Ubuntu/Debian/Mint news and tutorials | Linux gaming
Quick Tip
Disable Overlay Scrollbars in GNOME
gsettings set com.canonical.desktop.interface scrollbar-mode normal
Quick Tip
Find Files Containing a Text Pattern
find . -iname "*.txt" -exec grep -l "hello" {} +
Online Readers
Advertise on TuxArena
Linux Cheat Sheet
Have a look at our Linux Cheat Sheet for quick one-liners, commands and tips.

Five more file managers were added: Sunflower, Marlin, SpaceFM, Ranger and FDclone. This overview now contains 25 file managers. Thank you for all the suggestions!

Dolphin | Homepage
Dolphin is the default file manager in KDE and it features an easy to use interface, tabs, previews, three view modes (icons, details, columns), vertical window splitting, file and folder sorting, service menus, tags, two-mode location bar.

sudo apt-get install dolphin

Nautilus | Homepage
The default file manager in GNOME, Nautilus has an intuitive interface and offers features like previews, sorting, three view modes (icons, list, compact), bookmarks. Nautilus can be expanded via plugins and it also supports context menus.

sudo apt-get install nautilus

Konqueror | Homepage
Konqueror is a powerful KDE application which has been around for years. It is not only a file manager, but a web browser or image viewer too, and more. I will highlight here the main features that are brought by Konqueror as a file manager only: profiles, extensions, fullscreen mode, window splitting left/right or top/bottom, four view modes (icons, details, columns, terminal emulator), previews or sorting.

sudo apt-get install konqueror

PCManFM | Homepage
PCManFM is a fast and lightweight GTK file manager with features like tabs, file/folder sorting, four view modes (icon view, thumbnail view, compact view and detailed list view), File-Roller archiver integration, bookmarks.

sudo apt-get install pcmanfm

Thunar | Homepage
Written in GTK, this is the default file manager in the Xfce desktop environment, which has the goal of staying simplistic and only offering basic features. Tab support is missing, however Thunar features a left sidebar for fast access to common places, sorting, zooming, three view modes.

sudo apt-get install thunar

ROX-Filer | Homepage
ROX-Filer is yet another GTK file manager, starting by default with a compact interface, that is only a toolbar at the top and the space for displaying files and folders occupying the rest of the window.

sudo apt-get install rox-filer

Xfe | Homepage
Xfe is a great file manager written using the FOX toolkit, and although it doesn’t blend very well with neither KDE or GNOME, it has some cool features and a somewhat different way of using it, which can please certain users.

sudo apt-get install xfe

GNOME-Commander | Homepage
As its name suggests, GNOME Commander is a twin-panel file manager for GNOME, with an interface that resembles the one of Midnight Commander.

sudo apt-get install gnome-commander

Krusader | Homepage
I think this is *the* twin-panel file manager for KDE. Krusader brings any feature possible, and can be configured to behave differently depending on the user’s needs.

sudo apt-get install krusader

Midnight Commander | Homepage
Midnight Commander is a popular twin-panel file manager for the terminal, based on ncurses library and therefore using a text-user interface.

sudo apt-get install mc

Vifm | Homepage
Vifm is yet another twin-panel file manager for the console, also built using ncurses, including Vim-style keyboard shortcuts.

sudo apt-get install vifm

emelFM2 | Homepage
This is yet another GTK2-based file manager with a twin-panel interface, and comes with functions to perform basic file management functions, an output panel, run as root.

sudo apt-get install emelfm2

Dired | Homepage
Dired is the default file manager in the powerful Emacs application and it can be started pressing Ctrl+X and then pressing D. Dired has support for file operations, including creating symlinks or hard links, change permissions, encrypt/decrypt files, diff and integration with many other tools. Dired also features an embedded image viewer.

sudo apt-get install emacs # start it with ^X-D

Tux Commander | Homepage
Yet another twin-panel file manager, Tux Commander offers simple file manipulation functions, bookmarks, network support, plugins support, configuration of external applications.

sudo apt-get install tuxcmd

Double Commander | Homepage
Double Commander is not included by default in Ubuntu’s 11.04 repositories, but I included instructions on how to install it from a PPA. Double Commander offers both GTK and Qt interfaces (so the first one blends well in GNOME while I recommend the second one for KDE), comes with a twin-panel style and includes a big number of configuration options.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexx2000/doublecmd
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install doublecmd-gtk # for the GTK (GNOME) version
sudo apt-get install doublecmd-qt # for the Qt (KDE) interface

