I often find myself in trouble when I try to edit configuration files from the ~/.config/ folder. I expect any change I make to them to be effective, at least after restarting the application or having logged out/inagain.

But they sometimes don't. Here for example, I try to edit ~/.config/nautilus/accels, changing the line:

; (gtk_accel_path "<Actions>/DirViewActions/Trash" "<Primary>Delete")


; (gtk_accel_path "<Actions>/DirViewActions/Trash" "Delete")

After I close Nautilus, then restart it, or log out-then-in, the "Delete" key stil doesn't do anything. More disturbing, the output of head ~/.config/nautilus/accels is:

; nautilus GtkAccelMap rc-file         -*- scheme -*-
; this file is an automated accelerator map dump
; (gtk_accel_path "<Actions>/DirViewActions/Start Volume" "")
; (gtk_accel_path "<Actions>/DirViewActions/Trash" "<Primary>Delete")
; (gtk_accel_path "<Actions>/DirViewActions/Save Search" "")
; (gtk_accel_path "<Actions>/DirViewActions/Location Poll" "")
; (gtk_accel_path "<Actions>/DirViewActions/Set As Wallpaper" "")
; (gtk_accel_path "<Actions>/DirViewActions/New Folder with Selection" "")
; (gtk_accel_path "<Actions>/ShellActions/Tab9" "<Alt>

just like I hadn't done anything! This means to me that some information is stored elsewhere in some way. What should I do, after having edited a file in ~/.config/, to make the changes effective?

1 Answer 1


; starts a comment. So a line starting with ; is ignored.

And probably nautilus overwrites the config file at close. So you should stop nautilus, delete the ; and start nautilus again.

  • 2
    Correct but note that gtk_accels is currently broken (3.16) so YMMV. Jul 20, 2015 at 20:32
  • Okay, so this only has something to do with Nautilus then? I also have the same problem with sed "s/cursor_shape = 0/cursor_shape = 1/" -i ~/.config/tilda/config_0, which doesn't seem to change anything and is restored to initial state when I restart tilda. Is there no common behavior for all files in ~/.config?
    – iago-lito
    Jul 20, 2015 at 20:33
  • @don_crissti Well, I guess I've been mistaking then. I thought there was something the user should do after having edited config files to make them effective, something that would mean apps read config files now. But there is not. Let's investigate independently about the tilda problem then. Should I delete this post?
    – iago-lito
    Jul 20, 2015 at 20:49
  • At least for user scripts for Nautilus 3.16 and later, see: askubuntu.com/questions/680016/…
    – sup
    Jun 9, 2018 at 12:45

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