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I want to get rid of all the settings eg. of wine which aren't deleted when purging it, but don't want to delete them all by hand. Is there any tool, that lets me do this? If not that might be a coding-idea for some one?

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Good question, but I'm afraid that such program does not exist as programs are free to have their own locations for storing user data. If programs have a path to the configurations in their manual page, a script might retrieve these paths. Unfortunately, most GUI applications do not have such a manual page. – Lekensteyn May 13 '11 at 20:08
Maybe there should eventually such an info added to the debs from the repository, or the file standard should be extended, as I think many people would like to keep their system clean – Toxicbits May 13 '11 at 20:14
@Lekensteyn Make it an answer and get an upvote! ;) – htorque May 13 '11 at 20:15

There is no such tool I am aware of, but some programs do store the path to the users configuration files in their manual page under the Files section. The next text is retrieved from man chromium-browser:

          Default directory for configuration data.
          Default directory for cache data.  (Why?  See 
          <> .

If you've just installed an application and want to purge it including any settings, you might want to look for these files based on their modification time. That can be done using find with the -mtime (modification time in days) or -mmin (in minutes) options. For example, if you've started the program within an hour (=60 minutes), you should run:

find ~ -mmin -60 -ls | less

The output will contain the modification date, owner/group (usually your user/group), size and name and will be piped into less so you can use your arrow keys, page up and down keys for navigating.

Finally, you can look at the source (you're using FOSS software, right :) ) if you understand the language. If the program is small, this is doable. But if the program is large, it gets more difficult.

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So anyone who wants to code, but doesn't know what to code: That would be a really cool project, as at the moment quite some space is wasted by old applications and at least I would like to have a clean home folder – Toxicbits May 13 '11 at 20:50
@Toxicbits: the problem is that most programs do not provide such a nice documentation, but hey, it's possible :) Another approach would be indexing all files in the home dir, so you can tell which files has appeared on what time. – Lekensteyn May 13 '11 at 20:52

If you want to reset all of your personal settings, you should delete all hidden files in your home directory, with the excpetion of .bash_logout, .bashrc, .profile (these three files are copied from /etc/skel on user creation).

It is not always simple to delete settings for a particular application, because the hidden file or directory it create, usually on first run, can have sometimes a name very cryptic (for example the hidden directory for pidgin used to be .purple).

Apart from pathological cases, a search like

find ~ -iname '*appname*'

should give a good hint of what to delete to reset the application.


As @htorque pointed out in a comment below, in hidden files and dirs there could be also data, as emails under .evolution, browser bookmarks under .mozilla/firefox, and the like.

So, as always, have a backup of your sensible data somewhere.

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No, I want to keep the settings of all installed applications – Toxicbits May 13 '11 at 20:19
Note: those hidden directories could contain user data as well, it's not all just configuration/settings. – htorque May 13 '11 at 20:38
@htorque, I edit the answer to include your observation. – enzotib May 13 '11 at 20:48
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It is also possible with Ubuntu Tweak

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