GNOME Files/nautilus: eliminiate special icons for home and root, special behavior around $HOME

How do I make / a / and “Home” /home/$USER instead of special icons?
How do I change the behavior so that ~ nests the way all the other directories do instead of prohibiting the ability to go above “Home” conveniently.

E.g. If I start at / and go to /home and then /home/$USER the display changes to an “ICON Home” and I can no longer go back to /home or / the way I came.

There is the back button.

You can bookmark / if you need a quick one-click shortcut there

The back button doesn’t work if you start in home and want to go up or if you’ve been elsewhere and just want to go to /home.

Bookmarking is not a requested solution as I’ve already ruled it out; thank you for suggesting it though.

At the end of the day, I’ve been using Ubuntu for a long time (i.e., close to 15 years I’d guess) and thus Nautilus has been “around.” I’ve long had a problem with the way this works and I just want to be able to freely navigate my file system without the program locking me into $HOME. That “functionality” is frustrating and just completely unnecessary.

Why can’t it just be turned off?

Let’s me ask you back: why can’t you just bookmark /home?

This is a serious question. I understand you care a lot about going to /home, so I suppose you need to visit it often. Bookmarks exist exactly for that purpose: making it easy to go to locations you visit often. If you need to visit /home often, why is a bookmark not a solution for your case?

The requirement is to be able to treat $HOME like every other directory so using a bookmark workaround it is not within the scope of the question I’m asking. If I’d wanted to satisfice for that I would not have bothered registering and posting a question—I have other bookmarks and know I could settle for that solution (and may have to). I would thank you to please stop with something that is not a solution to the OP.

I guess I would say this: I didn’t have to settle for having ~/Documents, ~/Pictures, ~/Downloads, etc. (as I find initial-cap-directories to be a giant PITA at the CLI); I found the XDG default settings and changed them.[1] (The XDG setting & gnome-screenshots makes it significantly less useful than e.g., Shutter because I can’t move that directory in gnome-screenshots… And seriously why not? What’s the big deal about letting the user specify where they want their screenshots? … but that’s a different issue).

We all have our idiosyncratic preferences and this is one of mine. Maybe you like really bright red cars so that’s what you drive. I don’t so I don’t but I don’t care that you do. I find that this little GNOME SNAFU significantly detracts from my UX with GNOME. In other words, ‘every time I touch brains on account of this undesirable and frustrating behavior, I’m Superfly T.N.T., I’m The Guns of the Navarone.’[2]

So with that said, why are you arguing with me over what my preference is? Your solution did not remotely satisfy the OP: “GNOME Files/nautilus: eliminate special icons for home and root, special behavior around $HOME”.


$ echo ~/.config/user-dirs.dir

[2] Pulp Fiction. Quentin Tarantino, performance by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta, Miramax, 1994.

Sorry Mr. Fernandes, I must admit I did not realize whom I was addressing.
There are several issues with the GNOME/Nautilus/Files UX that have long bothered me, like for over a decade. This is one of them as is the caps for the directories and the screenshot directory. I’ve learned that that convention is from XDG and not GNOME per se, but as I pointed out elsewhere, I’m not the only one who dislikes this. And on this account, I am sure that in any sufficiently large population there are going to be other people who feel the same way.

I did a little digging and apparently, some time ago, this “feature” was introduced: “Indeed, nautilus 2.24.2 on my system displays the user name in its Places panel, address bar etc…”

So it hasn’t always been that way…further, there had to be special code written to make this happen as opposed to just treating everything normally. Would it really be that hard to add an option to disable that?

What is your further expectation here? The developer has offered the suggestion of using bookmarks, which is the convenient way to quickly access directories outside your home directory. You don’t want to use bookmarks, which is fine. Files treats a user’s home directory special and I think that makes sense most of the time. If you want to change it so the home directory is not treated special you’d have to change that in the source code and recompile it. There’s no option in Files for it.

I won’t enter into a debate about what is the right thing to do in life, however if in Nautilus you want to reach /home from /home/yourusername you can use this quick keyboard sequence:

  1. Ctrl + L
  2. Right arrow
  3. Ctrl + Backspace
  4. Enter

(This is what I always do)

Well, I didn’t realize that the lead developer was responding until about 15 minutes ago.
As apparently there’s no help from that direction my expectations at this point?

Nothing; I guess I just have to accept the things I cannot change. If I used the GUI file manager on a much more regular basis, I guess I’d look for an alternate.

Then again, who knows, someone with the appropriate skills (apparently a lot of this is JS?) may see this and decide to write an extension that changes the behavior.

if in Nautilus you want to reach /home from /home/yourusername you can use this quick keyboard sequence:

  1. Ctrl + L
  2. Right arrow
  3. Ctrl + Backspace
  4. Enter

This is useful information, particularly the ^L, ->. I tried setting
$ gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences always-use-location-entry true
but that takes away the navigation buttons entirely which again locks out functionality.


Things will never change for a single user with peculiar needs. It is quite normal to use bookmarks for anything outside /home/yourusername – provided you need to leave your home directory often.

In my case all my bookmarks point outside my home. That is because if I need to reach a location inside my home, even deeply nested, I simply do this:

  1. Open Nautilus
  2. Start typing a portion of the name that I want



Hello! As I often use exclusively the keyboard instead of the mouse, I noticed that sometimes the icon view loses the focus – but I can’t recall now exactly when that happens (maybe in some cases during search?). I am sure that I started noticing it after GNOME 40 (although I believe things have improved in the last releases, however something might still persist).

Don’t ask a new question inside the same topic; please, open a new topic.

Hi Emmanuelle. You are right. Count my question as never asked.

Given any sufficiently large population I am sure I am not unique in this. There’s 8 billion people presently on this planet so I guarantee you I am not alone in disliking this behavior. I’ll put in a feature request at some point and see if it gets any votes.

I wasn’t alone in a strong preference to disable the Ubuntu/Canonical ESM messages…that got a lot of hits on askubuntu. I wasn’t alone in some other seemingly quixotic attempts either (which I can’t think of off the top of my head).

I think GNOME has sacrificed customizability and functionality for a simplified look; I believe that form follows function and GNOME’s approach is that function follows form.

Yes, your case is not unique. However, even if you have a survey that says the majority of people are in favor of what you want, that won’t help you because, as has been said, there are the bookmarks.

If you don’t like the use of bookmarks, then you should say why they are a problem (i.e. you should answer António’s question). Without this answer, I think you can understand that there is no reason to do what you want. Then, depending on what you answer, developers can either move towards solving the problem by fixing the bookmarks, or towards your solution.

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You could also use Alt + Up to move to the parent folder in one go.

(Apologies for necroposting!)

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