Bug 389568 - Feature to reset all settings to default values
Summary: Feature to reset all settings to default values
Alias: None
Product: systemsettings
Classification: Applications
Component: general (show other bugs)
Version: 5.12.0
Platform: unspecified Linux
: NOR wishlist
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Plasma Bugs List
: 437583 441478 473713 (view as bug list)
Depends on:
Reported: 2018-01-28 19:47 UTC by Thomas.Meschede
Modified: 2024-04-09 20:40 UTC (History)
18 users (show)

See Also:
Latest Commit:
Version Fixed In:


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Description Thomas.Meschede 2018-01-28 19:47:15 UTC
Hi everyone,

After something got messed up, it would be nice to have some sort of a button that can reset all things closely related to KDE. It is sometimes really difficult to figure out what files should be deleted and I also don't want to delete my entire home directory, because there might be a lot of data, that I want to keep. Because I don't know what to delete and there is no automated way. I consider this a bug. 

Some of these things would be for example:

* plasma-desktop configuration
* kontact and PIM suite configuration
* akonadi
* baloo
* dolphin

From what I understand the configuration exists in several different folders and


cd ~
find . -name "*kde*"

gives for example
mainly the folders:


within those folder there is a lot more than
just KDE things, so I would probably not just delete them...
then there is more stuff such as:


maybe even a dialog which would give you the opions
what you would like o reset and what not...
Comment 1 David Edmundson 2018-01-28 20:55:07 UTC
.kde isn't a relevant thing.

This page explains the XDG Ddata dirs in a concise way:

We tend to follow that. If something doesn't, it's an application bug, please report it.

Every KCM has it's own default button, if that doesn't work it's a KCM specific bug that should be reported on that KCM.

The look and feel selector is kind-of a reset of multiple plasma things: though it does config keys in a non-generic ways, so it's not great - and it doesn't do things not relating to theme, like keyboard layout.

Plasmashell has some stuff that's not really in the KCMs, having a UI to clear that I'd support if we can narrow that down.

As for this actual request, it's proposing a solution, the "reset all", without explaining the problem it's trying to solve. What's the motivation for blindly reset everything that comes from one vendor?
Comment 2 Nate Graham 2018-01-28 21:20:29 UTC
It's worth mentioning that his request mirrors one made by a high-profile reviewer who tested the Plasma 5.12: beta: http://www.ocsmag.com/2018/01/27/plasma-5-12-long-term-sweetness/

"An immediate finding is – it is very difficult to reset Plasma to defaults, if you need to. There’s no single button or option to just start fresh, WITHOUT deleting user data, only Plasma rc files. For instance, for the existing user, I had to manually delete a few of these (.kde and under .config, various plasma* files), but that did not fully cleanup the desktop, or the file manager, and quite a few other items besides. This is something that ordinary users need not do. A GUI options would go a long way toward helping users get a clean start if they mess up the setup or the configuration."

Perhaps we could have a button in System Settings that does the equivalent of hitting the "Default" button in every KCM?

Nearly all Phone OSs have a similar setting, FWIW, and back when I was in the Mac and Windows worlds, I frequently wished for such a feature when I was helping other people fix their systems.
Comment 3 John 2018-01-30 10:37:01 UTC
This "hit me" a few times as well.  A reset button is indeed VERY handy!!!
Comment 4 David Edmundson 2018-01-30 10:55:51 UTC
So far people are multiple proposals that are wildly different, and no-one has stated what the issue they're actually trying to resolve with this is. It stays as needsinfo till then.

Having something that would including affecting eg. inkscape (like a phone os factory reset)

is massively different from something that would include affect Karbon but not inkscape (OPs original proposal here, which is IMHO weird)

which is also massively different from resetting specific Plasma things (which blog person said)
Comment 5 Nate Graham 2018-01-30 14:24:00 UTC
All three, I think.

If I look at mobile devices, they typically have different levels of settings reset: user prefs, all apps, whole system, etc. The equivalent for us would be:

1. Reset Plasma settings to default
2. Reset settings for Plasma and all KDE apps to default
3. Reset all settings for everything to defaults

If #3 is impossible, that's fine; 1 and 2 would be very nice!
Comment 6 John 2018-01-30 14:39:08 UTC
IMHO, i think this should affect only Plasma Core by default and not any other Software.

E.g.: It should affect Plasma definitions, Dolphin, Baloo and other software that, like this last two, makes the Plasma Core software that always comes installed.
It should not affect other Software - Karbon, for example, should be left out or should have it's own reset system.

