Don't Let GNOME's Text Editor Leave Hidden Files

GNOME’s text editor, gedit, has a setting enabled by default that will leave heaps of hidden backup files even when the originals have been deleted.

In Linux, a file or directory names beginning with a dot will be hidden. GNOME additionally hides file names ending in a tilde character (~). The tilde is what gedit uses to hide a previous version of the current file being edited.

Unhide the tilde files by selecting Show Hidden Files in File Browser’s View menu. I’ve even cleared out my desktop before, and today I found another 14 old gedit backups there.

Delete the files with names ending in a tilde, and then turn off this feature in gedit. Select Edit->Preferences to display the gedit Preferences dialog. Open the Editor tab and uncheck Create a backup copy of files before saving.

Turn off gedit backups

Archived Comments


Wrong solution IMO. It would be better if Gnome didn’t hide the backup-files instead of disabling a sometimes VERY handy feature.

I assume you can turn off that “Do not show backup-files” somewhere?


It would be great if this could be used for versioning.

Andrew Conkling

I filed a bug on this, as I see no reason not to just hide the files via the “normal” dot-file convention:

But yeah, I agree with Jonas: these backup files can be useful, so turning them off is not ideal.


There is a setting in gconf-editor to show backup files, but it doesn’t work on my system:


Is there any way for us to find the hidden files created by gedit and delete them?


Its a very useful feature, but very annoying - especially when FTPing hundreds of HTML files.

Does anyone know of a hack to make the backup files go to another directory other than the current working directory where the docs are?



This is exactly the solution I was thinking of. The best would be to have backups go to a designated directory.

Ahmed Azhad

To find the backup files created by gedit before turning off the option, type:

find / -name *~ 2>/dev/null


I definitely don’t want to lose backup files!

There used to be an option in gedit to see hidden files, also graphics files (which aren’t shown on the spurious grounds that you can’t edit them - doesn’t mean you don’t want to know they are there/rename them/copy the filename/whatever without having to open nautilus).

It seems to have gone. In fact, lucid seems to be deliberately downgraded like this in a lot of areas. It’s extremely annoying.

Respond via email