[Workaround] Fix Nautilus Admin Not Working in Ubuntu 21.04

April 14, 2021 — 5 Comments

Use GVfs admin backend to open Nautilus file browser or Gedit text editor with root permission? It’s not working in Ubuntu 21.04.

When you run nautilus admin:// or gedit admin:// to open folder or document with root, it won’t work and output an error:

GDBus.Error:org.freedesktop.PolicyKit1.Error.Failed: Unix process subject does not have uid set

The error also occurs when using nautilus-admin extension to enable ‘open as root’ context menu.

The issue is caused by a gvfs commit to fix flatpak app network permission requirement problem. To get rid of the error (see bug), reverting just that one commit could be a workaround.

Method 1: Install old GVfs from Ubuntu 20.10 repository:

You can download & install the gvfs .deb packages for the previous Ubuntu 20.10. And here are the links for 64-bit system:







Grab the 6 packages, then open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run command to install all of them:

sudo apt install ./Downloads/gvfs*.deb

Method 2: repack GVfs to revert the commit:

If you don’t want to downgrade gvfs, just rebuild it without the commit. To make things easy, I’ve uploaded into this PPA.

1. Open terminal either from system app launcher or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard. When it opens, run command to add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/gvfs

2. Then install the patched version of gvfs via command:

sudo apt install gvfs=1.47.91-2ubuntu1

When done, restart your machine to apply changes.

How to Restore GVfs to stock version:

If you change mind, and want to revert it back, simply run command in terminal to purge the PPA which will downgrade the installed packages:

sudo apt install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/gvfs


I'm a freelance blogger who started using Ubuntu in 2007 and wishes to share my experiences and some useful tips with Ubuntu beginners and lovers. Please notify me if you find any typo/grammar/language mistakes. English is not my native language. Contact me via [email protected]

5 responses to [Workaround] Fix Nautilus Admin Not Working in Ubuntu 21.04

  1. I used this to restore the admin nautilus right-click, but it didn’t work.
    When I tried to revert, I got:

    sudo apt install gvfs=1.47.91-1ubuntu1
    [sudo] password for ME:
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree… Done
    Reading state information… Done
    Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
    requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
    distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
    or been moved out of Incoming.
    The following information may help to resolve the situation:

    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    gvfs : Depends: gvfs-common (= 1.47.91-1ubuntu1) but 1.47.91-2ubuntu1 is to be installed
    Depends: gvfs-daemons (< 1.47.91-1ubuntu1.1~)
    Depends: gvfs-libs (= 1.47.91-1ubuntu1) but 1.47.91-2ubuntu1 is to be installed
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

    • Try purging the PPA with the updated command. If you have already removed the PPA, install and open Synaptic package manager. Then search gvfs via the tool, highlight it and go to menu Package -> Force Version.

    • I ended up removing gvfs via “sudo apt remove gvfs” command and reinstalling gvfs and nautilus. Not sure if I recommend it, but it worked for me.

  2. I tried this both ways and it didn’t work for me.

  3. This worked for me when I was using my lacie on pop os. Thanks very much.

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