Ideally, it would be good if this "other software" (that would fall into Nate's 2 point, i think) would be given the chance of having somekind of "integration" with plasma core. For example, Plasma could have a system settings screen that beside reset Plasma core would allow selection of other KDE software (that choose to be part of the integration) to get reset along with Plasma.

As i've stated I'm no expert in programing, but i can easily provide somekind of mockup for this if needed (still, it will depend of my (very very few) free time)
Comment 7 David Edmundson 2018-01-30 14:47:21 UTC
Again, I'm still waiting to hear the problem that someone actually has with the current thing.

Not starting with now multiple solutions and then trying to think where it might be useful.
Comment 8 Nate Graham 2018-01-30 15:04:55 UTC
A few use cases I can think of for the different levels of reset:
- You're a new user who's gotten over-excited about tweaking settings and you want to return to a clean slate without doing a full reinstall and losing any data
- You're troubleshooting someone's misbehaving machine and want to do the above
- You're using a VM for development and want to return it to factory settings to test against the defaults that most KDE users will see
- You're selling or donating the device to someone else
Comment 9 John 2018-01-30 15:22:38 UTC
Let me also add that the current way of resetting may also end with users deleting files they shouldn't (that happened to me once... Plasma went so f*** up that i had to reinstall everything).

Also, this prevents more careful users from exploring Plasma since they won't change anything in their desktop because they are afraid to break it or do something they cannot undo (and even when i tell them that i'll reset their system, as soon as i start telling them how it's done they'll start running down the street screaming with their arms way up... well, sort of... )

Other case is when some update does break the thing and one wishes to just start over...

I really think this is one of those pretty-obvious features that brings in a lot of good things
Comment 10 David Edmundson 2018-01-30 15:45:03 UTC
The current way of resetting what?
Comment 11 John 2018-01-30 15:55:56 UTC
(In reply to David Edmundson from comment #10)
> The current way of resetting what?

Well, i was talking about Plasma configurations.

Or, for example, from time to time i have to delete dolphinrc from .config because it stops indexing samba shares.
As soon as i delete it everything gets ok (i know, i should report the bug...).

Anyway, this is sort of a reset! But this is something that few of my friends would do (if any)
Comment 12 David Edmundson 2018-01-30 16:10:04 UTC
When you want to delete dolphinrc, what are the current problems with configure dolphin -> defaults?
Comment 13 Thomas.Meschede 2018-01-30 16:33:39 UTC
(In reply to David Edmundson from comment #12)
> When you want to delete dolphinrc, what are the current problems with
> configure dolphin -> defaults?

My motivation from this came mainly from when I upgrade my system. Very often, an upgrade kills some configuration in my desktop. This has to do with customizations but also just "normal" KDE configurations get messed up sometimes. In these situations where I use my old home directory on a bew system I would like to reset the KDE desktop mainly to a state as if it was newly installed. I do NOT want to click through every available KDE app to find the default button such as:

* the PIM suite
* plasma-desktop
* remove plasma-applets myself,
* kate settings
* akonadi
* baloo
* krunner
* and many more....

I also disagree, that you should click through every application yourself. Things like akonadi, baloo, PIM, dolphin are so deeply integrated with KDE, you sometimes don't even know why something isn't working. For example if the search
doesn't work, is it baloo or dolphin? A "normal" user has no idea what to do here. The same thing counts for Akonadi integration with krunner, dolpin, PIM.

That a lot of poeple need something like this can be seen on pretty much every cellphone that have reset menus. Isn't there also plasma-mobile? Is there maybe already a solution available for this? Also maybe you want to have a button to delete private information from a computer similar to the firefox browser

As Nate Graham already suggested, I also think it should be configurable
what to delete and what not (similar to the old firefox dialog where one could individually checkmark what to delete (such as history, passwords, layout, addons, personal data, cache).

something like this:


[X] - personal data and language configurations
[X] - accounts (all akonadi related)
[X] - cache (baloo search index for example)
[X] - desktop layout configurations
[X] - PIM
[X] - App configurations
[X] - File associations  (where do you delete that btw???)
[X] - keyboard shortcuts
[X] - etc...

[[[DELETE]]] -> are you sure? -> yes/no

which categories would be chosen is open to discussion I guess. But 
a start would be to just choose desktop layout and akonadi for example.
Comment 14 John 2018-01-30 17:08:36 UTC
(In reply to David Edmundson from comment #12)
> When you want to delete dolphinrc, what are the current problems with
> configure dolphin -> defaults?

