I have this function which sources my .zshrc only if it has been modified in vim but I recently reinstalled Windows and WSL and then used my old .zshrc and .vimrc to get my setup back but this specific function doesn't work like it did before:

function zshrc () {
    local original_ctime="$(zstat +ctime -- ~/.zshrc)" 2>/dev/null
    vim ~/.zshrc || return
    [[ -n $original_ctime ]] || return
    if [[ $original_ctime != "$(zstat +ctime -- ~/.zshrc 2>/dev/null)" ]]
        source ~/.zshrc

This function is supposed to check if the file creation time has changed. See here.

Before I reinstalled WSL I could run zshrc and save the vim buffer using :wq (without making any changes) and then vim would not overwrite the original file so it WON'T source ~/.zshrc and if I DO make changes then only vim will overwrite the original file, so the function WILL source ~/.zshrc. I'm assuming some defaults were maybe changed in vim so how can I get that specific behaviour back?

I understand that I can just exit vim with :q! to get this but when I'm editing different files quickly then I'll use :wq without thinking about it and then it sources .zshrc again without any changes.

  • 2
    That's strange: I'd expect :wq to always save the file. If it didn't, I'd consider it a bug. Are you sure this wasn't a bug in WSL? Aug 18, 2020 at 9:18
  • 1
    fyi, ctime is not creation time, it's inode change status time. It's probably mtime you want here (for the age of the "contents" of the file). See also the -H/-A options of stat to avoid the fork. Aug 18, 2020 at 13:42
  • 1
    Another option is to compare a checksum before and after. Aug 18, 2020 at 13:43
  • @Gilles'SO-stopbeingevil' At least that's what I thought was happening 'cause I always exit with :wq and if I didn't modify the buffer then zstat +ctime would return the same time as before so I assumed vim didn't write the buffer to the file.
    – ntruter42
    Aug 18, 2020 at 14:28

1 Answer 1


Get in the habit of doing ZZ (i.e., Shift+Z, Shift+Z).  If the buffer has been modified, this will do :wq.  If the buffer hasn't been modified, it will simply exit without saving.

  • 5
    Also :x instead of :wq.
    – Quasímodo
    Aug 18, 2020 at 11:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .