I originally had a Downloads folder, but decided to create a separate partition for it.

So I renamed Downloads to Downloads2. I know, I should have just cut and pasted the content, but this seemed easier.

Anyway: for some reason Downloads2 was now the default Downloads directory. It even got the Ubuntu Download icon (the arrow alone)

But no matter what I do now: Downloads2 is still the default download directory. Even changing its name does nothing this time around. How is that possible? And how do I change it?


Nautilus-the-file-browser is smart enough to notice that you're renaming a "special" folder ("Downloads" in your case) and adjust its settings to use the new name.

The settings are stored in the file $HOME/.config/user-dirs.dirs - you can either edit this or just do some trickery with renaming your current Downloads2 back to Downloads via Nautilus.

Then you can move the contents from there to a separate partition and then mounting that partition as $HOME/Downloads.

See this question for more details.

  • I needed to restart the session for the change to take effect in Nautilus. No more luck with xdg-user-dirs-update.
    – KrisWebDev
    Mar 28 '16 at 11:48
  • Does this apply to trash:/// directory as well? My nautilus says it cannot find it, and yet it does exist, and I can use trash-cli utilities to empty out the trash. Aug 15 '17 at 6:34

Use xdg-user-dirs-update

xdg-user-dirs-update --set DOWNLOAD /absolute/path/to/new/download/folder
  • Does this require a reboot or something? Re-launching Nautilus didn't work. Ubuntu 16.04.3. Oct 11 '17 at 8:16

Ubuntu Tweak can be useful for you this time, but includes the install of the Ubuntu Tweak software, whose intuitive GUI will guide you on this and some other useful processes.

When installed, simply choose Ubuntu Tweak from within the System Tools sub-menu in the main menu. After which you can go to the "Personal" section in the sidebar and look inside "Default folders", where you can choose which will be your default folder for Downloads, Documents, Desktop, etc.

enter image description here

I hope this help you.

Good luck!

  • I forgot about that app, thanks. Unfortunately: it crashes on startup here. Already made a bug repport about it.
    – skerit
    Sep 7 '11 at 21:48

In Nautilus try Bookmarks > Bookmarks. You can edit the locations of the bookmarked folders.enter image description here

  • 1
    This initially created another bookmark called "Downloads" and didn't change the original one marked with the down arrow. After Nautilus crashed (restarting it wasn't sufficient), the new folder did replace the original one. Oct 11 '17 at 8:17

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