When I login as root or edit a file by sudo mode all of the options in my /etc/vimrc are not working (e.g. highlight line-number etc.)

  • Does user root have a vimrc?
    – Mat
    Mar 13, 2012 at 11:15
  • 1
    i config at /etc/vimrc
    – fronthem
    Mar 13, 2012 at 11:28
  • 1
    What does :echo $VIM (in vim) tell you? (According to my understanding of :help system-vimrc, the global vimrc is expected to be $VIM/vimrc)
    – sr_
    Mar 13, 2012 at 11:39
  • $VIM is /usr/share/vim
    – fronthem
    Mar 13, 2012 at 12:06
  • 1
    Some distros set up /usr/share/vim/vimrc as a symlink to /etc/vim/vimrc.
    – jw013
    Mar 13, 2012 at 16:11

5 Answers 5


I guess the reason is that your home directory ~ is changed, where contains vim configuration file .vimrc .

Normally ~ is /root if you login as root, and is /home/YOURNAME if you login as YOURNAME.

  • i'm config option in /etc/vimrc.
    – fronthem
    Mar 13, 2012 at 11:28

Maybe you are using vi to try to start VIM which will not use /etc/vimrc.

If that is the case, you have two options:

  1. Use vim
  2. Modify /etc/profile.d/vim.sh to set vi as an alias for all users not only for users with a uid >= 100

Which vimrc are you talking about? I don't use/know vim, but in many cases rc files have two kinds of "incarnation": a system-wide rc-file under /etc that dictates the system defaults for the application and user-wide rc-files under the user homedirs, where users set their own settings, that override the defaults from the system-wide configuration file.

Meanwhile, there is sudo, that runs a program as another user (usually root, maybe, like su, it allows you to impersonate users other than root).

As you're running vim through sudo, my guess is that you're expecting ~/.vimrc to be something that it isn't. Either that, or you don't understand what is sudo doing when you invoke it.

If it really is ~/.vimrc, then it's not "not working", it's actually working quite well, the issue is that there's probably no ~root/.vimrc, or it exists with different settings than these you were expecting.


This appears a result of introducing the additional hard-coded "default" vimrc in the newer versions of vim as /usr/share/vim/vimXY/defaults.vim.


Until this is fixed, I see the only work-around in creating per-user ~/.vimrc files (including /root/.vimrc).


You should log in as root and ls -al you can see that there is no .vimrc ,so you can create a new .vimrc when you log as root. And now try it, everything is ok!

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