30 Best File Managers for Linux Systems

File management is so important on a computer that users always want to have a simple and easy to use file manager or file browser. But sometimes having a feature rich and highly configurable file manager for performing both simple tasks such as searching, copying, moving, creating and deleting files, and complex operations such as remote access of files and SHH connections is very vital.

Best Linux File Managers

Best Linux File Managers

Whether you prefer a lightweight file manager with less features or a heavy file manager with multiple features and functionalities, it all depends on how you operate your system.

Below are a list of some of the best Gui file managers, Console file managers and browsers that you can find on different Linux distributions and can be installed using default system package management tool called apt, yum or dnf as shown.

# apt install filemanager-name  [On Debian/Ubuntu/Mint]
# yum install filemanager-name  [On CentOS/RHEL]
# dnf install filemanager-name  [On Fedora]

1. Konqueror File Manager

Konqueror is a powerful and great file manager for KDE desktop, it offers simple file management functionalities such as copying, moving, searching and deleting file plus some advanced features and functionalities such as access to archives, browse and rip audio CDs, support for access to FTP and SFTP servers, smb(Windows) shares.

Konqueror File Manager

Konqueror File Manager

It has the following major features:

  1. Powered by KHTML rendering engine
  2. Uses a universal file viewer
  3. Has highly customizable applications

Visit Homepage: https://konqueror.org/

2. Nautilus File Manager

Formerly known as Nautilus, it is a simple and default file manager on GNOME desktop, it offers a user easy navigation and management of files on a Linux system.

Nautilus File Manager

Nautilus File Manager

GNOME Files is widely supported on several desktop environments on Linux, therefore making it one of the best and also most popular.

It has got some enticing features and these include:

  1. Simple to use menus
  2. Offers file safety
  3. Easy to understand at a glance
  4. Enables access to both local and remote files

Visit Homepage: https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Nautilus/

3. Dolphin File Manager

Dolphin is a free, open source, lightweight file manager developed as part of KDE applications package. Designed for simplicity, flexibility and full customization, it allows users to browse, locate, open, copy and move files around a Linux system with a lot of ease.

Dolphin File Manager for Linux

Dolphin File Manager for Linux

It is the default file manager on KDE desktops from KDE 4 onwards but users of KDE 3 can also install and use it. It replaced Konqueror as the KDE default file manager with the following features:

  1. File previews
  2. Breadcrumb navigation bar
  3. Three view modes(icons, compact and details)
  4. Split views for easily moving files
  5. Support for shortcuts
  6. Undo/redo functionalities
  7. Tabbed navigation
  8. File sorting and grouping by name, size, types and many other attributes

Visit Homepage: https://www.kde.org/applications/system/dolphin/

4. GNU Midnight Commander

It is a free software, full-screen, text mode, visual file manager that lets a user search, copy, move and also delete files and even whole directory tree.

Midnight Commander - Commandline File Manager

Midnight Commander – Commandline File Manager

It is feature rich with some of these amazing features especially for those who love to operate on the terminal:

  1. Enables running commands in a subshell
  2. Has internal viewer and editor
  3. Based on versatile text interfaces such as Ncurses or S-Lang therefore making it work on a regular console, in an X Window Term or over SSH

Visit Homepage: https://www.midnight-commander.org/
Installation Instructions: https://www.tecmint.com/midnight-commander-a-console-based-file-manager-for-linux/

5. Krusader File Manager

It is also an advanced twin panel file manager that works similar to GNU Midnight Commander, but in a GUI setup and has some great features including:

  1. Support for mounted filesystem
  2. Advanced search module
  3. Extensive archive handling and support for multiple archive formats
  4. Support for FTP
  5. Directory synchronization
  6. File content comparisons
  7. User friendly and highly customizable
Krusader File Manager for Linux

Krusader File Manager for Linux

Visit Homepage: https://www.kde.org/applications/utilities/krusader/

6. PCManFM File Manager

PCManFM meant to be a replacement for the popular Nautilus, Konqueror and Thunar file managers, PCManFM is the standard and feature rich file manager on LXDE desktop and has the following features:

