“Type ahead search” in Ubuntu 18.04+

Defaults in Ubuntu nautilus

In Ubuntu 18.04, typing in Nautilus file manager makes a deep search through it’s all subdirectories. This is potentially a powerful and convenient tool but, unfortunately, not for me as it doesn’t fit into my workflow. I’m less of the GUI fan and only use a graphical file manager when I need to do some quick drag and drops on file bulks. Typically, if I’m using Nautilus, I’m already in the directory where I need to be and just want to quickly jump to a file/dir by the name. Shortly: yes, bring back the ye olde stuff.

Unfortunately, it seems that Nautilus has removed the type ahead feature a long time ago (2013) and it was the Ubuntu who was patching for its Unity. With the 18.04 we’re back to Gnome so no patches are, and won’t be(?), provided. Maybe at some point, when I have SSD and Ubuntu improves indexing, I’d like to use the deep search but for now, let’s revert this.

Reverting options

For reverting to the type ahead search there are two options:

  1. Use a different file manager. Apparently, Nemo and Caja are reasonable alternatives.
  2. Install a forked and improved version of Nautilus. Steps below are based on OMGUbuntu and AskUbuntu.


Installing forked version means adding a ppa to the modified code. The ppa addition doesn’t modify the default one so it’s easily revertable.

  • Add PPA: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lubomir-brindza/nautilus-typeahead
  • Install/override nautilus: sudo apt full-upgrade
  • Restart Nautilus: nautilus -q

To remove the modified version simply remove the ppa and update apt with

  • Make sure you have ppa purger: sudo apt install ppa-purge
  • Purge the ppa: sudo ppa-purge ppa:lubomir-brindza/nautilus-typeahead
  • Install/override nautilus: sudo apt full-upgrade
  • Restart Nautilus: nautilus -q

There you go. The World is better by being the same as before.

VMWare path to kernel issue


There is an issue with proper configuring of the VMWare on newer linux kernels. While running ‘vmware-config.tools.pl’, it may ask you for exact path to the kernel’s headers as its default path is empty. The problem is that even though you pass the correct path it still cannot find it. The query looks like this:

Searching for a valid kernel header path...
The path "" is not a valid path to the 3.8.0-23-generic kernel headers.
Would you like to change it? [yes]

The solution depends on what linux distro (and version) you are using. For Ubuntu I’ve used commands like (source: link):

cd /lib/modules/$(uname -r)/build/include/linux
sudo ln -s ../generated/utsrelease.h
sudo ln -s ../generated/autoconf.h
sudo ln -s ../generated/uapi/linux/version.h 

Whereas for Fedora apparently it is (source: link):

Firstly, do a uname -a to see if your kernel version (the number, and PAE/not PAE) matches the kernel-devel installed. If not, that is where the problem lies.

Do a YUM install for the kernel[.PAE] again to bring it up to the same version as the kernel-devel[.PAE].

VMWare sharing folders after kernel’s change

If you’re using VMware and having Linux system as a guest you may have seen that shared folders disappear after installing new kernel. To restore them just type (with super user’s privileges) ‘vmware-config-tools.pl’ in guest system terminal. That is, if your using Ubuntu, the command will be:
$ sudo vmware-config-tools.pl

When prompt type your sudo user password. It will also ask you many questions to which the answer is typically [Enter] (defualt). However, if you know what you are doing, do as you wish.