In the Nautilus file manager (Files 3.6.3), when dragging and dropping a file into a directory, the behaviour appears to be dependent on the file-system location of the target folder. (either local or remote)

Dragging and dropping to a local directory triggers a "move" of the source item, and this is the behaviour that I am used to and prefer.

But if the target directory is a remote directory, for example on an NFS mount, then it triggers a "Copy" action. As it's not immediately obvious from the icon or context that the directory is remote, and further that the copy action might take some time, I am often left with the source files in place, and I don't notice that has happened until later. This is undesirable.

I am aware that I can force a "Move" action using a <Shift> and Drag, and also that I can force a move using the mv command line.

However I wish to configure Nautilus to attach the "Move" action to the drag and drop of a file to a remote directory. For me, this is the most common use case, and simplest and most efficient way to achieve that.

I understand that this choice to default to copy-for-remote-targets may have derived from a desire to ensure the consistency of the operation. However it breaks the abstraction of the common interface provided by the virtual file system.

I am looking for the configuration options that control that behaviour.

  • 1
    I think a "standard" behavior is to copy things from and to external drive and that's all. that behavior is more likely hard-coded in my opinion as nautilus is probably one of the less customizable file explorer I ever seen – Kiwy Feb 4 '14 at 13:22

From Nautilis help

Drag files to copy or move

  1. Open the file manager and go to the folder which contains the file you want to copy.
  2. Click Files in the top bar, select New Window (or press Ctrl+N) to open a second window. In the new window, navigate to the folder where you want to move or copy the file.

Click and drag the file from one window to another.

This will move it if the destination is on the same device, or copy it if the destination is on a different device.

For example, if you drag a file from a USB memory stick to your Home folder, it will be copied, because you're dragging from one device to another.

You can force the file to be copied by holding down the Ctrl key while dragging, or force it to be moved by holding down the Shift key while dragging.

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  • 2
    while I appreciate the effort. I don't think that's an answer. The help file suggests that it is not an end user configurable option to change remote file drag and drop behaviour. – Tom H Feb 4 '14 at 18:54
  • i can't seem to select multiple items and then hold shift when i try to drag them... it deselects all but one – Michael Jun 13 at 18:36

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