  1. Full support for GVFS with access to remote filesystems
  2. Four view modes (icon, compact, detail and also thumbnail)
  3. Support for desktop management
  4. Shows thumbnail for pictures
  5. Bookmarks functionality
  6. Support for tabbed windows
  7. Drag and drop support
  8. User friendly GTK+2 interface
  9. Default file association support plus many more, as I had mentioned, it is feature rich.
PCMANFM File Manager for Linux

PCMANFM File Manager for Linux

Visit Homepage: http://wiki.lxde.org/en/PCManFM

7. XFE File Manager

It is a commander sort of file manager for X Windows, based on X Win Commander whose development has been discontinued for one reason or the other.

XFE File Manager for Linux

XFE File Manager for Linux

The main aim of developing it was to offer a lightweight file manager for Unix-like operating systems, and it works well for those of you who enjoy working mostly on the terminal.

XFE is also feature rich but we shall not look at all of them here and some of them include:

  1. Very fast GUI
  2. Small memory footprints
  3. Four file manager modes; one panel, directory tree and one panel, two panels and directory tree and finally two panels
  4. UTF-8 support
  5. Search files and directories
  6. Disk usage command
  7. Status lines
  8. Root mode with authentication with utilities such as sudo and su
  9. Bookmarks support
  10. Toolbar support
  11. Autosave registry functionality and many more

Visit Homepage: http://roland65.free.fr/xfe/

8. Nemo File Manager

Nemo is the default file manager on Cinnamon desktop, Linux Mint users must be familiar with it, it is a fork of the more popular GNOME Files.

Nemo File Manager for Linux

Nemo File Manager for Linux

It is also lightweight and has some great features which include:

  1. Uses GVFS and GIO
  2. Open in terminal support
  3. Open as root support
  4. Proper GTK bookmarks management
  5. Full navigation options such as back, forward, up, refresh
  6. Supports several configuration options and many more

Visit Homepage: https://github.com/linuxmint/nemo

9. Thunar File Manager

Thunar is a modern, lightweight file manager for Xfce desktop, designed to be fast, responsive and easy use. One thing you will like about it is its clean and intuitive interface with few and important user options available.

Thunar File Manager for Linux

Thunar File Manager for Linux

It has some great features which include:

  1. Highly pluggable
  2. Hidden settings
  3. Rename several files at once
  4. Custom commands associated with common extensions
  5. Customizable send to menu plus many more

Visit Homepage: http://docs.xfce.org/xfce/thunar/

10. SpaceFM File Manager

SpaceFM is a great, multi-panel tabbed file manager for Linux desktops. Developed to provide a stable, efficient and highly customizable file manager, some of its features include: in-built VFS, HAL-based device manager, customizable menu system and bash integration.

Spacefm File Manager

Spacefm File Manager

Visit Homepage: http://ignorantguru.github.io/spacefm/

11. Caja – File Manager

Caja is the default file manager for the mate desktop and it enables you to explore directories, preview files and start programs connected with them. It is also capable for handling the icons on the mate desktop environment and works on local and remote filesystems.

Caja File Manager

Caja File Manager

Visit Homepage: https://github.com/mate-desktop/caja

12. Ranger Console File Manager

Ranger is an open source terminal file manager with VI key bindings, which provides a minimalistic and better user-friendly interface with a view on the directory hierarchy. It comes with “rifle”, a file starter that is best at auto detecting which program to use for what file format.

Ranger - Linux Console File Manager

Ranger – Linux Console File Manager

Visit Homepage: http://ranger.nongnu.org/

13. Command Line File Manager

It may not be an actual file manager of sorts but what is file management on a Linux system, if we fail to talk about the command line. Very powerful and flexible especially when you understand the Linux filesystem and offers basic and advanced file management functionalities such as searching, copying, moving, creating and deleting files and also supports FTP, SFTP, SMB server access, SHH connections plus many more.