Well, for a start, when i searched for a solution i never found this tip! So i don't know if it will work. LOL. Thanks for letting me know about it, anyway! 
I'll surely try it the next time ;)

Still, a "Global" Reset Button for Plasma + Core Software (which could include Dolphin) is, IMHO, a must have!
Comment 15 David Edmundson 2018-01-31 10:39:01 UTC
So to summarise the problems, which is the only relevant bit I care about:

Thomas thinks that his configs get out of sync with "correct" defaults after upgrades. It's still unclear which configs he had a problem with.

John wanted to reset dolphin, but the button that already does what he's after in dolphin was undiscoverable.
Comment 16 Thomas.Meschede 2018-01-31 12:08:39 UTC
(In reply to David Edmundson from comment #15)
> It's still unclear which configs he had a problem with.

well thats part of the problem: I don't know which configs I have to delete in a lot of cases... All of the following has happened to me (this is a starter
as of a list with "problems"):

* If Kontact doesn't work anymore (not starting, not downloading emails, 
  not syncing with calendar, todo list messed up): Is it because 
  of kmail, calendar, akonadi, accounts, baloo, kleopatra, or 
  which app messes it up?
* If dolphin doesn't work as intended (search not working, 
  files get compressed in "funny" ways where I can not 
  open them afterwards anymore, network functions not working)
  is that because of dolphin or some KIO service? And 
  where do i find the configuration for that? And which service is
  it anyway? Or is it because some sort of a funny icon-set was 
  downloaded through "get hot new stuff"? Can I also 
  reset that and where?
* Plasma-Desktop: I install a new system and its messed up. There is just
  no reset button available. What is responsible here again? 
  Is it because of a plugin? is it because of funny Keyboard Shortcuts?
* krunner: I can't use alt-f2 anymore. Why is that? because of funny 
  keyboard  shortcuts or configurations files? And how do i reset
  krunner to find out?
* In general for every application that doesn't start anymore 
  because of a funny configuration file, you also won't be able
  to reset it to the defaults with its own way. This has happened to 
  me with kmail, kleopatra, krunner.

I am just saying it would be nice to have a central place to manage that.
And that place would naturally be the KDE system settings. On your
cellphone you can even reset applications that have *nothing* to do
with the OS. That doesn't need to be the case for KDE, but if at least the
KDE ecosystem would be somehow resettable, that would be nice.

@David I hope I clarified where the problems are ;). I also made a proposal
of a dialogue for systemsettings.
Comment 17 David Edmundson 2018-01-31 13:19:38 UTC
Thanks, that's exactly the format I was trying to extract.

The reason being that there are going to be a bajillion "do we need to include/link/separate [blah]" that are on a level that a dev needs to be answering.
Comment 18 John 2018-01-31 23:11:15 UTC
(In reply to David Edmundson from comment #15)
> So to summarise the problems, which is the only relevant bit I care about:
> Thomas thinks that his configs get out of sync with "correct" defaults after
> upgrades. It's still unclear which configs he had a problem with.
> John wanted to reset dolphin, but the button that already does what he's
> after in dolphin was undiscoverable.

Well, the reset button is pretty obvious... it was I that searched the net without searching dolphin configs first. In this case the blame is on me!!!

However, i still don't know if this will solve my problem!

About Thomas' Comment 16 - It explains exactly my point!!!

A central reset button (for plasma) is very handy in many occasions
Comment 19 Thomas.Meschede 2018-02-09 09:09:36 UTC
just to reiterate, a very recent experience I had:

I just upgraded my KDE Neon system to plasma 5.12 and KDE frameworks 5.42.0 with
the result that almost all my global keyboard shortcuts don't work anymore.  

First I was trying to figure out for quite a while, why I couldn't increase/decrease screen brightness anymore, or why my laptop wouldn't go to sleep mode when pressing the relevant button... It would NOT have helped, to reset the power settings here.

Then another example of someone losing their shortcuts and being given 5 different files in different locations for resetting shortcuts:


I am almost in the mood to reconsider this thing not as a feature request but a bug, considering how annoying it can be.
Comment 20 Ömer 2018-02-17 01:08:24 UTC
*** This bug has been confirmed by popular vote. ***
Comment 21 David Edmundson 2018-02-17 09:32:26 UTC
I think there's definite need for resetting keyboard shortcuts with the thing its a shortcut for.

I shall open that as a new bug and work on that.

