Nautilus cut, copy, paste, move and rename options are greyed out and stop working

Bug #988251 reported by Peter Åberg on 2012-04-25
This bug affects 53 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
nautilus (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

The problem appears while using the mouse trying to copy or cut / paste links, folders or files from one location to another. After the mouse-right-click drop-down menu selection of 'copy' or 'cut' the second stage - right-click 'paste' (to the desired location) - is greyed out and the selected files won't move/copy. Key combinations CTRL-X, CTRL-C, CTRL-V don't work either.

However dragging and dropping with the mouse allways works perfectly. Also using SHIFT + drag with the mouse works correctly.

The files are on the local network on a nfs v3-server (Ubuntu 10.04). Permissions are correct and chmod is 755 (as it has always been). This problem came with the Ubuntu 11.10 workstation and has never occurred before. The workstation was upgraded from 10.10 to 11.10 by CD, formatting / (ext4) and leaving Home unformatted (ext4). I am using Unity-2D.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.10
Package: nautilus 1:3.2.1-0ubuntu4.2
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.0.0-17.30-generic 3.0.22
Uname: Linux 3.0.0-17-generic x86_64
NonfreeKernelModules: nvidia
ApportVersion: 1.23-0ubuntu4
Architecture: amd64
Date: Wed Apr 25 12:49:11 2012
ExecutablePath: /usr/bin/nautilus
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" - Release amd64 (20111012)
 PATH=(custom, no user)
SourcePackage: nautilus
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Peter Åberg (peter-aberg) wrote :
Peter Åberg (peter-aberg) wrote :

After a net-upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04, the problem described in bug #988251 still persists whatever Unity used (2-D or default Unity).

Peter Åberg (peter-aberg) wrote :

Perhaps I should file a new or many new bugreport(s) (if so plese let me know), but as several inconsistencies in Ubuntu 12.04 Nautilus behavior appears to be related to how Nautilus interacts with nfs-mounted partitions i post a new comment. The 'behaviors' mentioned below did not occur while I was using my Ubuntu 10.10 64 workstation. The server is unchanged (!0.04 64)

When I for instance (on my workstation) delete a large file/folder located at an nfs-partition it takes Nautilus several minutes to notify the action to the nfs server so that the (changed) availability of space on said nfs-partition gets updated be the server and the newly freed space becomes available. For instance if you delete to make space for a new file, dont expect to get the new file on the nfs-partition before Nautilus has passed it's grace-period, sometimes tens of minutes long.

Unfortunately also the previously reported consistent drag-drop bahavior have become apparently inconstent. CTRL+SHIFT+drag a file/folder with the mouse to an other partition should produce a link link on the target partition, but this works only occassionally - more than often Nautilus starts to copy the entire file to the new location.

SHIFT+drag with mouse sometimes makes a copy of the target file to the new location and sometimes moves the target file to the new location.

These problems are underlined by the fact that it is no longer possible (as it was before and still in Ubuntu 10.10) to make links within a Nautilus window whitout the annoying "link to" -prefixes (In Ubuntu 11.10/12.04 Nautilus always places the created links in the same folder as the original file/folder). At least I haven't found out any other work-arounds to this serious usability flaw than CTRL+SHIFT+drag, which, as mentionede earlier, works only occassionally.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed

the title of this bug is what i wanted to confirm:

copy and paste is kind of disturbed: When i select a file and "copy" it in nautilus, change the directory i would expect the menu entry for "insert" not beeing greyed out. Despide of beeing greyed out, ctrl+v works!

bug also there in arch linux, so probably upstream.

summary: - Nautilus cut/copy--paste not working
+ Nautilus cut/copy--paste not working, Rename option is greyed out

Even though "Paste" is greyed and unclickable, Ctrl+v still correctly works to paste contents.

On 21/05/12 17:56, Sepero wrote:
> Even though "Paste" is greyed and unclickable, Ctrl+v still correctly
> works to paste contents.

I find that "paste" is greyed out but still clickable.

(ditto for "Rename")

>> Even though "Paste" is greyed and unclickable, Ctrl+v still correctly
>> works to paste contents.

> I find that "paste" is greyed out but still clickable.
> (ditto for "Rename")

Ah, I didn't check if that was exactly the case. Thx for the info

Dr. Amr Osman (dr3mro) wrote :


Same type of issue. Copy/paste/cut and rename become randomly grayed out. Usually this happens when I first open the file manager and then begin to open a few other folders as separate tabs. I have also noticed this issue randomly happening when having several tabs (just mentioning this because I usually have several open; i am not sure if this a cause of the issue) for a long period of time (hours, days maybe). The only way I notice is when I go to copy, paste, cut, or rename file(s) or folder(s). I've noticed this bug for several releases of Ubuntu now. At least 11.10, probably 11.04 (can't exactly remember) and possibly further back. I usually just have to close and reopen the file manager to "fix" the problem. Usually dragging files still works as far as I have noticed.

Dario Corno (dario-corno) wrote :

Same here on Ubuntu 12.04, even with a single nautilus window open.
Using CTRL-C and CTRL-V works perfectly, but my customers are used to "mouse cut n' paste" and keep on fiddling with folders and files permissions... :-/

Sepero (cowpie2000) wrote :

Paste is greyed out, but still clickable.

Does anyone experience similar on 12.10? Several times I have had all those options greyed out, being unable to copy/cut/paste. I have to restart close the window and open a new one to make it work. Not sure how to reproduce.
Samsung N310, 12.10 up to date.

