On other distros I have run, vim remembers your command history even between sessions; this is especially handy when doing a lot of similar operations on different files.

For some reason, it has been flushing in Ubuntu 12.04, and I can't figure out why. Here is my :set info:

--- Options ---
  background=dark     helplang=en         history=1000      nomodeline   scroll=27           showmatch           ttyfast
  expandtab           hidden              incsearch           ruler      showcmd             softtabstop=4       ttymouse=xterm2

1 Answer 1


Check presence and rights for ~/.viminfo. Usually that's it which keeps command history, file editing positions, etc. One possible case is that this file belongs to root.

  • 1
    It exists, but shows MYUSER:MYUSER; even so, it said permission denied when I tried to open it. Also, there is a ~/.viminfo.tmp
    – Bryan Agee
    Jul 14, 2012 at 6:53
  • 1
    So, I closed all instances of Vim, sudo rm'd both of the above files, and viola--good to go. Thank you!
    – Bryan Agee
    Jul 14, 2012 at 7:00
  • 2
    In my case, my .viminfo has around 1500 search history results.. but when I do q: to bring up the previous search history it only shows 700 or so searches. I keep some search history in the vim search history.. so I can just repeat them when needed. Any idea why this all the search history is not showing up in q: window?
    – alpha_989
    May 31, 2018 at 18:53
  • 1
    It just happened to me after Ubuntu upgrade from 18.04 to 18.10: ~/.viminfo was owned by root and there was ~/.viminfo.tmp owned by user. So I fixed it by: sudo mv ~/.viminfo.tmp ~/.viminfo. Jan 22, 2019 at 10:08
  • It does'nt works for me on my raspbian, my guess is, that could be something with the arrow keys. Apr 19 at 10:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.