I have Ubuntu 18.04 LTS installed, using its default file manager Nautlius. Double-clicking any folder located on the desktop does not open the folder. The following folders are affected:

  • Trash
  • Home
  • Any folder located on the desktop

Right-click > Open does not work either.

  • Are you able to access the folders in Nautilus?
    – danzel
    May 7, 2018 at 15:51
  • Make sure Ubuntu is fully updated and has the proper graphics drivers, if applicable (i.e. Nvidia).
    – user772515
    May 8, 2018 at 9:11
  • @danzel Yes, I can access the folders when opening them directly in Nautilus. May 8, 2018 at 10:02
  • @MichaelBay That's the case. The system is up-to-date with all its drivers. May 8, 2018 at 10:04

3 Answers 3


This post has been around for a long time. I met the same problem today, and I googled it. So I share my solutions I found.

  1. Open a terminal, type in ps -A | grep nautilus to know the respect pid for nautilus.

  2. Type in sudo kill -9 pid. Then the folder can be opened.

  • Yes its killed, And? Mar 5, 2020 at 6:42

I had exactly the same problem and quickly wanted to share my amateurish "solution" here.

The issue: nautilus would not open any folder located on desktop by doubleclicking or by right-click and "open". (Browsing through the filemanager and opening the desktop folders from there worked fine - just as everything else concerned nautilus).

What I did:

For the sake of completeness I want to mention that I started with a lot of uninstalling, purging, reinstalling, apt-getting etc. of nautilus. Being rather a beginner than an expert I can't assess properly whether this step was necessary at all, but if you want to do it:

sudo apt-get purge nautilus  

sudo apt-get install nautilus

As mentioned, this didn't change a thing, but here comes my breakthrough attempt: I reinstalled the gnome-shell:

sudo apt-get install --reinstall gnome-shell

(I somewhat suspected / guessed that something else apart from nautilus messed with my desktop folders and kept it from acting in a well-behaved manner).

That's it. Maybe this works for you or at least gives you a hint to check your system for stuff that interacts with your desktop and isn't set up neatly.

  • It works!! Please bold/highlight the respective command section Jan 4, 2021 at 7:23

I have the same issue. Playing with Gnome Tweaks app, turning on/off system folders on desktop, sometimes fixes the issue, randomly, but it returns back again, especially when logging out. Running dome diagnostics, all I can tell is that if you keep nautilus running prior running nautilus-desktop, it will fix the problem, but you have to keep nautilus running, which is silly. Otherwise, running nautilus-desktop first, yields the following error:

Unable to create File Manager freedesktop proxy: Error calling StartServiceByName for org.freedesktop.FileManager1: GDBus.Error:org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.Spawn.ExecFailed: Failed to execute program org.freedesktop.FileManager1: No such file or directory

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