How to Add a “Refresh” Menu item to Nautilus/Gnome/Unity Desktop in Ubuntu Linux?

Some even say that the GNU/Linux desktop is about to have a paradigm shift but personally I don’t believe that at all. Though KDE seems like a conservative one but Gnome has always been ‘Gnome’ and it’s difficult believe a change is coming any time sooner.

Anyway, as a Windows user I’ve always been frustrated with the Gnome desktop, specially because I find its context menu (in both Nautilus and the desktop) to be extremely simple. Apart from other options it lacks the ‘refresh’ feature and in the early days it used to drive me mad :).

Default right click menu in Nautilus/Gnome-Desktop (GTK3+) …

One way to add new menu items in Gnome is to install Nautilus scripts but I couldn’t find a script that adds the ‘refresh’ feature in Gnome. But thanks someone sensible called “Dr. Amr Osman” :), now you’re few seconds away from adding it in Ubuntu!.

😀 …

To add that precious “refresh” feature to Nautilus in Ubuntu (including Gnome 2+, Gnome Shell and Unity) just open your Terminal and enter the below commands (supports 12.04 Precise Pangolin, 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, 11.04 and 10.10)

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:dr3mro/nautilus-actions-extra

sudo apt-get update

If you’re ready 😉 then enter the below command to install the script.

sudo apt-get install nautilus-refresh

You’d probably wanna restart Nautilus to make it work. For that use the below command.

nautilus -q

If however you still can’t see it, then logout from your desktop and re-login that should solve it. Then right click on an empty space in Nautilus or the Gnome desktop and you’ll see the awesome “Refresh” menu is added!.


Not only that, but this PPA actually holds some other scripts that add quite useful features to Nautilus such as:

*. ISO image mounting.

*. Checksum checking and generating.

*. Advanced searching.

*. Convert audios.

*. Open Terminal.

*. Set as wallpaper (lets you easily set images as desktop wallpapers) … are just a very few to mention.

For that you’ll have to install the famous Nautilus script package called “nautilus-actions-extra”. Use the below command for that.

sudo apt-get install nautilus-actions-extra

You can also use the “Nautilus-actions” configuration tool for changing/adding menu items etc with extremely easy. For that use the below command in your Terminal window.

sudo nautilus-actions-config-tool

It should open-up a GUI window similar to below one and you can install this tool to add the ‘refresh’ menu item (or edit/add any menus in general) in any GNU/Linux distribution running Gnome desktop as well.

For that, first install the ‘nautilus-refresh’ and then install ‘nautilus-actions-config-tool’ in Ubuntu. Then simply “copy” the values under “refresh” menu item (including the tabs: Action, Command, Execution etc) and use those values to fill the fields in the ‘nautilus-actions-…’ tool in another distribution.

The installation might be as easy as in Ubuntu (in Fedora for instance) depending on whether it’s available via their official repositories.


Well that’s about it. A big thanks goes to “Osman” for adding our little precious “refresh” feature.

For other GNU/Linux users you can visit this official Nautilus Actions home page for more information (downloading, manually installing it etc).

An RHCE, 'Linux' user with 14+ years of experience. Extreme lover of Linux and FOSS. He is passionate to test every Linux distribution & compare with the previous release to write in-depth articles to help the FOSS community.

10 thoughts on “How to Add a “Refresh” Menu item to Nautilus/Gnome/Unity Desktop in Ubuntu Linux?”

  1. Tried to install Reset by copy-paste script into Terminal

    On the ‘intsall’ line got error:

    “Unable to locate package unity-reset”

    • I’m very sorry about this very very late response. You’ve probably have found the answer already. Your comment was in the SPAM folder (including another genuine one).

      Anyhow, assuming that you’re using Ubuntu 13.04 (if note, I don’t know what the issue is), if you’re still interested, then please click on the below link and download the package. Then double click on it, follow the instructions of ‘Ubuntu Software Center’ for installing it.

      P.S :- Make sure to restart ‘nautilus’ with the below command.

      nautilus -q

      Then re-open it manually (by clicking on the ‘Files’ icon on the ‘Application Launcher’ for example) because in Ubuntu 13.04, once it gets terminated, it does not come back.


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