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
    Commented 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
    Commented 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
    Commented 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. Commented 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. Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 10:16

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