I have a executable bash script (.bash_history_cleaner) which cleans my bash history

cat /dev/null > ~/.bash_history && history -c && exit

I want to execute this script on system shutdown or restart and followed this answer which uses systemd with service name as bash_history_cleaner.service and enabled it in systemctl. The service is up and running,

Description=Bash History Cleaner



Its intended behaviour should be to clean my bash history when either shutdown or restart. But its not working, I shutdown and restared the system many times but the script is not executed. How do we execute a bash script before shutdown using systemd?

  • What's the goal of cat /dev/null > vs echo "" >? Does the script work when you run it directly, ie: bash /home/eka/Scripts/.bash_history_cleaner? – earthmeLon Jun 22 at 1:26
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    Are you implementing this as a system systemd unit? if so, ~/ is not going to resolve to your user's home directory – steeldriver Jun 22 at 1:28
  • @steeldriver you are correct it was not resolving I had to give the full path – Eka Jun 22 at 3:07
  • @earthmeLon you can even skip cat altogether and have it just like so > /path/to/file – Dan Jul 27 at 22:30

Why not take advantage of the Linux system and it's /tmp directory to store your .bash_history in a more volatile place?

To change the location of your .bash_history file, you need to set the HISTFILE variable. To have the file deleted every reboot, place the file in the /tmp/ directory.

You can add something such as the following to your ~/.bashrc file so that these settings persist:


You can confirm other users cannot read your history by checking out the file permissions of the history file created:

ls -lsa /tmp/.bash_history

This will cause your user's history to be removed upon reboot, but will not affect others. You can set this system level configuration files such as /etc/bash.bashrc if you really want. You can even put /tmp into RAM to ensure it gets cleared.

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    Your answer is a good solution for his problem, but unfortunately it does notanswer the question in that I am also interested in to know: How to run a systems command on shutdown? – AlexOnLinux Jun 22 at 11:01

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