Ubuntu 14.04: Add ‘Open As Root/Administrator’ to Context Menu

Last updated on February 15th, 2018


This simple tutorial will show you how to add ‘Open As Root’ or ‘Open As Administrator’ option to context menu so that you can easily edit / open file folders as super user privilege within Nautilus file browser.

[ac-box style=”tip”]There’s now a Nautilus extension (see the link) adds administrative actions to Nautilus context menu. It’s easy to install and supports for all current Ubuntu releases.[/ac-box]

To get started:

1. Open Ubuntu Software Center. Search for and make sure the package gksu is installed. gksu allows graphical programs to ask a user’s password to run program as root / administrator.

2. Open Nautilus file browser, press Ctrl+H to view hidden files & folders. Navigate to USER Home -> .local -> share -> nautilus -> scripts.

Create an empty document under this directory named ‘open-as-administrator’ or ‘open-as-root’

3. Edit and paste following lines into the file

# this code will determine exactly the path and the type of object,
# then it will decide use gedit or nautilus to open it by ROOT permission
# Determine the path
if [ -e -n $1 ]; then
base="`echo $NAUTILUS_SCRIPT_CURRENT_URI | cut -d'/' -f3- | sed 's/%20/ /g'`"
# Determine the type and run as ROOT
if [ -f "$obj" ]; then
gksu gedit "$obj"
elif [ -d "$obj" ]; then
gksu nautilus "$obj"

exit 0

4. Press Ctrl+Alt+T to open the terminal. When it opens, run the command below to make executable:

cd .local/share/nautilus/scripts/ && chmod 0755 open-as-administrator

5. Finally restart Nautilus via command nautilus -q, or just log out and back in.