Gentoo | Homepage
This is not the Linux distro although it has the same name. Gentoo is another GTK two-panel file manager with functional buttons at bottom. Although Gentoo seems a pretty decent file manager and provides enough configuration options, its interface design is kind of cluttered.

sudo apt-get install gentoo

Worker | Homepage
Worker is a simple file manager which doesn’t have a top notch interface, however it has features like twin-panels and shortcut buttons to file management functions.

sudo apt-get install worker

FileRunner | Homepage
FileRunner is an older twin-panel file manager (it hasn’t been updated since 1999) written in Tcl/Tk which provides a simple yet pretty powerful interface. One of the big downsides of FileRunner is that when you click a file it will automatically try to display it. I did it by mistake with an ISO image and FileRunner rendered by computer almost completely unresponsive, so I had to kill it in the console. Although I do not believe FileRunner is fit as a 2011 file manager, some might prefer it since it’s really light on resources.

sudo apt-get install filerunner

Lfm | Homepage
Last File Manager, or Lfm for short is an ncurses file manager for the terminal which follows the model used by Midnight Commander.

sudo apt-get install lfm

muCommander | Homepage
muCommander is a typical twin-panel file manager written in Java with features like window splitting, bookmarks, sorting, quick buttons for various functions.

To install in Ubuntu, download the DEB file from here, then make sure you have Java installed and type sudo dpkg -i mucommander_0.8.5_all.deb in a terminal.

Addition: Sunflower | Homepage
Sunflower is a powerful, feature-rich, twin-panel file manager written in GTK with support for tabs, plug-ins, detailed list view mode, embedded terminal and more.


Addition: Marlin | Homepage
Marlin is yet another GTK file manager, with simple features and an interface somewhat similar to Nautilus.


Addition: SpaceFM | Homepage
SpaceFM is a twin-panel file manager with support for tabs, bookmarks, devices, sessions and shell integration. It is available for both GTK2 and GTK3 (packages spacefm and spacefm-gtk3). SpaceFM is able to save and restore tabs as well.

sudo apt-get install spacefm
sudo apt-get install spacefm-gtk3


Addition: Ranger | Homepage
Ranger is an Ncurses-based file manager with a minimalist interface that runs in the terminal. Ranger uses Vi key bindings so those of you used to to the Vim editor will feel at home. The nice thing I found about Ranger is that it displays by default three panels, and each of the panel contains the files and folders of the currently selected parent directory. Quite a useful feature allowing the user to quickly see the contents of sub-folders in a flash. Use :q to quit Ranger.

sudo apt-get install ranger


Addition: FDclone | Homepage

FDclone is a minimal, lightweight file manager for the terminal, using a text-user interface. The binary is located at /usr/bin/fd.

sudo apt-get install fdclone


Updated: July 6, 2014

Mahdi says:

You have missed Sunflower and Marlin.

Hunkah says:

I would say my favourites are Nautilus and PCManFM.

Although Nautilus seems to be becoming less and less functional with all the changes they are doing to it. They’re making it more like the current windows explorer now with buttons for breadcrumbs instead of a text-based breadcrumb. It makes moving forward down the tree more difficult.

Mohan says:

You guys need to do a Mail client one…if you haven’t done one already. :)

Innocent Bystander says:

Between Gnome Commander and Midnight Commander, which one is more flexible? more actively developed? Thanks for any advice.

Maxwell says:

My favorite is fdclone !

Customizable, tiny and powerful.

BSwiss says:

This is the kind of article that would benefit enormously from a table, summarizing and comparing the features/lacks of each in relation to the others. Otherwise, it’s difficult to know whether a feature (eg. networking support) is absent, or simply not mentioned in that browser’s blurb.

mi says:

Qtfm and ranger :)

Kalle says:

My favourite was Konqueror in KDE 3. I felt it was way ahead of Nautilus (or at least I liked it much better). It did everything I needed, in a way I liked, and it was the main reason I chose KDE. Unfortunately neither Konqueror nor Dolphin is as good in KDE 4. Krusader seems to be the best at the moment but I’m not really very fond of the two panel style. I like the kind with a directory tree on the left. I got used to that on Windows 3.1…

Warbirdnut says:

I still prefer Konquer over Nautilus.

DJ says:

You don’t have to use the whole “dpkg -i …” to install a DEB, on Ubuntu you can just double-click.

Ashish says:

My favorite is Dolphin and I’m using dolphin on Ubuntu-11.10 .

