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PCMan File Manager
PCMan File Manager.png
Developer Hong Jen Yee (PCMan)
Latest version 0.9.3 Beta (from 18 March, 2010)
Genre File Manager
License GNU General Public License
Website pcmanfm.sf.net

PCMan File Manager (PCManFM) is a file manager application developed by Hong Jen Yee from Taiwan which is meant to be a replacement for Nautilus, Konqueror and Thunar. Released under the GNU General Public License, PCManFM is free software. PCManFM is the standard file manager in LXDE, which is also developed by the same author in conjunction with other developers.

PCManFM is intended to follow the specifications given by Freedesktop.org for interoperability in free software.


PCManFM's features include:

  • Full gvfs support with seamless access to remote filesystems (Able to handle sftp://, webdav://, smb://, ...etc when related backends of gvfs are installed.)
  • Thumbnails for pictures
  • Desktop management - shows wallpaper and desktop icons
  • Bookmarks
  • It is multilingual
  • Can be started in one second on normal machine
  • Tabbed browsing (Similar to Firefox)
  • Volume management (mount/umount/eject, requires gvfs)
  • Drag & Drop support
  • Files can be dragged among tabs
  • Load large directories in reasonable time (faster then some well-known file managers)
  • File association support (Default application)
  • Provides icon view, compact view, detailed list view, and thumbnail view.
  • Standard compliant (Follows FreeDesktop.org)
  • Clean and user-friendly interface (GTK+ 2)


Since 2010, PCManFM has underwent a complete rewrite from scratch. So the new PCManFM is totally different from the old 0.5.x series. Build instructions, the ways to setup, and configuration files are different, too. Please refer to the new build and setup guide.


Desktop Path

If your desktop displays the files of your /home/ and not the files on your real Desktop path, you probably do not have an established path "Desktop". To fix this please do the following:

  • mkdir ~/Desktop
  • nano ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs (as root)
  • and restart your LXDE session.

Desktop Icons/links

Desktop links are not totally obvious. Here are some hints.

How to Make Them

Open the files with editor to see how they work:

  • Look at the examples here: /usr/share/applications
  • A typical file name is like this one: leafpad.desktop The .desktop file extension won't show up on pcmanfm.

Run as root

If Tools > "Open Current Folder as Root" command gives an error, you probably need to enter a change similar to this one:

PCManFM > Edit > Preferences > Advanced and in the the "Switch user command" field add the command "gksu %s" (without quotes). (This works in Debian Squeeze running Openbox or LXDE. A different command may be needed if running PCManFM in other desktops such as KDE, if gksudo is not installed.)

Other Hints

  • Copy files from /usr/share/applications to your ~/Desktop folder.
  • Make your own desktop links by following the examples above and put them in your ~/Desktop folder.
  • The same .desktop files are used for the buttons in the lxpanel (bottom task bar).

Get and Compile the Source Code

  • The source code is now in Git repository:
libfm: git clone git://pcmanfm.git.sourceforge.net/gitroot/pcmanfm/libfm (you have to install libfm prior to compile pcmanfm)
pcmanfm: git clone git://pcmanfm.git.sourceforge.net/gitroot/pcmanfm/pcmanfm

Bug Report, Patch submission, or Feature Request

See also

External Links