File manager functionality
This article outlines the additional software packages necessary to expand the features and functionality of file managers, particularly where using a window manager such as Openbox. The ability to access partitions and removable media without a password - if affected - has also been provided.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Additional features
- 2.1 Mounting
- 2.2 Networks
- 2.3 Thumbnail previews
- 2.4 Archive files
- 2.5 NTFS read/write support
- 2.6 Desktop notifications
- 2.7 Enable Trash functionality on different filesystems (external drives)
- 3 Troubleshooting
A file manager alone will not provide the features and functionality that users of full desktop environments such as Xfce or KDE will be accustomed to. This is because additional software packages will be required to enable a given file manager to:
- Display and access other partitions
- Display, mount, and access removable media (e.g. USB sticks, optical discs, and digital cameras)
- Enable networking / shared networks with other installed operating systems
- Enable thumbnailing
- Archive and extract compressed files
- Automatically mount removable media
When a file manager has been installed as part of a full desktop environment, most of these packages will usually have been installed automatically. Consequently, where a file manager has been installed for a standalone window manager then - as is the case with the window manager itself - only a basic foundation will be provided. The user must then determine the nature and extent of the features and functionality to be added.
Particularly where using - or intending to use - a lightweight environment, it should be noted that more file manager features and functions will usually mean the use of more memory. See also udisks.
- : The Gnome Virtual File System provides mounting and trash functionality. GVFS uses for mounting functionality and is the recommended solution for most file managers.
Folders used by GVFS:
*refers to the various supported file system types.
/usr/share/gvfs/mounts/contains mount rules for GVFS. To use one's own rules, create
Additional packages for installation usually follows the gvfs-* pattern, for example:
- MTP : media players and mobile devices that use
- PTP : digital cameras and mobile devices that use
- : Apple mobile devices
File manager daemon
The first is to simply autostart or run the installed file manager in daemon mode (i.e. as a background process). For example, when using PCManFM in Openbox, the following command would be added to the
pcmanfm -d &
It will also be necessary to configure the file manager itself in respect to volume management (e.g. what it will do and what applications will be launched when certain file types are detected upon mounting).
Another option is to install a separate mount application. The advantages of using this are:
- Less memory may be required to run as a background / daemon process than a file manager
- It is not file manager specific, allowing them to be freely added, removed, and switched
- may not have to be installed for mounting, lessening memory use.
- Bluetooth) : Bluetooth device mounting and file transfers (see
- Samba) : Windows File and printer sharing for Non-KDE desktops (see
- KDE (see Samba#KDE) : Windows File and printer sharing for
- : FUSE client based on the SSH File Transfer Protocol
If using, to access Windows/CIFS/Samba file shares first open the file manager, and enter the following into the path name, changing <sever name> and <share name> as appropriate:
smb://<server name>/<share name>
AFP support is included in. To access AFP files first open the file manager, and enter the following into the path name, changing <sever name> and <share name> as appropriate:
afp://<server name>/<share name>
Some file managers may not support thumbnailing, even when the packages listed have been installed. Check the documentation for the relevant file manager.
File managers other than Dolphin and Konqueror
- : Image files. This must also be installed to expand thumbnailing capabilities to other file types
- : Video files
- : Font files
- GNOME Files, Nemo and Caja only) : Video files and tagged audio files (
Dolphin and Konqueror (KDE)
To extract compressed files such as tarballs (
.tar.gz) within a file manager, it will first be necessary to install a GUI archiver such as . See List of applications#Archiving and compression tools for further information. An additional package such as must also be installed to support the use of zipped
.zip files. Once an archiver has been installed, files in the file manager may consequently be right-clicked to be archived or extracted.
Archive files are mounted under folder
/run/user/$(id -u)/gvfs/ with automatically created mount point that contains full path to the file in its name where all
/ are replaced with
: replaced with
%253A hex codes.
Example of path to the mounted archive
NTFS read/write support
See the NTFS-3G article.
Some file managers make use of desktop notifications to confirm various events and statuses like mounting, unmounting and ejection of removable media.
Enable Trash functionality on different filesystems (external drives)
Make trash directories
.Trash-<uid> for each users on the top level of filesystems:
For example (mount point: /media/sdc1, uid: 1000, gid: 1000):
# mkdir /media/sdc1/.Trash-1000
# chown 1000:1000 /media/sdc1/.Trash-1000
"Not Authorized" when attempting to mount drives
Password required to access partitions
The need to enter a password to access other partitions or mounted removable media will likely be due to the default permission settings of Udisks#Configuration for details.. More specifically, permission may be set to the root account only, not the user account. See
Directories are not opened in the file manager
You may find that an application that is not a file manager, Audacious for example, is set as the default application for opening directories — an application that specifies that it can handle the
inode/directory MIME type in its desktop entry can become the default. You can query the default application for opening directories with the following command:
$ xdg-mime query default inode/directory
To ensure that directories are opened in the file manager, run the following command:
$ xdg-mime default my-file-manager.desktop inode/directory
my-file-manager.desktop is the desktop entry for your file manager —
org.gnome.Nautilus.desktop for example.