I would like to resurrect Pantheon Files. It has crapped out in some manner I can't easily understand of deal with, and I don't know how to proceed.

Was dragging files between Files tabs when it hung. Got one bonus relaunch and most files reappeared with green dots. Further attempts to launch showed only a hung interface, frozen at the same mid-draw point with spinners in both tabs, and I had to kill it to quit it. I have no idea what the green dots represent and found nothing online explaining colour codes.

Command line full purge and AppCentre reinstall achieved, but now Files is extremely slow to launch and items are still green dotted. Today I noticed some blank and one orange dot; icon associations seem fine. It really feels like it's still trying to figure something out, then presents a failed best guess.

I have continued to use an alternative file manager without issue and the file system seems okay.

I thought apt purge got rid of everything related to an application but it appears something is mangled and cached. I tried apt remove first but had the same outcome. Also, I didn't find any other pantheon processes to kill, except the daemon I assume I just reinstalled.

  • Not too sure what is causing your problem but the green dots indicate the status of files in a Git repository. If you are having problems with certain tabs being restored on startup then one fix is to change the "restore-tabs" setting to false in io/elementary/files/preferences using dconf-editor app or with the commandline ` gsettings set io.elementary.files.preferences restore-tabs false`. Can you recall what the url of the problem tabs was? Were they remote? Apr 25, 2021 at 10:07
  • Also, could you confirm which version of Files you are using on which version of elementaryos? Apr 25, 2021 at 10:10
  • Reinstalling Files will not overwrite an existing user settings file so if there is something about the urls you are trying to restore that Files cannot cope with, then the reinstalled Files will also try to restore them and freeze. Apr 25, 2021 at 10:12
  • You are right that there should be documentation of the Git status emblems somewhere (or tooltips). Maybe a File wiki page. Apr 25, 2021 at 10:15
  • Sorry, thought Hera was self-explanatory: Hera v5.1.7 Files v4.5.0, although I'm struggling to prove the Files version. AppCentre says v4.5.0 but pantheon-files shows command unavailable in the shell. How to view rev? Excellent advice on the restore-tabs toggle but not quite; it reduced the tabs to a single default but it's still hung up on filling in that tab.
    – SkyHook
    Apr 27, 2021 at 3:00

1 Answer 1


Files is known to struggle with showing very large folders (with >10,000 items) in IconView. Large, deep, git repositories are even worse since Files tries to determine the status of each subfolder based on all its children. If the folder is remote or on a slow device then it is even worse. Showing large folders in List View is much faster but the git problem remains.

If Files is closed with a tab showing such a folder then startup will be delayed as it tries to restore it. You can turn off restoring by turning of "History" in System Settings/Security & Privacy (but that affects several apps) or with the commandline gsettings set io.elementary.files.preferences restore-tabs false or using dconf-editor.

  • Well said, thank you for your advice.
    – SkyHook
    May 1, 2021 at 18:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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