Linux Commandline File Manager

Linux Commandline File Manager

14. Deepin File Manager

Deepin File Manager is a powerful, classic, innovative and easy-to-use file manager designed and built by the developers of Deepin operating system. Like most open source file managers, deepin file manager simplifies user operation and comes with many distinctive features such as an easy-access navigation bar and diversified view and sorting.

Deepin File Manager

Deepin File Manager

15. Polo File Manager

Polo is a modern, light-weight and advanced file manager for Linux with support for multiple panes and tabs. It also features a device manager, archive support; PDF, ISO and image actions; supports checksums and hashing, and video downloads. Importantly, it supports for cloud storage; running and managing KVM images, and so much more.

Polo File Manager

Polo File Manager

16. PCMan File Manager

PCManFM (short for PCMan File Manager) is a simple, fully-featured and easy-to-use file managing tool in LXDE. It is intended to a replacement for popular Linux file managers such as Nautilus, Konqueror and Thunar. It follows the specifications given by Freedesktop.org for interoperability.

Some of its key features include customizable main window layout, full gvfs support with seamless access to remote filesystems, extended terminal emulators, support third-party plugins support, file association support and so much more.

PCMan File Manager

PCMan File Manager

17. Double Commander

Double Commander is a free cross platform open source file manager with two panels side by side, inspired by Total Commander and features some new ideas. It features an internal text editor with syntax highlighting, built in file viewer to view files of in hex, binary or text format, multi-rename tool.

In addition, it handles archives as if they were sub-directories allowing you to easily copy files to and from them. It also supports an extended search function with full text search in any files, and so many other exciting features.

Double Commander

Double Commander

18. Emacs File Manager

Emacs is a well known, extensible text editor used mainly on Unix-based systems such as Linux, by programmers, scientists, engineers, students, and system administrators.

Unlike most text editors in Linux, emacs is a excellent tool for file management. You can use it to list files, copy/delete, rename, moving files, create/delete a directory, in the same way you do in the Linux shell.

Emacs File Manager

Emacs File Manager

19. Pantheon Files

Pantheon Files is a simple, powerful, stylish and minimal file manager. It is the default file manager on Elementary OS. Pantheon Files is minimal and very easy to use. It is a good file manager for Linux newbies as it offers all useful commands in plain sight – on the toolbar or the sidebar.

Pantheon Files

Pantheon Files

20. Vifm File Manager

Vifm is a cross-platform, fully-featured file manager with curses interface, which offers Vi/m-like environment for managing objects within file systems. It borrows a number of useful ideas from Mutt – a text-based email client with powerful features.

For vi users, Vifm gives you complete keyboard control over your files without putting effort to learn a new set of commands. Its feature set includes vim-like user mappings, vim-like command-line mode with ranges and abbreviations, vim-like marks and registers, directory tree comparison, operation undoing/redoing/backgrounding, FUSE file systems support and much more.

Vifm Commandline File Manager

Vifm Commandline File Manager

21. Worker File Manager

Worker is another light-weight, simple, easy-to-use and feature-rich, two-pane file manager for the X Window System on Unix-like systems. It is intended to make managing files easy with full keyboard control.

It shows directories and files in two independent panels, and supports many advanced file manipulation features that allow you to find files and directories by using history of accessed directories; supports live filtering, and access to commands by using the keyboard.

Worker File Manager

Worker File Manager

22. nnn – Terminal File Manager

nnn is a minimal, blazing fast and feature-packed terminal file browser. It runs on Linux, macOS, Raspberry Pi, BSD, Cygwin, Linux subsystem for Windows as well as Termux. It is intended to bridge the gap between the terminal and the desktop environment.

It comes with some powerful features with it, such as application launcher, different modes (such as unique “navigate-as-you-type” mode with auto-select and disk usage analyzer mode), Unicode support, and much more. It also supports as various scripts.

nnn - Terminal File Manager

nnn – Terminal File Manager

23. WCM Commander

WCM Commander is a cross-platform, file manager with a very fast user interface, for Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, and OS X. It features mimic look and feel, built-in terminal and text editor with syntax highlighting, built-in text viewer, and virtual file system (smb, ftp, sftp).

