I have not used Evolution for long time now and I would like to reset all the settings and start from scratch. How would I be able to do this?


3 Answers 3


For version 3.4, as Evolution switched to dconf, a complete cleanup would mean:

evolution --force-shutdown
rm -rf ~/.local/share/evolution
rm -rf ~/.gconf/apps/evolution
rm -rf ~/.cache/evolution
rm -rf ~/.config/evolution
dconf reset -f /org/gnome/evolution/

To be absolutely safe, you may additionally remove all gconf info. If it's not there, it cannot be removed (which is fine in your case as well) -- and if it's still there, you want it removed. For this:

  1. Shutdown gconf: gconftool-2 --shutdown
  2. Check if the gconf daemon process is gone: ps aux | grep gconf
    • if it's still there, kill it: kill -9 12345 (replace "12345" with the PID found)
  3. Let all rockets go, shoot at everything moving:
    sudo gconftool-2 --recursive-unset /apps/evolution
    sudo gconftool --recursive-unset /apps/evolution
    gconftool-2 --recursive-unset /apps/evolution
    gconftool --recursive-unset /apps/evolution

I put the commands with "sudo" first (some howtos mention you must be root for that). After the first gconftool call without sudo, you need to repeat the daemon shutdown, as that command automatically starts it again.

Now let's verify our success:

dconf dump /org/gnome/evolution/
gconftool --dump /apps/evolution

This should now yield empty sets. If you start Evolution at this point, it should bring up the configuration wizard again (did it for me). If not (rare cases reported that), repeat the above, do not yet start Evolution again, but log out (optionally simply reboot to be on the save side), and login again. Now it should have done its job.

Remark: As these steps include/cover everything from gconf and dconf, they should work with all Evolution 3.x versions (previous versions had a different directory structure, so things need to be slightly adjusted for them).

  • It's very dangerous, you cause user remove all his/her emailes, It just need to rm .local/share/evolution/camel-cert.db and rm .local/share/evolution/cert8.db Oct 21, 2013 at 16:57
  • Sure – but that's the idea behind a reset, isn't it? And OP explicitly asked to "start from the scratch" – which wouldn't be possible with your 3 commands, sorry.
    – Izzy
    Oct 21, 2013 at 17:02
  • in Step 1 "Shutdown gconf: gconftool-2 --shutdown", the font in your post makes it looks like "gconf" is part of the command.
    – johny why
    May 30, 2015 at 17:03

All the user related information of evolution is stored in gconf. Removing/moving $HOME/.gconf/apps/evolution should reset evolution settings.


Note: Removing the gconf directory might not work when being in a GNOME session as it is cached. (And for anybody driving by: 3.2 still uses gconf, these steps would be wrong for version 3.4 and newer).

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