How do I change the default file manager?

Hello. I installed nautilus. How to make nautilus the default file manager?
I am using ubuntu-mate 16.04.2 LTS x86_64 and mate 1.12.1

You can use the following command to set defaults in MATE.


Never remove caja, that is absolutely guaranteed to cause problems.

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Don’t forget to specify the “–no-desktop” parameter on nautilus when you call it otherwise it may try to take over your desktop. File Manager and desktop are closely related, as Wimpy said don’t ever remove caja unles you want to move to another window manager (gnome) based on nautilus.

Personnaly, I don’t see why use nautilus since caja does a really good job and is friendlier and has more customisation than nautilus. Nautilus used to be a good file manager years ago, but the gnome team did try to over-simplifiy it by taking off some nice functionalities and I would say that now its a cripple file manager.

But it’s my personal opinion, yours may be different.


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Gotcha, edited my original post to remove that. Didn’t know how modular it was. New to the Linux world myself.

It’s a bit strange at first, but if you’re just doing the usual stuff, and you’re not too picky about how it gets done, it’s a pretty okay world, and having tried more distros than i can remember, i think you’ve jumped in at the right place, or at least a pretty good place. Ubuntu-MATE is the best debian-based distro, and Mageia is the best redhat-based distro, imo; not that they’re perfect by any means, but less-imperfect can still be pretty good.

Of course “best” is subjective, but having developed an allergy to the proprietary we-own-your-computer attitude taken by both Microsoft and Apple, i find that with all its many warts, linux remains the best of breed this week.

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Can anyone explain the why of that? What does file-manager have to do with desktop? Is this because of the goofy idea of covering the unused parts of the screen with “desktop” icons? It smells like a Windoze carry-forward thinger of some kind. I’d like to understand the how-and-why of the dependency issues. Mostly just curious.

The file manager is the one that set your desktop up … It does put the icons, the task bar, it check for USB, etc. When you launch nautilus, you have to specify “–no-desktop” to tell it that you only want to use the file manager part, not the desktop. If you look at the processes that runs when you logon, you will see caja (for mate) or nautilus (for gnome), and that is normal they are the one that handle your desktop. NB it’s the same on windows with the “explorer” and probably the same on mac or android. It’s not a rule, but it’s the current practice : The desktop is handled by the file manager.

So to make a short story : never ever remove the file manager from your environment. You’ll save a lot of trouble.

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Thanks. That’s a messed-up design imo.

This is old discussion, but I cannot resist to comment on the one above and let it be the last said here.
Hey crankypuss, it is not mesed and in Windows it is the same. Explorer manages the desktop. Try to remove it and see what happens to Windows desktop. What is different in Linux is it is normal to have selection of desktop environments (and wide variety of equal choices how to do things in general). You can have different desktop environment in Windows too, only that almost no one realizes it is possible, because everyone is taught to use “the one” from start, plus it is almost a hack to install another one.

I never use (and don't want to use) a "graphical file manager". ALL of the operations I do on files and directories (never "folders") I do from the command line using traditional file commands (eg ls, cp, mv, find, etc.). I'd just as soon replace caja with /bin/true (in fact as a short term solution I have renamed /usr/bin/caja to /usr/bin/caja.orig and cp'ed /bin/true to /usr/bin/caja. I really do NOT want caja (or any other graphical file manager running. I have no interest in pointing and clicking on files. It is not something I ever do.