I want to access gnome configurations such as keyboard shortcuts, from an OS installation that I cannot boot, but I have access to the whole file system. The old system is Fedora 36, Gnome 42, wayland, if this is important.

Ideas that didn't work:

  • In the answer here https://askubuntu.com/a/1200952, dconf dump works great for the current system, and it also shows how to load settings from the output (dconf load < savefile). This points to paths like org/gnome/settings-daemon/plugins/media-keys/custom-keybindings/custom0, but there don't seem to be any files that match this.

  • In https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/551458/30532, they use gsettings list-recursively. Again, this seems to need the system to be running.

How can I locate the files that hold settings in the old system?

  • Does this answer your question? How can I view the content of a backup of the dconf database file?
    – aviro
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 13:02
  • @aviro thanks, that does help, although the old $HOME/.config/dconf db seems to have 3 settings, none of them key shortcuts. I will continue the hunt. for file in /tmp/config/dconf/user_db_bak, the command XDG_CONFIG_HOME=/tmp/config/ dconf dump / reveals just 3 settings about authentication.
    – Bonlenfum
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 13:53
  • What are the settings you're looking for?
    – aviro
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 15:15
  • I had many keyboard shortcuts, progam launchers, some asus-specific things too although perhaps configured elsewhere. Also simple stuff like how multi-tap is used for paste etc. I thought most of this was configured in gsettings / dconf, certainly the keyboard shortcuts.
    – Bonlenfum
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


According to this question on askubuntu and this manual page, gnome settings are stored in ~/.config/dconf and /etc/dconf, and you can specify a path to the command line tool by setting DCONF_PROFILE.

For example:

DCONF_PROFILE="/mnt/home/user/.config/dconf/" dconf dump /

Thanks @aviro for correcting the example!

  • The DCONF_PROFILE file is not the PATH of the DB file. Look again at the man page you attached here and read carefully what should be the content of a profile file.
    – aviro
    Commented May 28, 2023 at 13:17
  • I was able to make some progress setting the XDG_CONFIG_HOME variable to point to the user dbfile, to then execute dconf but it doesn't seem to be the right file, as the settings I used to have are not there, sadly
    – Bonlenfum
    Commented May 29, 2023 at 13:59
  • @aviro DCONF_PROFILE can specify a relative path to a file in /etc/dconf/profile/, or an absolute path (such as in a user's home directory).
    – jmcb
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 14:25
  • Right, but .config/dconf/user is the database file of dconf, it's not the profile file. The DCONF_PROFILE environment variable is expected to have a profile file (which has the path to the database file inside it's content), not the path to the database itself. Unless it works differently on other Linux versions, when I run the command you suggest, I get the following error: unknown dconf database description: GVariant.
    – aviro
    Commented May 30, 2023 at 14:42

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