WCM Commander

WCM Commander

24. 4Pane File Manager

4Pane is a simple, fast, easy-to-use, and multi-pane file manager for Linux systems. It focuses so much on speed rather than visual effects. It features multiple undo and redo of most operations (including deletions), and supports archive management. 4Pane comes with a terminal emulator and a number of user-defined tools.

It supports multiple renaming/duplication of files, displays a progress bar in the statusbar when large files are being moved or pasted, and much more.

4Pane File Manager

4Pane File Manager

25. lf – Terminal File Manager

lf is a simple, light-weight and cross-platform terminal file manager inspired by ranger with a number of missing and extra features. It has a server/client architecture to share file selection between multiple instances.

lf can be configured with shell commands and supports customizable keybindings. In addition, lf tries to automatically adapt its colors to the environment and supports preview filtering for source highlight, archives, pdfs/images as text and more.

lf Terminal File Manager

lf Terminal File Manager

26. jFileProcessor

jFileProcessor is lightweight file and list manager with features for common file operations (copy, cut, paste, delete, create new folder etc.), searching files by name, dates, or sizes. It also supports bookmarks.

jFileProcessor File Manager

jFileProcessor File Manager

27. qtfm File Manager

qtfm is a simple and lightweight file manager using Qt, with a customizable interface. It comes with features such as desktop (theme/applications/mime) integration, powerful custom command system, customizable key bindings, support for drag and drop functionality, tabs and udisks support.

Qtfm File Manager

Qtfm File Manager

28. PCManFM-qt

PCManFM-qt file manager is the Qt port of PCManFM. It also doubles as an icon manager. In LXQt sessions, it’s in addition used to handle the desktop.

PCManFM-Qt File Manager

PCManFM-Qt File Manager

29. Ranger – Console File Manager

Ranger is a terminal file manager with VI key bindings, that offers a minimalistic and user-friendly curses interface with a view on the directory hierarchy. It comes with rifle, a file launcher that automatically finds which program to use for what file format.

Ranger - Console File Manager

Ranger – Console File Manager

30. Liri Files

Liri files is a simple and easy to use tool to access and organize files. It is the default file manager for Liri operating system.

Liri Files

Liri Files

This list must have left many of you wondering why I have not mentioned some of your favorite file managers here but the list here is endless believe me, if we are to look all the usable and good file managers available in Linux but the choice depends on you as an individual.

You can share with us any file managers you are using out there, which you think deserved to be mentioned here through the comment section below.

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Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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40 Responses

  1. Mark H says:

    Thanks for putting this list together. Having been with the Windows universe since Windows 3 and I have dabbled with Linux from time to time, but mainly from ssh/command line to compile code.

    As Windows 7 sunsets I decided to dual boot with LinuxMX and Windows (gaming needs), well my i7 4790 system decided to die so it forced me. I have been a long time user of Directory Opus which is a fantastic File Manager, hands down the best of the best, IMHO. Any recommendations which of these FM might be close to that?

  2. mohan says:

    I though Thunar as best file manager. But when clicked on a icon and started typing, it did not auto-highlight the folder what i was searching for.

  3. Jaci says:

    I’m really sad to say this (as I am a Linux user 90% of time), but Windows Explorer is far more superior than any Linux file manager I tried, and I think I tried all possible options.

    Simply put, Explorer has all features in all Linux managers combined plus some more – like being extremely user friendly, dumb proof, metadata support (sorting music eg. by bitrate or filtering by artist are one of my favourites), per folder customization, massively extensible (basically on all levels of user experience, so if there is some missing feature then it’s likely somebody made a proper plugin), caching support which makes it really fast after some usage and a very good performance in displaying thumbnails of basically any file type, option to select by checkbox, highly configurable, super easy navigation (five modes – path entry, two-way path navigation, a tree, the main panel, a tree-in-main-panel panel), integration with OS (like having settings as an entry in a side panel), simple network locations support (eg. nautilus has it too, but I had to google how to use it…).