The rest is still undefined.
Comment 22 Øystein Steffensen-Alværvik 2018-02-17 10:12:54 UTC
*** This bug has been confirmed by popular vote. ***
Comment 23 Ben Creasy 2018-03-10 23:24:44 UTC
Is there a wiki or guideline doc on how KDE apps are supposed to handle configuration? I've got some thoughts but I don't want to put them here since it's kinda off-topic. I think some of these issues could be prevented with things like a well-defined schema around the configuration and a clear separation of system and user config files.

I don't think a fresh system should start with a bunch of configuration in ~/.config - my ~/.config should be empty of live settings when I install a new system.
Comment 24 Christoph Feck 2018-03-30 19:24:40 UTC
Ben, if the /home/user directory is not empty for new users, then it is the distribution that populates it with the so-called 'skeleton' directory, usually /etc/skel

The problem with this ticket is that different users expect different types of configuration to be kept, so unless there is a GUI application that shows all configuration files and allows the user to individually inspect and remove them, we will never be able to please everyone that looks for a way to 'reset settings'.
Comment 25 John 2019-09-02 16:57:35 UTC
OK... would like to share my last nightmare.

My workstation has Tumbleweed... but it had became increasingly slow (in a matter of a few months).
I've taken the time to hammer down from where the problem came from and the only logical explanation i could found was some old configuration in conflict with a new one as a result of the upgrades.

So... i, once again, in the lack of a way to reset plasma settings, and since creating a new profile did solved the problem, i tried to migrate everything from the old profile to a new one and then switch the profile names.

Long story short: It/I screwed up my desktop in such a way that the only possible solution was to backup my data to an external drive with a USBboot drive and format the computer.

Again: a "Reset Plasma" option is really »really« needed if you ask me!
Comment 26 Nate Graham 2020-10-12 22:57:53 UTC
This is becoming possible. In Plasma 5.20, we fixed (almost) all of the KCMs' "defaults" buttons so that they actually work. It's now reasonably feasible to have a central action that triggers that action for all KCMs.
Comment 27 John 2020-10-13 15:07:25 UTC
(In reply to Nate Graham from comment #26)
> This is becoming possible. In Plasma 5.20, we fixed (almost) all of the
> KCMs' "defaults" buttons so that they actually work. It's now reasonably
> feasible to have a central action that triggers that action for all KCMs.

Thanks for the update, Nate. It's great news!!! :D

I believe this is out from 5.20 scope, but is there any "ETA" when this could be landing on our beloved desktops?
Comment 28 Nate Graham 2020-10-13 15:08:49 UTC
Well the work on this specific feature hasn't started, so it's a bit premature to provide an ETA. :) Given that 5.20 was just released today, the earliest would be in the next Plasma release--5.21.
Comment 29 Nate Graham 2021-05-26 18:14:06 UTC
*** Bug 437583 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 30 Nate Graham 2021-08-24 14:59:05 UTC
*** Bug 441478 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 31 ginzen 2022-03-03 11:55:21 UTC
Any solution for this Bug?
...especially when I want to reset Dolphin file manager...
Comment 32 John 2022-03-04 17:09:22 UTC
> ...especially when I want to reset Dolphin file manager...

i may be wrong but i don't think this will affect Dolphin. Only the settings from system settings.

Dolphin would have to have it's own reset system (however it would be great to have a KDE Software' Center that would allow such action on Software made by KDE)
Comment 33 John 2022-03-04 17:21:39 UTC
(In reply to john from comment #32)

> (however it would be great to have a KDE Software' Center that would allow such action on Software made by KDE)

maybe an option to reset Software to their defaults would fit well in discover... (just thinking out loud... of course...)
Comment 34 phrxmd 2022-05-31 09:12:11 UTC
I would really appreciate this. 

One moment when I wished I had something like this was when I switched to Wayland. I found it hard to get my old X11 configuration to produce acceptable output in Wayland without different sorts of visual glitches, so at some moment the only way out for me was to try and reset the Plasma configuration by deleting all the config files that I thought had something to do with Plasma. Because there are so many and the names and locations are quite non-obvious, I wished Plasma had a "reset to defaults" button.

Even so I find it is not so difficult to get Plasma into a state where the configuration is broken or suboptimal in some ways. It comes with the complexity. Of course the default response to this would be that this shouldn't happen and that all of this should be reported as bugs - but it does not help the user who is stuck and wants to get back to a clean system.

