I installed elementary OS Freya (in Polish), fully updated it and then used the language plug to fully install Polish language. I might've accidentaly changed language to English. Then I log out, logged in and elementary OS asked me if I want to change the default folder names to the new language. I pressed "Yes" and... "Don't ask me again". Then I noticed what I have done: I changed my Polish named folders like "Pobrane" to English ones: "Downloads".

I changed the language back to Polish but I didn't get asked about the folders this time. So I'm stuck with Polish language with English folders which means that for example: Midori can't download files. As it tries to download them to folders that don't exist.

Is there any way to force elementary OS to change the folders again?

I tried to do it manually but if I change the names they lose their nice folder icons and they are removed from the favorites menu in Files. I attached a screenshot. You can take a look at "Documents" vs "Dokumenty".

enter image description here

1 Answer 1


Take a look in the following files:

  • ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs
  • ~/.config/user-dirs.locale

This files are created by the xdg-user-dir tool. The .dirs file have the actual names of the default user folders, and the .locale file keeps the language they are set.

If you can't find the .locales file, you've likely checked "don't ask to change the names again" in the dialog after change to English. This deletes the file.

You have 3 choices:

  1. Change the names directly in the ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs;

  2. Create a ~/.config/user-dirs.locale file with your language code (pl or pol, right?) and change the language settings again. This should ask you again about the folders translation;

  3. Run xdg-user-dirs-update --set DIR path to set the folders name. Read man xdg-user-dirs-update for details.

  • Perfect! Option number one worked like a charm! :) Also I love it that you actually provided a bit of context to it, good to know where those folders actually come from.
    – user134865
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 14:28
  • Yeah. I the first one is the simplest. I thought you might want to keep the automatic changes, so I wrote the second. About the context, data without context is almost meaningless xD Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 23:49

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