Pablo180 (paultait22) wrote :

Getting this problem too in 12.10. Very annoying when you have several tabs open, and have to close them all, and then re-open them all just to rename a file. None of the greyed out options are clickable in my case.

This core application bug is affecting 20 people who often have to close and reopen Nautilus to be able to use it.
I imagine the importance should be taken to high, at least.

summary: - Nautilus cut/copy--paste not working, Rename option is greyed out
+ Nautilus cut, copy, paste, move and rename options are greyed out and
+ stop working
Mezgrman (mezgrman-o) wrote :

I am experiencing this bug as well. It happens almost only when I have several tabs open and one or more of them are (S)FTP servers. I have to restart Nautilus every time which is very annoying.

The context menu option is unclickable and the keyboard shortcuts don't work either.

John Russell (jrussell-88) wrote :

I'm getting this problem in 12.10 - a fresh install - with my ext4 /Home partition.

It's intermittent and restarting Nautilus or rebooting usually fixes it.

Sepero (cowpie2000) wrote :

This bug is almost a year old now. As an open source developer, I would be ashamed of letting such fundamental bugs like this go on so long. F**k features and give me some basic functionality.

Anyway, I found a solution to the problem- switch to another filemanager like Thunar. It's light-weight and fast.

JH (jhasoft64) wrote :

It is not related to permissions nor network shares. I have a folder with some videos recordings. I double click one to open it with VLC, then when I finish I close VLC, now I want to rename the file, the "rename" item is greyed and unclickable, same happens with copy/paste options, unclickable, but can paste using keyboard shortcuts. I don't think number of tabs have something to do with this. In my case I can reproduce always with a folder with video files, play the video, even for some seconds, and when back to the folder right click menu have the mentioned items greyed out.

JH (jhasoft64) wrote :

Ubuntu 12.10 64 bits. Unity session. Compiz defaults. home directory in separate partition, ext4. Nautilus as file manager. A lot of scripts. Turtle Hg and RabbitVCS Git. Maybe I should run Nautilus from command line and see the output when the problem happens.

I experienced that issue on several Ubuntu 12.04 installations with the rename option. It is greyed out but still clickable

upstream closed that issue but with no fix for gtk 3.4

guys, this is very very basic functionallity

doggenult (b187157) wrote :

[EDIT PLEASE DELETE MY ABOVE TEXT] After experiencing this problem for a long time I NOW CONCLUDE that this has to do WITH THE THUMBNAILS STILL LOADING or THE CONTENT OF A FOLDER STILL LOADING (as long as this folder is opened, eg in a new tab). As long as the thumbnails have not been fully created (or the content not listed in Nautilus?) IN THE JUST OPENED SUBFODLER, you will get the (partly) greyed-out right-click content menu. If its already done loading, no such bug.
This might be a useful thought for fixing this bug so I thought I might share with you. Peace out!

sebarex (sebarex) wrote :

As doggenult said it seems that the problem is related to thumbnails.

I'm using and old release of ubuntu (11.10 with Nautilus 3.2.1) and have experienced the problem that doggenult commented. I usually generate large pdf files with latex. Sometimes when I navigate in the folder where the file is located, the file doesnt appear. So I go back to the previous folder and enter again and the file appears.

As regards the copy and paste problem, I close the window and open a new nautilus window and it works for a while until the problem appears again.

Dennis Baudys (thecondordb) wrote :

This nasty bug still exists in Ubuntu 14.04 (64 Bit) with the file manager (and probably related to thumbnail creation!?). Very sad.

Daniel Harvey (daniel.harvey) wrote :

This is still occurring for me in 14.04. I need to quit nautilus to get it working again.

Alexander (istamendil) wrote :

Ubuntu 14.04 x64. The bug occurs in different situations, but definetely it occurs when
1) new folder is created;
2) user doesn't remove focus from folder renaming field;
3) user changes keyboard layout.
4) focus leaving folder renaming field (don't know is that bug or not) and from now user can't copy/paste files.

This bug is similar but not the same to this:

In this bug the options are greyed, but in the new bug (1322925) some one can confirm if the options are still greyed? If not, then the but that you should check is this: 1322925

ivainsencher (ivainsencher) wrote :

same problem with 14.10
Linux macbookair 3.16.0-24-generic #32-Ubuntu SMP Tue Oct 28 13:07:32 UTC 2014 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

gpothier (gpothier) wrote :

Here with Ubuntu-Gnome 14.10, similar problem:
- Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V do not work
- Cut, Copy and Paste menu items are not greyed out, but they do nothing
- Dragging files works ok

This is trying to move or copy files in different directories of the same, local partition.

Dear gpothier, other subscribers,
please confirm that cut/copy/paste are greyed out. Otherwise, please refer to bug #1322925

To those who had the grey out bug,
please confirm if bug still exists.

JH (jhasoft64) wrote :

Note that I never saw this in 14.04. Having no more this bug was one of the benefits since the upgrade. But I never saw it fixed in 12.10.

Heineken (lars-heineken) wrote :

I still experience the bug in 14.04, sometimes even in single tab windows.

efa (efa) wrote :

killall ibus-daemon
is a workaround

Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

The bug didn't see any activity in years and there was no recent report of siimilar issues, closing. Feel free to report a new ticket if you still have problems in newer versions though

Changed in nautilus (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Low
status: Confirmed → Invalid
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