Gaziz says:

Very nice article! I chose DoubleCommander based on this article. And I am pretty happy with that file manager!

jacobain says:

After one common update of Ubuntu 12.04 my Gnome-Commander suddenly stopped working. Yes, I felt great anger before due to unstability, but this was the last drop – with magical formulae ‘sudo apt-get remove gnome-commander’ it’s gone for good.

After a few minutes of trying Double Commander I think I’ll be perfectly happy with it. Loads of functions, tabs and much more… See for yourself!

doman18 says:

Like Gaziz i also thank u for this topic. On LXDE i looked for 2panel file manager for long time and finally I found Double commander pretty good replacement for Dolphin. It has 2 main features which i demand from such apps – 2 panels and own bookmarks on bar. It was really a problem to find those features tohether. PCmanFM is great but is not 2 sided, Krusader, Konqueror and Dolphin need Qt libraries and are qite heavy. Xfe, Tux and and similar have bookmarks on menu which doesnt work well. Others either dont support drag and drop or need a bunch of libraries or obsolete for me software (java).

The only disadvantage i found on DC is that it doesnt have “Big Icons” feature on ways of folder/file view.

So yeah, thank u again.

[…] In Ubuntu (for that matter entire *nix [Unix, Linux]) world, everything is customizable and/or replaceable. I was able to replace my troubled Unity desktop with Gnome desktop and overcome some issues earlier. When I started researching on Context Menus, I stumbled on Nautilus package, which is the default File Manager in Gnome. Since Ubuntu 12.04 didn’t support Gnome desktop natively, it didn’t install Nautilus either. It had a File Manager called Thunar instead. And, when I installed Gnome, unknowingly, I had also opted for Nautilus, default file manager for Gnome. Apparently, there are at least 20 different File Managers available. See this blog. […]

Paula says:

Nice collection! Nice screenshoots!

But no details for finding a fm are given:
Are the file-managers really usable?

Is it possible to open a terminal from a folter?
Is it possible to run this terminal as root?
Are the columns selectable an able to show user group permissions in etail view?
Are these setting available the next start of the fm?
Do they open/show zip/tgz etc?
Are they able to connect by lan to other pc?

Lot of very very and really heavy weighted questions
when having a look on the many fm in linux and see them beeing many but often few featured.

Sebastian says:

Finally!!! Double Commander – a viable Linux alternative to Total Commander. One less reason to keep coming back to Windows.
Developers, please keep up the good work! And thanks to author for the recommendation.

Caca Maca says:

Bravo, Dane! Un articol foarte folositor pentru utilizatorii de Ubuntu/Linux. Multam fain!

Keep up the great work!

Very good post, xfe doesn’t have a client for samba, its included on xubuntu, but its very well

[…] years. I know I haven’t looked as detailed as I could but I went over this article recently: http://www.tuxarena.com/2011/06/20-f…rs-for-ubuntu/ And it seems there still isn’t something that can do what Windows XP and Windows 7 (the later […]

Asen Trichkov says:

I’m very pleased from PCManFM – simple and fast.

Morbo says:

I must say, the command line is my favorite file manager. The only downside is a steep learning curve.

Sebastian says:

You forgot the ncurses Ranger file manager with VI key bindings, bookmarks, selections, tagging, tabs, command history, the ability to make symbolic links, several console modes, and a task view. ranger has customizable commands and key bindings, including bindings to external scripts. http://ranger.nongnu.org

James says:

For Linux file managers opening multiple tabs, Nautilus/Caja really lacks the ability to open/remember multiple tabs by one command/click!!! I’ve got lots of files to work with at any time so I need to switch between lots of folders/partitions… but Krusader is way overkill for me.

Finally I’ve found SpaceFM! It can’t open multiple tabs by one command,
but it can REMEMBER those tabs I left off!!
(Files > Save Session + Save tabs)
You can also save certain folders/partitions as Bookmarks…

It’s keyboard shortcuts are mostly the same as Nautilus/Caja.
And you can change its background color, too!

Craciun Dan says:

I added SpaceFM and Ranger to the list. Thank you all for the suggestions!

Dreyeth says:

A file manager is either text based (ncurses), or it supports picture and video preview thumbnails, otherwise it doesn’t exist.

Dreyeth says:

Going to have to learn programming so one day I can bring the two together, I’ve seen some wonderful things done with ascii image previews in ranger (it also supports true graphical image previews).

Leave a Comment

Linux Links