Nautilus is the official file manager for the GNOME Linux desktop. The name is a play on words, evoking the shell of a nautilus to represent an Operating System's shell.

Nautilus allows users to manage the local filesystem, or connect to remote systems over various protocols such as ftp, sftp / ssh, Windows SMB, etc.. Nautilus can also view and extract archives, change permissions on files, and control media devices.

Nautilus was the flagship product of the now-defunct Eazel Inc. Released under the GNU Lesser General Public License, Nautilus is free software.

The Nautilus file manager provides a simple and integrated way to manage your files and applications. You can use the file manager to do the following:

  • Create folders and documents
  • Display your files and folders (locally and remotely)
  • Search and manage your files
  • Customize the appearance of files and folders
  • Run scripts and launch applications
  • Open special locations on your computer
  • Write data to a CD or DVD
  • Install and remove fonts

Basic File Browser Usage

Basic File Browser Usage

File Browser (Nautilus) has a very simple interface which is much like what is seen with Windows Explorer tm. To start the application, simply locate it from the menu system or issue the command 'nautilus' in a terminal session.

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You can access the file browser in the following ways:

  • Choose Applications ▸ System Tools ▸ File Browser.
  • While in spatial mode you may open a folder in browser mode by right clicking on that folder and choosing Browse Folder. A new file browser window will then open and display the contents of the selected folder.

Connecting to Remote File Systems

Connecting to Remote File Systems

Nautilus can be used to also browse file systems on remote systems including Windows shares (smb), GSA servers (smb or sftp), ftp/Http websites (http or ftp), and Unix Secure shells (sftp). To connect to a remote host, simply know what system you are connecting to and provide the userid and password.

Using the 'Connect to Server' Wizard

  1. Start the File Browser application from the menu system, after started, click on File ▸ 'Connect to Server'.
  2. Select the server connection type and fill in the required fields. (Fig.1)

Connecting using the 'Location' Tool Bar

  1. Start the File Browser application from the menu system, after started, click on 'Go' ▸ 'Location'.
  2. Enter in the address much like you were typing in a web address (see examples below) (Fig2, Step 1)
  3. When asked, input the password for the remote connetion (Fig2, Step 2)
    You may see an access icon to this remote system on your system's Desktop.

Remote connection types and examples:

Type UserID Example Example Hostname Example Share Example Command
A Remote Windows XP Share ibmer lshare srv1.ibm.com smb://ibmer@srv1.ibm.com:/lshare
A Remote Linux Share ibmer lshare srv1.ibm.com sftp://ibmer@srv1.ibm.com:/lshare
A Remote GSA Share ibmer lshare srv1.ibm.com Use either methods above (i.e. sftp or smb)
A Remote FTP Share ibmer2 temp ftp://ibmer2@

Network and Filesystem Bookmarking

Network and Filesystem Bookmarks

A nice feature of File Browser is that you can bookmark an often used network connection or location on your hard drive for quicker access later. Setting up a bookmark is simple, after connecting to the remote server or finding the folder on your system, simply selct add bookmark under the Bookmarks tab at the top of the application.

  1. After connecting to your remote system of choice ( in this example a folder called 'rhel' on 'pokgsa', add it as a bookmark by selecting 'Bookmarks' -> 'Add Bookmark'
  2. The bookmark may keep a link on your desktop but can also be accessed through file browser by selecting 'bookmarks' and then selecting the saved bookmark.


Behavior Preferences

Behavior Preferences

To set your preferences for files and folders, choose Edit ▸ Preferences. Click on the Behavior tab to display the Behavior tabbed section. You can set the following preferences:

Single click to open items

Select this option to perform the default action for an item when you click on the item. When this option is selected, and you point to an item, the title of the item is underlined.

Double click to open items

Select this option to perform the default action for an item when you double-click on the item.

Always open in browser windows

Select this option to use Nautilus in browser mode rather than spatial mode. Selecting this lets you browse your files and folders in the same window, otherwise you will navigate your files and folders as objects.

Run executable text files when they are opened

Select this option to run an text executable file when you choose the file. An executable text file is a text file that can execute, that is, a shell script.

View executable text files when they are opened

Select this option to display the contents of an executable text file when you choose the executable text file.

Ask each time

Select this option to display a dialog when you choose an executable text file. The dialog asks whether you want to execute the file or display the file.

Ask before emptying the Trash or deleting files

Select this option to display a confirmation message before Trash is emptied, or files are deleted. Leave this selected unless you have good reason not to.

Include a Delete command that bypasses Trash

Select this option to add a Delete menu item to the following menus:
  • The Edit menu.
  • The popup menu that is displayed when you right-click on a file, folder, or desktop object.

    When you select an item then choose the Delete menu item, the item is deleted from your file system immediately. There is no way to recover a deleted file. Do not select this unless you have good reason to.

Further Information

Further Reading and Information

For more information regarding Nautilus or Gnome in general, please refer to the following external website:



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