Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Disable Nautilus Auto-Opening After Auto-Mounting USB Drives

Ubuntu 16

In this article, we will walk you through the process of disabling the automatic opening of the Nautilus file manager after auto-mounting USB drives. This feature, while useful for some, can be an annoyance to others who prefer to manually open their mounted USB drives.

Quick Answer

To disable Nautilus auto-opening after auto-mounting USB drives, you can use the terminal command gsettings set automount-open false. This will prevent Nautilus from automatically opening a window for mounted media. Alternatively, you can use the dconf-editor tool or adjust the settings in the MATE desktop environment if you’re using Caja file manager.

What is Nautilus?

Nautilus is the default file manager for the GNOME desktop environment in many Linux distributions. It’s known for its simplicity and ease of use. One of its features is the automatic opening of a new window whenever a new USB drive is mounted. While this can be convenient, it can also be disruptive to your workflow if you frequently connect and disconnect USB drives.

Disabling Auto-Opening Using Terminal

The quickest and easiest way to disable this feature is by using the terminal. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open a terminal. You can do this by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T.
  2. In the terminal, type the following command:
    gsettings set automount-open false
    Let’s breakdown this command:
    • gsettings is a command-line interface to GSettings, which is a system for storing preferences of GNOME applications.
    • set is the command to change a setting.
    • is the schema that contains the setting we want to change.
    • automount-open is the specific setting that controls whether Nautilus should automatically open a window for mounted media.
    • false is the value we want to set, indicating that we do not want Nautilus to automatically open a window for mounted media.
  3. Press Enter to execute the command.

After running this command, Nautilus should no longer automatically open a window when you mount a USB drive.

Disabling Auto-Opening Using dconf-editor

If you prefer a graphical interface, you can use the dconf-editor tool to change this setting. Here’s how:

  1. Install dconf-editor by running the following command in the terminal:
    sudo apt-get install dconf-tools
    This command uses sudo to run the apt-get command as the root user, which is necessary for installing software. apt-get is the package management command-line tool in Ubuntu. install tells apt-get to install a package, and dconf-tools is the package we want to install.
  2. Launch dconf-editor. You can do this by typing dconf-editor in the terminal or by searching for it in your applications.
  3. In dconf-editor, navigate to org -> gnome -> desktop -> media-handling.
  4. Uncheck the automount-open option.

Disabling Auto-Opening in MATE Desktop Environment

If you’re using the MATE desktop environment, which uses the Caja file manager instead of Nautilus, you can disable the auto-opening feature with the following command:

gsettings set automount-open false

Alternatively, you can open Caja File Management Preferences (caja-file-management-properties), go to the Media tab, and uncheck the “Browse media when inserted” checkbox.


Whether you’re a fan of the terminal or prefer a graphical interface, disabling the auto-opening of Nautilus or Caja after auto-mounting a USB drive is a straightforward process. By following the steps in this guide, you can customize your file manager’s behavior to better suit your workflow.

Can I re-enable the auto-opening of Nautilus after disabling it?

Yes, you can re-enable the auto-opening of Nautilus by following the same steps and changing the value to "true" instead of "false".

Will disabling auto-opening affect other file managers?

No, disabling auto-opening only affects the Nautilus file manager in the GNOME desktop environment or the Caja file manager in the MATE desktop environment. Other file managers will not be affected.

Will disabling auto-opening affect the functionality of my USB drives?

No, disabling auto-opening will not affect the functionality of your USB drives. It only changes the behavior of the file manager when a USB drive is mounted.

Can I still manually open my USB drives after disabling auto-opening?

Yes, you can still manually open your USB drives by double-clicking on their icons in the file manager or by using the file manager’s navigation menu.

Do I need administrative privileges to disable auto-opening?

No, you do not need administrative privileges to disable auto-opening. However, you will need administrative privileges if you choose to install the dconf-editor tool using the sudo apt-get install dconf-tools command.

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