I'm on Ubuntu 14.04.

Here is what happens when I run "nautilus /". The program runs, and the terminal goes to the next command line. Perfect.(http://postimg.org/image/9cpyfjqvp/)

But here is what happens when I try to run "sudo nautilus /". The program runs, but an error message displays, and the terminal does not go to the next command line. (http://postimg.org/image/3ptli2od1/)

Here is what happens when I try to go to the next command line without closing the program, by using Control+Z. The program freezes solid, and needs to be force-quit. Well that's even worse.(http://postimg.org/image/m6o08w4b9/)

Here is what happens when I then try "sudo nautilus /&". The program literally doesn't even run, then displays an error message, and fails to leave me on a command line.(http://postimg.org/image/pg2ffcset/)

I try Control+C, then "exit", only to find that there are apparently stopped jobs. That's… odd, but I figure it might be worth taking a screenshot of, in case it means something.(http://postimg.org/image/3uxcrqvo5/)

After restarting my computer, "sudo nautilus /&" literally just does nothing. It doesn't even ask me for my password, or give me an error message, or anything.(http://postimg.org/image/cscab8dbl/)

But "sudo nautilus /" apparently still works, with the same problems as before.(http://postimg.org/image/7icu68fcx/)

After exiting the program using the upper left X-button, a bunch of error messages are pumped into the terminal window, but I am fortunately dropped off on a new command line.(http://postimg.org/image/6vdxgpigx/)

Oddly, this time, I can still use "sudo nautilus /".(http://postimg.org/image/re8tlrwe9/)

Exiting the program using Control+C produces zero error messages, however using "exit" afterward reveals another stopped process.(http://postimg.org/image/pyfrxwox3/)

How do I run Nautilus as administrator from the terminal, and go to the next command line?!

  • 1
    I wouldn't run Nautilus with sudo to begin with.
    – xangua
    Jul 24, 2015 at 15:53

3 Answers 3


gksudo seems appropriate:

gksudo nautilus / &

From the gksudo man page:

   gksu  is a frontend to su and gksudo is a frontend to sudo.  Their pri‐
   mary purpose is to run graphical commands that need  root  without  the
   need to run an X terminal emulator and using su directly.

Note: if gksudo is not available for your release of Ubuntu you can get it with:

sudo apt-get install gksu

Using the pure CLI way ;)

sudo -i nautilus / & disown

disown – Remove jobs from the table of active jobs

sudo -i – Run the shell specified by the target user's password database entry as a login shell.


Try xdg-su -c "nautilus /" &

I use xdg-su whenever I run into problems opening gui applications with sudo

From xdg-su --help:

xdg-su ? run a GUI program as root after prompting for the root password


xdg-su [-u user] -c command

Not sure if xdg-su comes out of the box with ubuntu. If not, try what Sylvain Pineau suggested, gksudo

  • In which package is xdg-su? apt-file search xdg-su gives no results.
    – A.B.
    Jul 24, 2015 at 17:21
  • I believe the package is called xdg-utils, but I'm not sure
    – Davide
    Jul 24, 2015 at 17:25
  • No, there is no file with this name in xdg-utils
    – A.B.
    Jul 24, 2015 at 17:30
  • After a bit of searching, I found a bug report from 2011 asking for xdg-su to be included in xdg-utils for ubuntu. It seems very odd, since other major distros come with xdg-su out of the box
    – Davide
    Jul 27, 2015 at 8:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.