed in the desktop are opened by Nautilus yet! – chelder Feb 27 '15 at 18:25
  • Last time I checked, Thunar 4.12 crashed copying files from, like, anywhere... Really annoying. – tutuca Jun 27 '15 at 4:05

I recommend Krusader, which is a very powerful file browser and more. Maybe it's not exactly what you were looking for but I think it is worth the effort to get used to. It can do anything you want of a file browser to do, and much more.

I especially recommend this program to people (like me) who got used to the legendary "Norton commander" in the early DOS days, and never understood why people think that the "point and click" method of file browsing is any good!

This program is a split screen, multi-tabbed file browser, with a lot of powerful tools built in to it, and the possibility to add many more. To name just a few, it has a built in file viewer, multi-rename tool, files comparison tools, quick and easy archive packer and unpacker (including treating of archives as folders) and much more.

Here is a screenshot, to show the concept:
enter image description here

Also, a screenshot of a desktop folder being opened in a new tab: enter image description here

  • OK thanks for your suggestion, but will Krusader open the folders in the desktop? – chelder Mar 1 '15 at 11:46
  • Sure (if I understand your question correctly), just browse to the folder and choose open in new tab (see edited post above). – yaron160 Mar 19 '15 at 9:52
  • I think I did not explain it well. If we minimize all the windows, we will see the desktop. In that desktop I have folders. If I double click any of these folders, it will be opened by nautilus. – chelder Mar 19 '15 at 11:31
  • 1
    I see. Double clicking on folders in the desktop interface of Ubuntu will open them in nautilus. Sorry, I don't know how to tweak Ubuntu so that double clicking on a desktop folder will open it in something other than Nautilus (and in a new tab). What I suggest is a change of concept. You can double click on a folder and browse to the desktop directory. From there you can open folders in new tabs. Within Nautilus you can do this with the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+T. – yaron160 Mar 22 '15 at 9:26
  • hmm interesting! – chelder Mar 22 '15 at 18:18

I don't have sufficient rep to add a comment to the previous Krusader answer so I'm forced to put it here (it probably wouldn't fit in a comment anyway). From the Krusader "package blurb" (https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/trusty/+package/krusader)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Krusader is a simple, easy, powerful, twin-panel (commander-style) file manager, similar to Midnight Commander (C) or Total Commander (C). . It provides all the file management features you could possibly want. . Plus: extensive archive handling, mounted filesystem support, FTP, advanced search module, viewer/editor, directory synchronisation, file content comparisons, powerful batch renaming and much more. . It supports archive formats: ace, arj, bzip2, deb, iso, lha, rar, rpm, tar, zip and 7-zip. . It handles KIOSlaves such as smb:// or fish://. . Almost completely customizable, Krusader is very user friendly, fast and looks great on your desktop. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm about to install it myself right now.

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