I am running Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 with GNOME 3.18, and I would like to know if I can do any of the following and if so how:

  • Make it so that a folder is not indexed but leave its contents indexable (so that if I search for that folder's name in my system nothing will come up, but if I search for its contents, that will come up)

  • Make it so that a folder is not indexable and nor is any of its contents (and if it contains sub-folders within it then it should recursively not allow any contents in them to be indexed nor the contents of any sub-sub-folders in the sub-folders etc, nor any of those sub-folders themselves)

  • Make it so that individual files in a folder are not indexable, though not having any impact on other contents nor the parent-folder

So, are any of these variants possible? I believe the indexing program is called Tracker which indexes files and folders and their contents and allows for one to search for them on the system.

  • I didn't update Ubuntu 16.04 to GNOME 3.20 (so I got GNOME 3.18). I didn't find tracker-preferences But I solved installing tracker-gui You get the preferences as well. I hope it could help.
    – Domenico
    Oct 30, 2017 at 13:40
  • The solutions below are for Ubuntu 16.04. Any solutions for Ubuntu 18.04?
    – becko
    Dec 28, 2019 at 1:37

2 Answers 2


In Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 with GNOME 3.20 there is now such an application called Search and Indexing (or tracker-gui) installed by default (if it is not installed or if you are running a previous version which does not have it pre-installed then it can be installed by running sudo apt-get install tracker-gui) which one can use to highly flexibly change the indexing settings with (I have blacked out some personal information in one of the screenshots):

Indexing tab

Locations tab

Ignored Content tab

Control tab


As can be seen from the above screenshots this covers most of the points in the question.

  • 3
    Seems 16.04 was the last version with tracker-gui on official repos. Do you know of any alternative? Mar 20, 2019 at 17:22
  • I'm also looking for an 18.04 alternative Apr 9, 2019 at 13:42
  • Any alternative for 18.04?
    – becko
    Dec 28, 2019 at 1:36

By default folders with a .trackerignore file are ignored, so it should be enough to do:

touch .trackerignore

in the folder you don't want to be indexed.

  • That's probably just the manual way of doing what the GUI does in the backend though,
    – user364819
    Jun 22, 2018 at 4:59
  • dconf read /org/freedesktop/tracker/miner/files/ignored-directories-with-content
    – Jack Wasey
    Jul 8, 2019 at 15:08
  • dconf read /org/freedesktop/tracker/miner/files/ignored-directories
    – Jack Wasey
    Jul 8, 2019 at 15:08
  • Can anyone confirm if this works in Ubuntu 18.04
    – becko
    Feb 9, 2020 at 11:01

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