Friday, 29 May 2009

Is your Nautilus slow to open directories?

Fix Naultilus slow loading some directories.

If nautilus is taking an age to load some directories on your computer then you may have Assistive Technologies enabled.

Simply go to the System menu on your desktop and then in Preferences. Click on Assistive Technologies.
Untick the box marked "Enable Assistive Technologies" and choose "Close and Log Out" at the bottom of the window.

When you log back in Nautilus should be opening directories instantly again. Apparently this became an issue in 8.10 when Assistive technologies was enabled by default, I only spent aoround 8 months suffering with this before getting off my backside and finding a fix, it is disappointing that there has not been a direct update to sort this out, there must be a lot of people stuck with this problem.


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much!!!
This slow opening was getting on my nerves more than 1 year.
I almost throw the computer out of the window.

Subban said...

You are welcome, I'm happy to hear that you didn't throw your computer out of a window, or even worse, install windows ;)

Boris said...

I disabled assistive technologies but Nautilus is still unbearably slow for me. It's the slowest file manager I have ever used and it's annoying me about 50 times every day. I installed Thunar as a replacement but it seems impossible to get rid of Nautilus and 'Places' within Gnome's panel. Is Gnome locking me into using a low performance app or is there somewhere a checkbox that I missed?

Subban said...

@boris: you could apt remove nautilus, you would then probably want to use feh, nitrogen or similar to draw the wallpaper. I'm not sure what other effects removing nautilus might have, thunar has a volume/media manager so that should be ok.

As for removing the Places menu, you can't that I know of but someone may have other ideas on that. Perhaps consider switching to an Openbox desktop for much more control over what you have, with a different panel app (I like tint2). Best Openbox guide I know of at

Nautilus does sometimes still take a little while here to open certain folders that have many many files in, other file managers are very fast on those same folders, Its nothing I can't live with here now luckily.

I hope you find a solution, sorry I can't help more.

Anonymous said...

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. This is the fix for my single largest (and daily) complaint about Ubuntu.

Anonymous said...

Also, a HUGE THANK YOU. This has been driving me crazy for months as well, but I've never had the time to chase it down until I stumbled across this post. Very acceptable performance now!

Anonymous said...

I've been using Linux since the mid-90s and Ubuntu since 2007. Nautilus is a reasonably good window manager but it is not on par performance-wise with the rest of the OS. I have a pretty quick machine but it sometimes feels like I'm still in 1986.

For example (with Assistive Technologies off), if one opens a window in list mode and tries to then click to open a subdirectory or type the beginning of a directory name in order to select it, Nautilus first updates all of the subdirectory's item counts before paying attention to the user input. In other words, my attempt to do something useful is trumped by the window telling me how many items are in every one of its subdirectories. I have to wait until it's finished updating those counts before I can continue (and yes, some subdirectories have hundreds of items; that should be irrelevant).

Surely, it's more important to first respond to the user opening a subdirectory than it is updating what will soon be a superceded display. Nautilus has its priorities wrong in this case.

Like I said, Nautilus is by most counts a good window manager but these kinds of irritations signal to users that there's something not quite finished about the design, especially since they run into them dozens of times a day. This wouldn't require a complete reengineer or replacement of Nautilus, just letting the select directory event override the window update process (which should be low priority in any case).

Subban said...

I agree with you, Nautilus can certainly seem to be very lethargic. I have to keep my ~/ folder fairly well pruned so it can open in a reasonable manner. Other file managers have no problem with a couple hundred items in there but Nautilus does.

However no matter which FM I try, I always return to nautilus, I dearly wish GPSoft would port Directory Opus to Linux, I loved that on the Amiga, it even made using Windows tolerable ;)

I don't think Nautilus is going to see any speed improvements any time soon unfortunately, In the mean time we just have to deal with it, perhaps file bug reports on your usability points.

David Robert said...

Most of the development in Nautilus seems to be geared towards the front-end and its superficial looks. The underlying api needs an overhaul. It is probably one of the slowest file browsers around. Compared to Rox-Filer, nautilus is a snail and is failing as harddrives get bigger.

Anonymous said...

If nothing helps try:
Really speedy, some features less/more. Available as "sudo apt-get install pcmanfm".

Subban said...

@David Robert
Yes I think you are correct there, the nautilus Elementary is all about appearance, the recent removal in mainline nautilus of the Location/Breadcrumb toggle button because apparently it "confused people"

It does need a overhaul for certain, sadly for me, every other filemanager I try just doesn't stick, I end up returning to nautilus time and again. I think I will be making a serious effort to abandon it soon though, As I am myself finding with more and more media, it is getting more and more problematic navigating folders.

PCManFM is a great little alternative filemanager, along the samelines is EmelFM2 which is decent enough. When I previously tried those, and I almost always have an alternate file manager installed the repo versions where a bit dated, I believe I compiled both as many features had been added. Worth bearing in mind for anyone checking those out.

Anonymous said...

You are the master!!!


Unam3 said...

Thank you!

My own fault, as I had earlier played around and forgot about it.

How about it, I learned something new. Its a goood day :D


Anonymous said...

Nautilus is really a pain. I spent money in a SSD disk which is really fast but in nautilus it takes at least 1 second to change directory... And i have disable a lot of options as "count number of items", "assistive technologies", etc...

Unfortunately i dit not find another file manager with the same user-friendliness. (search as i type, previous and next keyboard shortcut, etc).

A last point that is really boring me is that you can't use keyboard to look for a particular bookmark in the bookmars menu (as in explorer.exe)

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Vielen Dank! Thanks a lot! Kop khun khrap! Muchos gracias! Hombre you solved my problem. I've had this prob for over a year and drove me crazy over the time. Kudos to you. You are my hero.

What are the assistive technologies are even good for? Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

thank you so much! the speed of the nautilus is faster. now it is acceptable. should let you know that i've been using windows file manager to access ubuntu files thru samba for a long time. wish i found this article earlier...

Anonymous said...

thx dude :)))
that was a pain in the ass
gnome developers should have been really careless to neglect such bugs

Francois Carpentier said...

Confirming this bug. I created a bug report at

* Nautilus: 3.4.2-1+build1
* Nautilus View: "List View"
* Debian: Wheezy 7.7 at 64 bit
* Gnome: Version 3.4.2
* Intel Core: i7-3770S CPU @ 3.10GHz × 8
* RAM: 16 GB

Francois Carpentier said...

Temporary fix at

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