Posted by & filed under Linux.

Linux Mint (and likely other distributions) come with a feature which tracks files that have been recently modified by certain GTK+ based GUI applications. This feature appears when you use the common “Save As” or “Open” dialogs. The feature displays a read-only, pseudo directory which cannot be written to, requiring an additional step to browse to a writable location.

Disabling this feature is pretty simple. Run the following two commands and it will be shut off:

rm ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel
mkdir ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel

What this does is removes the XML file used for keeping track of recently opened files. It is then replaced with a directory, a sort of hack to prevent the file from appearing again.

From now on the “Save As” and “Open” dialogs will default to your home directory. There’s no place like ~.

UPDATE: The above changes are no longer enough as of Linux Mint 18. You will now need to modify the following file:


Edit the line which contains StartupMode=recent and modify the line to read as follows:


Thomas Hunter II

Thomas is the author of Advanced Microservices and a prolific public speaker with a passion for reducing complex problems into simple language and diagrams. His career includes working at Fortune 50's in the Midwest, co-founding a successful startup, and everything in between.