How can I start tmux without allowing it to read any configuration files?

(I have a server with only one account, so I have to share many configuration files of many programs. This means, I cannot delete .tmux.conf etc.)

  • I assume that one shared account is the root account. If so, why don't you set up a new administrative account just for yourself? Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 11:15
  • @DavidFoerster Unfortunately, It is not the root.
    – plhn
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 2:44

1 Answer 1


The -f option tells tmux to use the specified configuration file instead of the default (/etc/tmux.conf and ~/.tmux.conf). You can point it at /dev/null to skip configuration entirely:

tmux -f /dev/null

or use your own configuration:

tmux -f ~/.tmux.plhn.conf

This will only work when starting tmux; if a tmux server is already running, its configuration can’t be changed in this way.

  • 5
    Note: You can use a different tmux socket to avoid having to kill tmux in order to test with an empty config. tmux -L test -f /dev/null
    – Steven Lu
    Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 20:43

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