Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Most of the days I am connected to my home server (running Debian) via a ssh shell from my laptop. Most of the tasks are done in the prompt, but sometimes I like to have drag-and-drop-file managers, like GNOME's default nautilus. (I of course mean that i use ssh -X user@server)

However, nautilus draws "it's" desktop over my local desktop. It draws the files placed there and the default Debian wallpaper. Is there a way to run or configure nautilus to not draw theese things at all, or should I use another graphical file manager when doing things remotely?

share|improve this question
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Drag and drop like this is not trivial to implement over network, and running a file manager over X forwarding like this will not (trivially) work for the purpose.

You should use SSHFS instead to mount your remote server in your local file system over SSH, and the use a local file manager to browse that mount. This way drag and drop will work over SSH, and the file manager will be much snappier.

Another alternative is to use a graphical SFTP client such as Filezilla, which will allow you to log in over SSH and get a tree view of your remote files, with drag and drop support.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, Daniel! Of course, using SFTP is easier, I'll do that. – Martin Josefsson May 18 '12 at 14:13

After SSH, run nautilus as follows:

nautilus --no-desktop

...which tells nautilus not to manage the desktop, as per the nautilus man page. Works fine for me after that.

man nautilus
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.