Uppercase user/home folders

Is it possible to make it so that the home folder doesn’t have uppercase folders?

I did just rename them in Fedora previously, but not actually sure of what it can break in the system and seems like only renaming them might cause some trouble down the line.

Therefore is there a setting/file in which I could change it so even newly created users have the folders lowercase by default? Tried to go down the google path, but not sure and as I have a fresh install, would like to know how to do this properly.


When I first read this I was thinking you were saying that the folder names in /home, which correspond to user names, had uppercase, such as /home/Damian. On second reading, I think you are referring to folder names in the user’s home directory, such as home/Damian/Music. Is that correct?
For the latter, the directory names created by specific applications are of course specific to that application, so for something like .Mozilla, you might have trouble with that application as you are guessing. More generic names such as Desktop, Documents, Downloads, … might be slightly easier to address, but not by much. That’s the problem with having conventions that not everyone likes :expressionless:

There should not be any problem renaming these folders to lowercase. As long as you do this using the graphical file manager, these folders will continue to be recognized a Any application that uses the XDG User dir conventions will locate the correct file.

Consider that these folder names can be localized, so may exist with names in many different languages. Applications coping with all that can also cope with your lowercase name.

I do not know how one could set different default names for new accounts.

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You might try this:

cat /etc/xdg/user-dirs.defaults

User names (and the corresponding home directories under /home) should never have an upper case first character. (This is a carry-over from the 'nix of years past and AFAIK has never been fully relaxed.) Any directories under the /home/username/ directory may have upper or lower case names as the user chooses. Examples that should not be changed are Videos, Pictures, Downloads, etc and those “default” directories should not be renamed. Almost any other user created directory under the users home directory can be named as the user chooses.

Remember that a users home directory is usually named the same as the user name by default, and should not be changed once the user has been created on a system. System created files and directories (whether created by the os at time of user creation or by an app) should not be renamed since doing so may break functioning of your system.

As I understand the OP is asking for a way to change this default directories.
As long as referencing them with the /etc/xdg/user-dirs.defaults file it should not matter how he names them. I tested while creating a new user it also creates the folders in lower letters.


xdg-user-dirs-update --force
Moving DESKTOP directory from Desktop to desktop
Moving DOWNLOAD directory from Downloads to downloads
Moving TEMPLATES directory from Templates to templates
Moving PUBLICSHARE directory from Public to public
Moving DOCUMENTS directory from Documents to documents
Moving MUSIC directory from Music to music
Moving PICTURES directory from Pictures to pictures
Moving VIDEOS directory from Videos to videos

So using a existing user just creates the new directories and not even moves the data (has to be done manually). If you considering to do so, be aware of this. It makes just sense for new users.


I argued the opposite: that these folders can be renamed like you want. To keep them acting as “special folders”, the renaming should be done using the graphical file manager. Alternatively, the ~/.config/user-dirs directory must be updated manually, either by edit that file by hand, or, recommended, by using the xdg-user-dirs-update tool.

By the way, editing the /etc/xdg/user-dirs.defaults file is likely the way to change the defaults for new users.

I agree they can be renamed, but it is not for the faint at heart nor a novice. As was shown above, there are at least 2 steps involved for an existing user, and it involves using tools that are usually never needed even by a system admin.

I think the reason they are capitalized at the beginning when a user is created is so the user has a hint about what ‘should not’ be changed nor removed for a default config. It also makes transition from windows to linux easier since the user is already familiar with those folder names on windows. Of course this is still up to the user, as always, should they wish to make the necessary changes and not break their system…

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It is a matter of renaming a folder in a standard way in the file manager. For an xdg special folders, the file manager/desktop automatically takes care of adjusting the config files. Renaming these folders to anything you want is fully supported.

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Thanks a lot, changing the config files to lowercase per new and then running

xdg-user-dirs-update --force

seems to work like a charm, files have to be moved, but the paths seem to be updated correctly, meaning, if I reopened a browser and downloaded a file, it would now be in download folder, not Download.

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You did not try plainly renaming the folders in the file manager? Should take care of it all without having to edit config files.

Don’t remember completely but I think the config did not change them automatically, so I did rename them, but changing the config I think made it so that apps like if I downloaded something would go into the lowercase directory instead of creating a new Uppercase one like before.

However it’s just theories, don’t really have the knowledge to say for sure