Difference between revisions of "PCManFM"

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[[Category: Utilities (English)]]
[[Category: Utilities (English)]]
[[Category: File systems (English)]]
[[Category: File systems (English)]]
[[Category: File managers (English)]]

Revision as of 18:18, 13 September 2010

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PCManFM is "an extremly fast, lightweight, yet feature-rich file manager with tabbed browsing". Source: PCManFM on sourceforge. PCManFM is the default file manager of the LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment).


Run the following command to install:

# pacman -S pcmanfm

You will also require the FAM (File Alteration Monitor) daemon to pick up events such as files and directories changes. This is required by PCManFM to start:

# pacman -S fam

You can start FAM by typing:

# /etc/rc.d/fam start

And if you like add it to your /etc/rc.conf file:

DAEMONS==(@syslog-ng fam network netfs @crond)

Or, instead of fam, you could install gamin, which does not require a daemon running:

# pacman -S gamin

Then launch PCManFM with:

$ pcmanfm

Volume handling

PCManFM is able to mount and unmount devices, both manually and automatically. This feature is offered as an alternative to CLI tools such as pmount. There are various 'up-to-date' versions of PCManFM (see below), and different volume handling strategies can be chosen.

PCManFM2 and udisks

The last official release of PCManFM (at this moment, using the git versions of libfm and pcmanfm) is able to handle volumes with udisks. Just follow the instuctions below:

  1. Install pcmanfm(-git), libfm(-git), udisks, dbus, consolekit.
  2. Start the DBUS daemon, manually or editing your rc.conf file.
  3. In your .xinitrc file, which starts your Window Manager, edit the 'exec' line like the following:


where <WM> stands for your Window Manager command (e.g. lxsession, i3, wmii).
  1. Start your WM and try!

PCManFM2 and gvfs

If you prefer to use the Gnome Virtual FileSystem, PCManFM2 allows you to do so. The procedure is the same as before, but you abviously have to install additional packages:

  • gvfs (and dependencies);
  • (optional) gvfs-smb, gvfs-obexftp, gvfs-afc, etc. in order to support additional features.

PCManFM2Mod and HAL

AFAIK, PCManFMMod uses HAL to handle volumes. If you use this version, follow the instructions below:

  1. Install pcmanfm-mod, hal, dbus.
  2. Start the HAL daemon, manually or editing your rc.conf file. Do not start explicitely DBUS: HAL already takes care of that.
  3. Start your WM and try!

In the past, there have been problems with HAL policies and NTFS permissions. Please search in the forums and update the wiki on that.


No icons?

If you are using a window manager over a desktop environment and notice you have no icons for folders and files, install an icon theme:

# pacman -S tango-icon-theme

Then edit Template:Filename and add the following line:

gtk-icon-theme-name = "Tango"

Mounting as normal user with GVFS and PCManFM2

It may be necessary to follow several steps in order for GVFS in PCManFM2 to allow normal users to mount drives. This includes having the D-Bus daemon running, and adding the following to your .xinitrc (before any instance of pcmanfm is started):


Then edit the file Template:Filename Or if that file is empty edit this file Template:Filename and replace all instances of




(Credits to karabaja4 -- http://forum.lxde.org/viewtopic.php?t=1422&f=22)

Removable devices can't be mounted in pcmanfm-0.5.2

HAL is only used with the pcmanfm-0.5.2 found in the AUR as "pcmanfm-gtk220" and "pcmanfm-mod".

Add the following lines to Template:Filename : Template:File (Credits to shpelda -- http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=679118#p679118)

NTFS Read/Write Support

Install ntfs-3g:

# pacman -S ntfs-3g

and add user to group hal:

# gpasswd -a username hal

If the above does not work, you have to tell PCManFM explicitly how to manage the ntfs-3g driver. It is not difficult, you just have to edit the configuration file at Template:Filename like the following: Template:File

Obviously, you can select the permission you want.

Even if this not working,you could try mount the ntfs partition on the /etc/fstab. For Example:

# /dev/sda1  /mnt/windows  ntfs-3g  defaults  0 0

gnome-open opens "Find" dialog instead of the directory

Remove or rename the file Template:Filename.

Available Versions

There are several versions of PCManFM currently available:


This is the package in Arch's extra repository as "pcmanfm". The current git test version of it is available in the AUR as pcmanfm-git. The original author of PCManFM (Hon Jen Yee aka PCMan) is in the process of rewriting the program, which is currently in testing. This rewrite is sometimes referred to as "pcmanfm2", although its current version number is 0.9.7 RC1. This version uses GVFS for mounting and volume management. More information is available on the LXDE Forum.

PCManFM 0.5.2

The legacy PCManFM (version 0.5.2, which is currently "pcmanfm-gtk220" in the AUR repository) is frozen and is no longer being maintained by the original author. This version uses HAL for mounting. More information is available on the project page.


PCManFM-Mod adds user-definable commands, other features, and bugfixes to the legacy version of the PCManFM file manager v0.5.2. This version builds and installs as "pcmanfm-mod" and will run independently of other versions of PCManFM you have installed on your system. This legacy version is still desired by some due to more stability than the newer 0.9.x rewrite in progress, less Gnome dependencies, and the use of HAL rather than gnome-vfs. PCManFM-Mod is available in the AUR as pcmanfm-mod and as pcmanfm-mod-prov (latter provides pcmanfm). More information is available at IgnorantGuru's Blog.