From the project home page:
- PCMan File Manager (PCManFM) is a file manager application developed by Hong Jen Yee from Taiwan which is meant to be a replacement for Nautilus, Konqueror and Thunar. Released under the GNU General Public License, PCManFM is free software. PCManFM is the standard file manager in LXDE, which is also developed by the same author in conjunction with other developers.
- 1 Installation
- 2 Desktop management
- 3 Daemon mode
- 4 Autostarting
- 5 Additional features and functionality
- 6 Tips and tricks
- 7 Troubleshooting
- 7.1 Open With dialog window empty
- 7.2 No "Applications"
- 7.3 No icons
- 7.4 No "Previous/Next Folder" functionality with mouse buttons
- 7.5 --desktop parameter not working or crashing X-server
- 7.6 Terminal emulator advanced configuration not saved
- 7.7 Make PCManFM remember your preferred Sort Files settings
- 7.8 "Not authorized" error when attempting to mount drive
- 7.9 Operation not supported
Qt variants are available through and AUR.
The command to allow PCManFM to set wallpapers and enable the use of desktop icons is:
The native desktop menu of the window manager will be replaced with that provided by PCManFM. However, it can easily be restored from the PCManFM menu itself by selecting
Desktop preferences and then enabling the
Right click shows WM menu option in the
If using the native desktop menu provided by a window manager, enter the following command to set or amend desktop preferences at any time:
$ pcmanfm --desktop-pref
It is worthwhile to consider adding this command to a keybind and/or the native desktop menu for easy access.
Creating new icons
User content such as text files, documents, images and so forth can be dragged and dropped directly onto the desktop. To create shortcuts for applications it will be necessary to copy their
.desktop files to the
~/Desktop directory itself. Do not drag and drop the files there as they will be moved completely. The syntax of the command to do so is:
cp /usr/share/applications/<name of application>.desktop ~/Desktop
For example - where installed - to create a desktop shortcut for, the following command would be used:
cp /usr/share/applications/lxterminal.desktop ~/Desktop
For those who used the Xdg user directories program to create their
$HOME directories no further configuration will be required.
To run PCManFM in the background (to for example automatically mount removable media), use:
Should automount fail, see udisks.
How PCManFM may be autostarted as a daemon process or to manage the desktop for a standalone window manager will depend on the window manager itself. For example, to enable management of the desktop for Openbox, the following command would be added to the
pcmanfm --desktop &
Review the relevant wiki article and/or official home page for a particular installed or intended window manager. Should a window manager not provide an autostart file, PCManFM may be alternatively autostarted by editing one or both of the following files:
- xinitrc: When using the SLiM display manager or Startx command
- xprofile: When using a display manager such as LXDM or LightDM
Additional features and functionality
Less experienced users should be aware that a file manager alone - especially when installed in a standalone Window manager such as Openbox - will not provide the features and functionality users of full desktop environments such as Xfce and KDE will be accustomed to. Review the file manager functionality article for further information.
Tips and tricks
PCManFM supports image thumbnails out of the box. However, in order to view thumbnails of other file types, PCManFM uses the information provided in the files located at
/usr/share/thumbnailers. The packages which provide a thumbnailer usually add the corresponding .thumbnail file at
/usr/share/thumbnailers. For example, in order to get thumbnails for OpenDocument files, you may install from the official repositories. For video files' thumbnails, the package is required. For PDF files, you may install from the official repositories, which provides
evince-thumbnailer and the corresponding file at
/usr/share/thumbnailers. However, if you prefer not to install
evince, you can also replicate the functionality of
evince-thumbnailer using 's
convert command. This is accomplished by creating a new file with the .thumbnail extension (e.g.:
/usr/share/thumbnailers with the following content:
[Thumbnailer Entry] TryExec=convert Exec=convert %i -thumbnail %s %o MimeType=application/pdf;application/x-pdf;image/pdf;
convertonly generates a thumbnail of the first page. This is a
convert-specific syntax and has nothing to do with the syntax of the thumbnailers' files.
Following this example, you can specify custom thumbnailers by creating your own .thumbnail files. Keep in mind that
%i refers to the input file (the file which will have its thumbnail made),
%o to the output file (the thumbnail image) and
%s to the size of the thumbnail. These parameters will be automatically substituted with the corresponding data and passed to the thumbnailer program by PCManFM.
One click for open folders and files
Open PCManFM in file explorer mode, go to Edit > Preferences > General > Behavior, and select Open files with a simple click. This option works with desktop icons too.
Open or Extract Archives with PCManFM
Install, or from the official repositories.
Open PCManFM in file explorer mode, go to Edit > Preferences > Advanced, select Archiver Integration and select your installed archiver.
Open With dialog window empty
If you do not see any applications to choose from in the open with dialog, then you can try removingand instead install . Furthermore, export the following variables:
export XDG_MENU_PREFIX=lxde- export XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=LXDE
You can try this method: Delete all files in the
$HOME/.cache/menus directory, and run PCManFM again.
PCManFM requires the environment variable XDG_MENU_PREFIX to be set. The value of the variable should match the beginning of a file present in the
/etc/xdg/menus/ directory. E.g. you can set the value in your
.xinitrc file with the line:
If you have e.g.
/etc/gtk-2.0/gtkrc and add the following line:
gtk-icon-theme-name = "oxygen"
Else, use an different one (gnome, hicolor, and locolor do not work). To list all installed icon themes:
$ ls ~/.icons/ /usr/share/icons/
If none of them is suitable, install one. To list all installable icon packages:
$ pacman -Ss icon-theme
A method to fix this is with Xbindkeys.
~/.xbindkeysrc to contain the following:
# Sample .xbindkeysrc for a G9x mouse. "/usr/bin/xvkbd -text '\[Alt_L]\[Left]'" b:8 "/usr/bin/xvkbd -text '\[Alt_L]\[Right]'" b:9
Actual button codes can be obtained with package.
~/.xinitrc to execute xbindkeys on log-in.
--desktop parameter not working or crashing X-server
Make sure you have ownership and write permissions on
Setting the wallpaper either by using the
--desktop-pref parameter or editing
~/.config/pcmanfm/default/pcmanfm.config solves the problem.
Terminal emulator advanced configuration not saved
Make sure you have rights on libfm configuration file:
$ chmod -R 755 ~/.config/libfm $ chmod 777 ~/.config/libfm/libfm.conf
Make PCManFM remember your preferred Sort Files settings
You can use View > Sort Files to change the order in which PCManFM lists the files, but PCManFM won't remember that the next time you start it. To make it remember, go to Edit > Preferences and close. That will write your current sort_type and sort_by values into
Operation not supported
See the General troubleshooting article on Session permissions.