From ArchWiki

PCManFM is an extremely fast and lightweight file manager and the standard file manager of LXDE. It uses GTK for its UI and GVFS (within GNOME's GIO library) to provide virtual filesystem functionality such as trashing files and mounting remote filesystems.

PCManFM-Qt is a port to Qt which is the standard file manager of LXQt. Despite using Qt as the UI toolkit, PCManFM-Qt retains GVFS rather than using KDE's KIO [1]. At their cores, both file managers are desktop-environment-agnostic.


Install one of the following the packages:

Optionally also install gvfs for support for trash, mounting volumes with udisks and remote filesystems and gvfs-smb for SMB/CIFS support.

Development versions

Development versions are available from the AUR:

Desktop management

PCManFM can manage the desktop, including setting a background wallpaper and showing desktop icons. To launch the desktop manager, run:

$ pcmanfm --desktop

The native desktop menu of the window manager will be replaced with that provided by PCManFM. The native menu can be restored from the PCManFM menu by selecting Desktop Preferences and then enabling the Show menus provided by window managers when desktop is clicked option in the Advanced tab.

Desktop preferences

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

Consider adding this command to a keybind and/or the native desktop menu for easy access.

Creating new icons

Files can be dragged and dropped directly onto the desktop. To create shortcuts for applications, copy their .desktop files to the ~/Desktop directory. Do not drag and drop the files there as they will be moved completely. The command is:

$ cp /usr/share/applications/name-of-application.desktop ~/Desktop

For example to create a desktop shortcut for lxterminal:

$ 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.

Daemon mode

To run PCManFM as a background daemon (i.e. to automatically mount removable media), use:

$ pcmanfm --daemon-mode

Only one instance of PCManFM may run as a daemon at atime.

Should automount fail, see udisks.


PCManFM may be autostarted as a daemon process or to manage the desktop.

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

Get thumbnails for other file types

See File manager functionality#Use PCManFM to get thumbnails for other file types.

Set the terminal emulator

You can configure what terminal emulator PCManFM should use for Tools > Open Current Folder in Terminal under Edit > Preferences > Advanced.

Integrate an archiver

It is possible to choose the integrated archiver under Edit > Preferences > Advanced. PCManFM and PCManFM-Qt both support file-roller, xarchiver (or xarchiver-gtk2), engrampa and ark [2] [3]. PCManFM-Qt additionally supports lxqt-archiver, which is the default choice for LXQt.

Adding custom items to the context menu

PCManFM supports Desktop file specification extension (DES-EMA) which allows you to add arbitrary items to the context menu of files and directories. To add your own items, create ~/.local/share/file-manager/actions/ (if it does not already exist) and add .desktop files inside:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Action name in English
Name[cc]=Action name in Language
Icon=Icon name
# Example: Icon=text-editor
[X-Action-Profile profile_id]
MimeTypes=MIME-types (semicolon separated)
Exec=command and arguments
# Example: Exec=gedit %f

You can bind one or more profiles to a single action by listing their id separated by semicolons. Profiles allow you to specify which commands to execute for which file types — thus the same action can run different commands depending on the type of file selected. Besides specific MIME types (e.g. text/plain for text files), you can use the following general types:

  • all/allfiles - any files;
  • inode/directory - any directories;
  • all/all - any files and directories.
Note: It is possible to run commands as root using pkexec, but calling it directly will not work and you need to create an intermediate script as described on LXDE's wiki.

Templates are accessible under Create New...

PCManFM adds the files in ~/Templates as Create New... context menu items on startup.


The factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.

Reason: When using a modern SSD, PCManFM can render thumbnails for directories containing thousands of media files without issue. (Discuss in Talk:PCManFM)

Like some other file managers (e.g. Nautilus), PCManFM will load previews of all images in a folder. To not abuse the HDD, keep the number of images in a folder to a hundred.


"Open With" dialog window empty

If you do not see any applications to choose from in the open with dialog, then you can try removing gnome-menus and instead install lxmenu-data. Furthermore, set the following environment variables:


No "Applications"

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. See #"Open With" dialog window empty.

See these threads for more information: [4], and especially this post from the Linux Mint forums: [5]

No icons

This article or section needs language, wiki syntax or style improvements. See Help:Style for reference.

Reason: Use Template:hc when suggesting edits to configuration files (Discuss in Talk:PCManFM)

The factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.

Reason: Should we be suggesting editing the global gtk configuration for a file manager? (Discuss in Talk:PCManFM)

This article or section needs expansion.

Reason: Software also supports gtk3, although only gtk2 referenced here (Discuss in Talk:PCManFM)

If you are using a window manager instead of a desktop environment and you have no icons for folders and files, specify a GTK icon theme.

If you have e.g. oxygen-icons installed, edit ~/.gtkrc-2.0 or /etc/gtk-2.0/gtkrc and add the following line:

gtk-icon-theme-name = "oxygen"
Note: All instances of PCManFM have to be restarted for changes to apply!

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
Tip: For an alternative GUI solution, install lxappearance and apply an icon theme from there.

No "Previous/Next Folder" functionality with mouse buttons

A method to fix this is with Xbindkeys.

Install xbindkeys, xvkbdAUR and edit ~/.xbindkeysrc to contain the following:

# Sample .xbindkeysrc for a G9x mouse.
"/usr/bin/xvkbd -text '\[Alt_L]\[Left]'"
"/usr/bin/xvkbd -text '\[Alt_L]\[Right]'"

Actual button codes can be obtained with package xorg-xev.


xbindkeys &

to your ~/.xinitrc to execute xbindkeys on log-in.

--desktop parameter not working or crashing X-server

Make sure you have ownership and write permissions on ~/.config/pcmanfm.

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

The factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.

Reason: Why would the libfm configuration file not have the "right permissions" by default? (Discuss in Talk:PCManFM)

Make sure you have the right permissions on the libfm configuration file:

$ chmod -R 750 ~/.config/libfm
$ chmod 640 ~/.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 will not 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 ~/.config/pcmanfm/LXDE/pcmanfm.conf.

"Not authorized" error when attempting to mount drive

Make this polkit rule in /etc/polkit-1/rules.d/00-mount-internal.rules:

This article or section needs language, wiki syntax or style improvements. See Help:Style for reference.

Reason: Inconsistent syntax within configuration section (Discuss in Talk:PCManFM)
polkit.addRule(function(action, subject) {
   if ((action.id == "org.freedesktop.udisks2.filesystem-mount-system" &&
      subject.local && subject.active && subject.isInGroup("storage")))
         return polkit.Result.YES;

And add yourself to the storage user group.

Operation not supported

Check first if you forgot to install the optional dependency gvfs, otherwise see the article on Session permissions.

Passwords are forgotten on system restart

Install a keyring application like GNOME/Keyring, KDE Wallet or lxqt_walletAUR for network shares or an SSH agent if appropriate.