Linux Mint Disable "Recently Used"

Support this website by purchasing prints of my photographs! Check them out here.
DEPRECATED: This post may no longer be relevant or contain industry best-practices.

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 Avatar

Thomas has contributed to dozens of enterprise Node.js services and has worked for a company dedicated to securing Node.js. He has spoken at several conferences on Node.js and JavaScript and is an O'Reilly published author.