Disable spatial mode in GNOME’s Nautilus file browser

gnomeI’m a big GNOME fan and have been using it ever since it was first released.

Ofcourse, like all software, not all is good with the GNOME project also and some of the decisions made by the developers are just plain absurd to me. One such decision was making the Spatial mode on Nautilus as the default.

Nautilus, for those not familiar with it, is the default file browser/manager bundled with GNOME and the spatial mode basically means that each folder or file opens in a window of its own. There are other advantages to the spatial mode, I agree, but this is the one that I found the most irritating.

Nautilus Spatial mode

To make Nautilus behave and get rid of the spatial mode, open the gconf-editor application from the run menu and browse to the following key: apps -> Nautilus -> Preferences

Now, check the always_user_browser property.

gconf editor

That’s all. Now, go ahead and enjoy Nautilus and GNOME the way they’re meant to be.


6 thoughts on “Disable spatial mode in GNOME’s Nautilus file browser

  1. @Abhilash: Ubuntu’s default install of gnome has the spatial mode already disabled. But, by default GNOME comes with the spatial mode enabled and that’s how debian sets it up, which is what I use.

  2. Thanks so much for posting this! I just moved from Ubuntu to Debian and have been tearing my hair out trying to make double-clicking on desktop icons “do the right thing”. And I agree with you that Nautilus in spatial mode is definitely NOT “the right thing”. Now if only Nautilus would implement ‘click and drag to select multiple items’!

    1. I also find the spatial mode equally annoying :-) I’m surprised the “Drag to select multiple items” thing is not already there. I’m on OS X at the moment, so can’t check it right now.

      Thanks for dropping by the blog.

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