Sign up ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Dconf is pretty young, yet my database is already a mess with lots of "schema-less" keys. Is there a way to do some cleaning up, or would I need to start from scratch (by removing ~/.config/dconf/user I guess)?

share|improve this question
any chance you can add a screen-shot of what you are seeing? I dont see the same issue. –  fossfreedom Jul 12 '11 at 17:23
Use any software that makes use of GSettings/dconf, change one of the default values (eg. gnome-nettool, run a whois), remove the application. You now have the remains in your database (eg. in apps.gnome-nettool). Good if you reinstall that software at a later point, yet I want to remove those keys. –  htorque Jul 12 '11 at 18:04
A quick online search let me find a Google Code project that seems to do something similar for gconf...could this be modified to work with dconf? –  Christopher Kyle Horton Jul 14 '11 at 19:18
Have you tried looking at the text file and attempting a find a replace operaation to remove all the unwanted items from your dconf? –  Severo Raz Jul 27 '11 at 8:27

3 Answers 3

up vote 22 down vote accepted

This is possible using the dconf reset command, though it's not clear if that's a side-effect of a bug.

  • For a single key:

    dconf reset "/path/to/the/key"

    Must not end with a /.

  • For a whole path:

    dconf reset -f "/path/to/the/path/"

    Must end with a /.

If you do this while having dconf-editor opened, it will likely crash.

share|improve this answer
This works just fine. For newbies, omit the quote signs when you indicate paths. +1 to @htorque. Tx. –  Cbhihe Jun 5 at 15:18
For the sake of completeness, I add to my comment of yesterday that I successfully used that solution on Trusty 14.04.2. –  Cbhihe Jun 6 at 8:51

If you want to clean the dconf database, you first have to dump the whole dconf configuration via:

morfik:~$ cd ~/.config/dconf/
morfik:~/.config/dconf$ dconf dump / > user-backup
morfik:~/.config/dconf$ ls -al ./user-backup
-rw-r--r-- 1 morfik morfik 30.0K 2015-02-07 08:18:04 ./user-backup
morfik:~/.config/dconf$ rm user

After those steps you have to reopen your graphical session (log out/in). This will create the ~/.config/dconf/user file anew with almost 0 content -- default settings.

As for the user-backup file you had created earlier, it's just a plain text file:

lock-after-screensaver=uint32 1

So you can edit it and remove the desired entries/blocks from that file. In other words -- clean it.

When you're done, load it:

morfik:~/.config/dconf$ dconf load / < ./user-backup
morfik:~/.config/dconf$ ls -al ./user-backup
-rw-r--r-- 1 morfik morfik 14.0K 2015-02-07 08:26:23 ./user-backup
morfik:~/.config/dconf$ dconf update /

I think you should restart your graphical session after that again.

And that's it, but you have to remember that all entries that have default values wont be saved -- they will be created anew when some app will ask for it, which is a good thing because you want to backup only the values you had changed.

share|improve this answer
This actually does not seem to have any effect whatsoever on the dconf subpath being dumped modified and reloaded. (I work with an fully updated Ubuntu 14.04.2 and try to remove all keys that have to do with the package indicator-netspeed-unity from ppa:fixnix/netspeed.) It looks like a clean way to go about it but just does NOT effect any change. –  Cbhihe Jun 5 at 14:59
I redid this to be sure, but I confirm this does not effect any change whatsoever. I guess I voted that answer up a little too fast. Can't undo that now. –  Cbhihe Jun 5 at 15:17
I updated the answer, check it -- it works for me. –  Mikhail Morfikov Jun 5 at 18:48
Yes, it now works well. Removing ~/.config/dconf/user before ending your unity session and starting anew were the missing steps. The up-vote stands. Thank you. –  Cbhihe Jun 6 at 8:49

Install gconf-cleaner from the software center.
sudo apt-get install gconf-cleaner

In their own words "GConf Cleaner is a tool to clean your Gconf database up that is possibly cluttered with unnecessary or invalid keys."

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.