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I would like to have a look at the files the dconf-editor uses to read/write settings, and I'm assuming that they are managed by gsettings. Where are these files stored on the system, and in what format?

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To find out the location of the files, make some change and run find ~/.[!.]* -mmin -5. –  Gilles Mar 9 '11 at 20:53
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Following some advice, I made a change and ran this:

find ~/.[!.]* -mmin -5

Among the displayed results was ~/.config/dconf/user. It's a binary file, a sort of database where GSettings stores stuff.

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A better method would be strace to find out. Using a binary file, why for some wrong idea about performance, how dumb for multiple reasons! KDE does it right but it's not as light as xfce with nautilus!

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Here's what the manual for dconf had to say:

dconf-editor reads gsettings schemas from $XDG_DATA_DIRS/glib-2.0/schemas to obtain descriptions, default values and allowed values for keys.

So to find out where these files are all you have to do is open up a terminal and write this in:

> echo $XDG_DATA_DIRS

There is where your answer will be (provided it is set) if it isn't set try

> set | grep XDG

You should find some variation on that name with a dconf folder inside. For me the variation was. XDG_RUNTIME_DIR which was set to /run/user/1000 and held a directory called dconf with a binary file inside.

Ultimately though, if you want to find any useful human readable information you will be better off looking for the schemas themselves rather than binary files.

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