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

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 '12 at 6:53
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    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 '12 at 7:00
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    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 '18 at 18:53
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    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. – Vít Kotačka Jan 22 '19 at 10:08

I invoked

sudo rm ~/.viminfo

and it worked.

  • Welcome to the site. Note that the OP rather wants to ensure that the vim history is retained between two sessions, not erase it. If you are sure that your approach solves the stated problem, please add some words of explanation why this works despite being somewhat conter-intuitive. – AdminBee Feb 28 '20 at 14:55

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