It's no secret that the weakest link on Luna is the file manager. Regular crashes at work is a disaster.

I suspect that it could be replaced by Nautilus or other FM, but I don't know how to do it safely for system and maximally integrate to the Pantheon Shell.

  • 1
    I would have to agree with Gabriel. Your copy of Pantheon Files is massively out of date, and I believe there has been a major re-write in that time. Nothing will carry as much integration as the official original, and I urge you to try Freya, with 0.3.1 in August-ish, if not now.
    – Lewis Goddard
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 12:01
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    I'm using Freya and Pantheon-files is absolutely horrible if you have a folder with pictures in it in excess of 200. I have a folder with over 1000 images and it's so slow to scroll and access the photos to edit or move. It needs to be fixed big time...
    – user1174
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 19:01
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    Btw, question and best answer apply for Luna and Freya...
    – quassy
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 0:45

2 Answers 2


I disagree with your perception of Files, which I consider the best file manager around.

My recommendation would actually be to install Freya which comes with the much improved version of Files.

If you still want to install another file manager, it's as simple as:

sudo apt-get install <your-choice>

Nothing bad will happen with any extra file manager you install as long as I am aware (and I've installed many just to try).


As igrossiter says (thank you for reminding me of this), if you install Nemo you might end up with an "un-closable" window in your desktop that you can't close (see here).

To fix this you need to add --no-desktop to the nemo.desktop file so it reads:

Exec=nemo --no-desktop %U
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    on freya I had some problems when trying to install nemo, nothing serious but it added a giant window floating that supposed to be the desktop. with thunar the icons got horrible, so I gave up and continued with files, my point is, it is not so easy to change it successfully
    – igrossiter
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 14:33
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    Thanks @igrossiter, I had forgotten about that issue. I added the fix to my answer but this is just more reason to stick with the wonderful Files IMO.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 14:45
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    I tried to install Nautilus and Nemo, but I decided against them because they look disgusting.
    – png2378
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 22:16
  • @PNG Use Files for a while, you won't be disappointed.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 23:31

To replace file manager in freya:

Install other file manager, for example nautilus.

sudo apt-get install nautilus

To distinguish between Pantheon-files and nautilus, and to show nautilus in applications launcher:

sudo nano /usr/share/applications/nautilus.desktop

In [desktop entry]:

Change Name and OnlyShowIn entries to

Name=Nautilus Files


You can easily modify file manager from GUI:

System settings --> applications --> default -->


To identify the current file manager:

xdg-mime query default inode/directory

See man xdg-mime for more info.

To set nautilus as default file manager:

xdg-mime default nautilus.desktop inode/directory application/x-gnome-saved-search.

For Nemo

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