    OK maybe I missed something… but the general picture isn’t pretty ;)

    I understand that it’s open source and Explorer is paid (as a part of a paid system), but after decades of existence of something like “a file system” one could expect just a single piece of software which makes a good job.

    • Aaron Kili says:

      @Jaci

      Many thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

    • Harry says:

      Sorry but that sounds like trolling.

      There may indeed be a few features missing that windows explorer does natively, but I personally find any of the available Linux explorers to be far more user friendly.

      None of the Linux explorers suffer from the “green bar of death” that has plagued some Windows users since Windows Vista (including me), which completely breaks any usability.

      Maybe the search function is fixed in windows explorer, but even in Win 8, it would fail to find files that I could actually see. (Masterseeker is by far the best option for windows search).

      The last time I looked there was no option for dual panel in explorer, so I would have to use a third party program, or have multiple windows open?

      For all the benefits to you, there are still some significant negatives.

    • sixtytrees says:

      You are right. All Linux file managers are half baked and are missing like 70% of Exlporer’s features. Thunar fails to search files. Go mess with terminal “find“: stupid flags, no way to select a bunch of files.

      Windows Explorer is missing just one feature: new TAB. Thunar has it.

      • Harry says:

        Thunar searches fine for me and so much better than the dreadful windows own search function.
        That said, Masterseeker for windows is the best search program of any that I’ve tried.

  4. Michael Biller says:

    Nemo and Deepin File Manager are good ones. While Deepin File Manager does not yet have a split screen option it can operate in a similar fashion with CNTRL+T. It also has the most awesome and useful tagging functionality that makes organizing your files so much nicer.

    Nemo is also a great File Manager that works well on just about any desktop environment. There are ways to install it that do not require the extra Cinnamon dependencies, also.

    Caja is worth mentioning as well. For a lightweight file manager Caja has quite a few features. Like Nemo, it works pretty well outside of its native Mate environment.

  5. fer says:

    I myself tried some of this commanders, but I really prefer only 2 of them – Gnome and Krusader, where Krusader is the best – comparable with Norton or Totalcmd – all other are clumsy – I need always twin panel.

  6. Saeed Iranzad says:

    None of them shows the metadata as file explorer in windows can show. I mean the data about the artist or name of song or exif of a photo.

    • Logan Byrd says:

      Actually, Dolphin has this. In Details View Mode if you right click on one of the default columns (name, size, modified) you can select additional columns, including audio metadata such as artist or album name, document word count, file tags you’ve assigned, etc.

      For images the metadata is a bit limited (date taken, width, height, orientation), but for other comm file types there are quite a few options. Might be worth a look Saeed!

  7. Mike Dempsey says:

    Ignore my comment … I just saw your #10 – SpaceFM.

    I had missed it when i first scanned the document.

  8. Mike Dempsey says:

    Is there any file manager that has a real ‘Tree View‘ interface so that we can see the entire directory structure instead of just one directory at a time?

    Ideally something like the old Norton [PC Tools] File Manager for Windows … or even just the lame Microsoft file explorer.

    • Rogerio M. Souza says:

      Like as (only RWindows):

      ztree (without GUI)
      xyplorer (with GUI)

    • Byron Taaka says:

      Nautilus has that option in preferences.

      • Jaco says:

        Byron Taaka There is no such option. There is no tree panel in Nautilus at all, not mentioning Windows Explorer’s synchronization between the tree and the main panel…

    • Logan Byrd says:

      Dolphin’s ‘Details View Mode‘ (whose icon is a tree) shows the full file tree relative to the current path. So if you navigate to /root, you can then expand folders down from there and see and interact with the entire tree in a single pane.

      For me it’s a bonus that you can “start” the tree at any root directory you wish this way. Combine this with +Split to open dual panes, and you have something very similar to MS File Explorer’s tree view (each of the split panes can use a different view, so you can have tree on the left and another view on the right).

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