I have X11 Forwarding on, and want to use a graphical interface to manage files.

How can I start the default file manager over ssh?

4 Answers 4


If you want to use the prefered file manager you can use xdg-open, to open for example the file manager in Projects/ you can use xdg-open Projects/

Source : xdg-open

  • Nice! I didn't know about this.
    – Huey
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 13:45
  • 1
    To open the current directory, you can use xdg-open . Commented Oct 22, 2019 at 18:36

The file manager is pantheon-files, so simply running


works. Because pantheon-files does not run in the background by default and generates plenty of terminal output:

huey@galactica:~$ pantheon-files
[_LOG_LEVEL_INFO 11:43:27.546677] Application.vala:155: Files version: 0.2.1
[_LOG_LEVEL_INFO 11:43:27.546761] Application.vala:157: Kernel version: 3.8.11
[_LOG_LEVEL_INFO 11:43:27.718180] Application.vala:84: Report any issues/bugs you might find to http://bugs.launchpad.net/pantheon-files
[_LOG_LEVEL_WARN 11:43:27.722268] [libnotify] Failed to connect to proxy
[_LOG_LEVEL_WARN 11:43:27.806887] [dconf] failed to commit changes to dconf: GDBus.Error:org.gtk.GDBus.UnmappedGError.Quark._g_2dfile_2derror_2dquark.Code2: Failed to create file: Permission denied

I chose instead to run it in screen instead.

  • 1
    To get rid of the debug output, run pantheon-files 2>/dev/null. To run it in the background, add & at the end of the command line. Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 14:23
  • Elementary OS 6 works with io.elementary.files as said by @Jay Aurabind Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 16:15

Starting with Juno release, the commands have all changed. They're adopting RDNN. For files: io.elementary.files


The use of io.elementary or io.pantheon, etc just complicates things. It's much easier to do a #gedit file.txt than #io.elementary.code file.txt. Oh well...

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