I cannot find enable-interactive-search in

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences enable-interactive-search true.  

I searched using

gsettings list-recursively | grep search  


gsettings list-recursively | grep interactive  

but no such option.

Can you help me disable this in Ubuntu 17.10 and later?

  • 4
    It looks like Ubuntu does no longer provide this feature from 17.10 onwards. Source: news.softpedia.com/news/…
    – Znert
    Oct 21, 2017 at 10:09
  • 26
    This is frustrating and needlessly stupid.
    – nmax
    Oct 21, 2017 at 14:41
  • 1
    Install Nemo
    – birgersp
    Feb 9, 2018 at 11:16

4 Answers 4


Gnome decided to remove the navigation feature type-ahead and replace it with search. They fail to see this is a big problem for many users.

Up until Ubuntu 17.10 Canonical provided a patched version of Nautilus that retained this feature. This is not the case anymore and type-ahead is gone for good.

You are of course welcome to join the Nautilus mailing list and state your reasons why this feature is still needed. I don't see much use in that, though. One of the maintainers told me "This has been discussed to death and we have likely heard all the arguments."

  • 34
    This is quite frustrating, as I (and apparently others too) use that feature frequently. For what it's worth, disabling recursive search brings behavior a bit closer to the old type-ahead one (but also affects the explicit Ctrl-F search, as those are the same): gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences recursive-search 'never' Oct 26, 2017 at 14:35
  • 8
    As someone who uses the file browser with my keyboard a lot, their decision is just a deal-breaker for me. I simply cannot keep using Nautilus if this isn't fixed. I noticed there's a bug on Launchpad regarding this, already. bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/nautilus/+bug/1164016
    – birgersp
    Feb 9, 2018 at 9:48
  • 3
    Here's a more recent bug, discussing the issue. Please voice your opinion: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/nautilus/+bug/1666681
    – birgersp
    Feb 9, 2018 at 10:09
  • Another one, closed but still active as of april 2018: gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/nautilus/issues/244 Apr 28, 2018 at 15:38
  • 2
    @JamesHemsing Even with an SSD, this feature can make Nautilus unusable, as it still can have a significant delay as it searches all files, sometimes finding a ton of garbage results that have a partial match for every key press. I have an SSD, and this is quite possibly the biggest usability regression in the current release. I really wish the Gnome team would stop snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
    – Cerin
    Apr 9, 2019 at 17:17

Woohoooo! There is a brand new modified version of Nautilus.

See https://launchpad.net/~lubomir-brindza/+archive/ubuntu/nautilus-typeahead

I've been waiting for a long time before I find this feature again. Hope that Nautilus developers will consider adding it as an option in the app.

  • 2
    Best answer, this seems to work great
    – Matifou
    May 6, 2018 at 4:13
  • Ok, I 've added the PPA, but how can I install it?
    – s.ouchene
    Jul 17, 2020 at 16:50
  • Thanks man. This was what I have bee looking for. Dec 23, 2020 at 1:27

I've participated to long debates with the Nautilus developers and we were not able to be convincing enough to have this feature as it was before. The only response was that it was going to be improved in the future.

I like Nautilus but this change made it unusable for me. That drives me crazy.

My solution is simple: switch to another software. I now use Nemo which is fork of Nautilus.

  • 5
    How do you switch the file manager to Nemo?
    – birgersp
    Feb 9, 2018 at 9:56

If you really want to have this functionality in Nautilus 3.26 (which is right now the current version in Ubuntu 17.10), check out my step-by-step guide to get it in this question: Traditional search-as-you-type on newer Nautilus versions to build your own version of Nautilus with the support patched back in!

There is actually a way to get this in Nautilus 3.26 (the current version in Ubuntu 17.10), which is building your own version from source using a patch provided by the awesome Arch Linux community. Luckily the great build system in Ubuntu makes this quite easy. Here are the steps. I'll assume you'll be working in ~/bld-nautilus-typeahead. Open the terminal and do the following:

# install some necessary tools
sudo apt-get install git

# Create your work directory and go there
mkdir bld-nautilus-typeahead ; cd bld-nautilus-typeahead

# Clone the repository holding the needed patch: 
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/nautilus-typeahead.git

# Make sure the source repositories for the main archives are available:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

# If the deb-src line for the main repository (usually around line 6)   
# is commented out (starts with a #)     
# uncomment it (remove the #) and save the file.  
sudo apt-get update

# Install the build dependencies
sudo apt-get build-dep nautilus

# Retrieve the sources for Nautilus
apt-get source nautilus

# Source should now be in the 'nautilus-3.26.0/' folder. Go there
cd nautilus-3.26.0/

# and Apply the patch from arch-linux
patch -p0 < ../nautilus-typeahead/nautilus-restore-typeahead.patch

# Build the package from source
dpkg-buildpackage -rfakeroot -uc -b

# This will take a little time. If everything goes well, the related packages will end up in the parent directory. Go there
cd ..

# and install the required packages
sudo dpkg -i nautilus_3.26.0-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb nautilus-data_3.26.0-0ubuntu1_all.deb

Start a new Nautilus. Type some letters. Experience that feeling of joy that happens when the file you intended gets selected.

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