How to manage a wired network on Ubuntu Desktop

On Ubuntu Desktop, a separate GUI program called NetworkManager is responsible for configuring network settings (e.g., wired network, wireless network, proxy settings). However, on a fresh installation of Ubuntu Desktop, your wired network is NOT managed by NetworkManager, but by /etc/network/interfaces.

So if you go to: System Settings -> Network -> Wired on Ubuntu Desktop, it says "Unmanaged", and you are unable to edit network configuration for a wired network via GUI-based NetworkManager.

If you want to manage a wired network via NetworkManager, do the following.

First, remove the existing network configurations for eth* from /etc/network/interfaces. So the resulting /etc/network/interfaces will only has the following loopback interface.

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

Now, enable wired network settings on NetworkManager by changing "managed=false" to "managed=true" in /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf.

$ sudo vi /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf

Finally, restart NetworkManager to reload its configuration.

$ sudo service network-manager restart

Once you restart NetworkManager, you will be able to edit wired network settings in System Settings -> Network -> Wired. Note that /etc/network/interfaces will no longer be used and thus remain blank, as NetworkManager takes over network configuration tasks.

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Dan Nanni is the founder and also a regular contributor of He is a Linux/FOSS enthusiast who loves to get his hands dirty with his Linux box. He likes to procrastinate when he is supposed to be busy and productive. When he is otherwise free, he likes to watch movies and shop for the coolest gadgets.

One thought on “How to manage a wired network on Ubuntu Desktop

  1. On Ubuntu or Mint desktop, what are the advantages or disadvantages of changing the default network manager? When would I want to do that and when should I not?

    Sometimes I want to try your very clear procedures just to do them, but that would be silly. I wish you would give information on when or why a procedure could be useful. Or even just a link to a site that discusses it and that you agree with.

    Of course I can always Google for someone else's views and your very clear procedures are valuable as a resource by themselves. I'd just rather see your thoughts on it, if you see what I mean.


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