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Frequently Asked Questions

The intent of this section is to collect the quite numerous frequently asked questions that relate to working with Thunar. If you know of a question that is missing from this page, please file a request.

Why doesn't Thunar execute files marked as executable?

For security reasons Thunar only executes files of type application/x-desktop, application/x-executable and application/x-shellscript. For desktop files the execution feature will only be enabled if the desktop file is of type Application and a valid Exec line is given or of type Link and a valid URL is given. For the other types the feature is available if the file is marked executable for the current user.

Also note that for application/x-executable and application/x-shellscript, the types of the file don't really need to match these types exactly, but it is suffice if the detected type has a parent that matches one of the two types listed above, or if the MIME-type is an alias for one of the above.

Where does Thunar store the metadata associated with files?

Thunar associates various settings with files/folders, which we call metadata. Since version 1.6 this data is stored using the gvfs-metadata daemon. The save location of the daemon data is in $XDG_DATA_HOME/gvfs-metadata/. Unfortunately the content of these files is rater awful, so you can query the metadata of a location with the command gvfs-info -a metadata:: /some/location.

Where does Thunar store its preferences?

Thunar stores the user configurable preferences (and hidden settings) in an Xfconf channel. You can view the contents of this settings channel with the Settings Editor.

For an overview of the hidden settings, you can find an overview here.

How to use mouse gestures in Thunar?

Thunar currently features basic support for so called mouse gestures in its icon view. You can use these mouse gestures by holding down the middle mouse button (usually the mouse wheel) while the mouse pointer is on the background area of the icon view component (any area that is not covered by an icon or a text). Now you can move the cursor into four directions to perform certain actions, which are described below.

  • Left – opens the previous visited folder
  • Up – opens the parent folder
  • Right – opens the next visited folder
  • Down – reloads the current folder

How do I assign different keyboard shortcuts?

If you want to rebind a shortcut, Thunar supports the standard GTK+ way of changing shortcuts: simply hover over the menu option with the mouse pointer and press the keyboard shortcut you want to rebind it to.

Read more about this in the general FAQ.

This functionality has been disabled by GTK3 which means that thunar 1.7.0 and above do not support it any more.

For thunar 1.7.0 and above you first need to quit thunar: thunar -q

After that edit the accelerators located in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/Thunar/accels.scm

( e.g. in ~/.config/Thunar/accels.scm )

Where does Thunar store the keyboard shortcuts?

The custom keyboard shortcuts are stored in the standard GTK+ accel map format in a file located at $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/Thunar/accels.scm. Lines starting with ; are comments. See the GTK+ documentation for details about the file format.

If you are a packager or a system administrator and want to provide a system wide default for the keyboard shortcuts, that is different from the default shortcuts in Thunar, you can create a file Thunar/accels.scm in one of the $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS. For example, if /etc/xdg is part of $XDG_CONFIG_DIRS (the default for most Linux distributions), you can install system wide defaults to /etc/xdg/Thunar/accels.scm. Thunar will then load shortcuts from this file on first startup.

Why does Thunar display the fall-back icon for all files and folders?

If Thunar displays the fallback icon for all files and folders, as shown in the screenshot below, it is usually caused by one of the following problems:

  1. You don't have an XSETTINGS manager running,
  2. or the selected icon theme does not follow the GNOME naming scheme for MIME icons or it does not contain any MIME icons at all.

The first problem can be fixed by running an XSETTINGS manager in your desktop session, for example xfce-mcs-manager or gnome-settings-daemon. Modern desktop environments automatically spawn a settings manager on startup, so you shouldn't experience this problem in Xfce or GNOME. If you don't want to run an XSETTINGS manager, you can also specify an icon theme in your ~/.gtkrc-2.0. For example to use the Tango icon theme add a line

gtk-icon-theme-name = "Tango"

to ~/.gtkrc-2.0 (just create the file if it does not exist).

The second problem can be fixed by selecting another icon theme, which contains MIME icons (for example the Rodent icon theme, or the GNOME icon theme). In Xfce, you can do this by opening the User Interface preferences from the Settings Manager, and choosing a different theme in the Icon Theme page.

Thunar will be updated to comply with the Icon Naming Specification once the spec enters an usable state and the majority of icon themes follows the spec.

Depending on your system you might need to install the default GNOME icon theme in addition to your preferred icon theme (the Debian/Ubuntu package name is gnome-icon-theme). In either case the hicolor-icon-theme must be installed.