I am using gnome-shell in Ubuntu 11.10. I am getting annoyed when dash search lists Recent Items. I have tried many ways to prevent it like

  • Deleting activity.sqlite and activity.sqlite-journal files under ~/.local/share/zeitgeist

  • Adding all the possible entries in Activity Log Manager to prevent application logging

  • Specifying time range in Activity Log Manager to forget my activities.

But none of the methods are working. The recent items list is still populated.

Is there any way to tell dash not to list Recent Items while searching, other than the above methods? Or is there any way to delete the recent items list?


Gnome-shell uses recently-used and not Zeitgeist to display your recent items.

to disable it follow theses steps:

delete recently-used.xbel:

rm ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel

create a new empty file:

touch ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel

make sure the new file cannot be modified:

sudo chattr +i ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel

now, your display of recent items is gone.

If you want to revert back, remove the i attribute of recently-used.xbel:

sudo chattr -i ~/.local/share/recently-used.xbel

all credits to : http://knezevblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-to-ubuntu-clear-and-disable-recent.html

  • Thanks for your reply. I have a problem here. File ~/.recently-used.xbel does not exist. What should I do? – Vivek Nov 25 '11 at 14:14
  • Oops, location has changed. I'll edit my post. – martin Nov 25 '11 at 14:18
  • No effects for me in 12.04 – umpirsky May 15 '12 at 21:28
  • You can only use chattr with ext2/3/4 filesystems. – MV. Jul 20 '13 at 22:42

Install " Activity Log Manager" using Synaptic and choose apps whose logs you wana see and whose not.


There's also an extension Remove recent items search provider for removing the Recent Items provider now, as well.


Another approach is here:

$ cat ~/.gtkrc-2.0

$ cat ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini

use cairo dock to delete your recent history... instal cairo dock first,,and then run it,, right click on recent-events,,,then choose "Delete today's events" or "Delete all events" I hope it can help

  • 2
    Hi John, can you explain better the steps to do each part you mention here. This way it helps more people that might not understand the system easily. – Luis Alvarado Nov 20 '12 at 14:24

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