Plasma has come some way thanks to indicating changed settings in System Settings - but this only highlights that Plasma clearly knows what the defaults are, so it should be possible to reset to them with one click of a button, instead of setting each of them individually, no?
Comment 35 John 2022-06-02 15:24:29 UTC
(In reply to phrxmd from comment #34)
> I would really appreciate this. 
> ...
> Plasma has come some way thanks to indicating changed settings in System Settings - but this only highlights that Plasma clearly knows what the defaults are, so it should be possible to reset to them with one click of a button, instead of setting each of them individually, no?

Meh... not everything supports this highlight yet!!! :(

And that's the problem that keeps us waiting....... Would be a great step in the right direction :)
Comment 36 medin 2022-06-02 21:59:39 UTC
I can confirm that most weird and non reproducible bugs are fixed either by simply clearing "~/.cache" folder or completely creating new user which requires fastidious work for re-configuring all installed apps.
Comment 37 Eduardo Correia 2022-07-15 09:30:55 UTC
I also would like to see this feature implemented.
There are many times that weird bugs appear after messing up with themes or config files manually that we, "casual users", need to search through Google for a way to reset everything to default and it involves finding a deleting a lot of files or terminal commands. We all love to follow tutorials on how to install themes, and sometimes we can't revert stuff back properly. This "Reset all" would be a very welcoming option for any non tech-savvy user. Every proprietary OS has this, together with the option to reset the whole system (but that's a whole other topic, KDE could support it but distros themselves would have to configure it too), but barely any linux DE has these options. I believe KDE would be the first DE to implement something like this.
An additional option to "Clear KDE Cache" or something like that, would also be very handy.

We could really benefit from some native "housekeeping" tools! As a random additional example, even bigger/commercial distros would feel more confortable offering KDE by default if the desktop itself would do more housekeeping without the users needing to contact support lines.
Comment 38 Nate Graham 2023-08-28 20:04:32 UTC
*** Bug 473713 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Comment 39 tronicdude 2024-03-31 06:58:43 UTC Comment hidden (spam)
Comment 40 medin 2024-03-31 19:31:58 UTC
I confirm the need of such premium feature, after upgrading to Plasma 6, if you keep your old user then you will surely suffer from high number of mysterious bugs, and it also increases the number of bug reports in KDE tracker, which makes it hard for devs to process them or reproduce them because they are originally occurring in specific contexts.

Without this feature, any user who finish a major Plasma upgrade must create a fresh new account in order to avoid those problems.
Comment 41 Henning 2024-04-08 21:23:16 UTC
I want to stress that having such a "reset user settings" is a key feature, as even "immutable" Distros allow users to completely mess up their systems, due to how Linux Desktops allow users to change their system without any root access.

So to get productive, I think this should not be that hard to implement.

Where are the systemsettings settings stored? Is is a database, that can be backed up? 

KDE Plasma ships with default settings, so there is a template for that database that is populated with the recommended settings. Why not duplicate this, keeping it as a backup?

In the GUI a button could then be added which does something like
display dialog "really revert all settings to default?"
   kill systemsettings
   cp /path/to/systemsettings-default-config.db /path/to/systemsettings-conf.db
Comment 42 Eduardo Correia 2024-04-08 22:24:56 UTC
As a Steam Deck user, more than one time already that I had to literally factory reset my WHOLE steam deck to be able to revert back some stupid things I changed inside KDE that I cannot find where they were or how to change them back or what was the feature even called.

Steam Deck is an example of an immutable distro that can still hugely benefit from a "restore settings" button.

On my main desktop, after a Plasma 5 to 6 upgrade, some settings got messed up and I had to manually delete the respective config files. This is not at all something that an average user should have to do, since the user can by mistake delete important config files from those folders.

I would also say that "Restore default settings" is a better term than "Reset settings" in this context.

A cool idea would be a "Support", "Troubleshooting" or similar settings page inside the settings app that could list, based on what was installed, "restore settings" buttons for each. For example, "restore default settings for Dolphin", "Restore default settings for Discover" and etc. All it could do would be maybe delete the config file for that app, because most of the KDE apps already restore their default settings automatically if you delete their config files. So this feature is already "somewhat implemented" to a point. A button that runs "rm" on the specific config file for each KDE apps would probably be enough. Maybe also backup the old settings to a .bk copy, so a button called "Revert" could appear after clicking the restore settings button, so the user can "revert the restore" if they restored settings for the wrong app. That Revert button could stay available as long as a .bk file for that specific app was still present.

Another very related feature would be to have a button to completely uninstall or just disable all extensions, themes, kwin scripts and any extra stuff that the user might have installed. It would be an extremely important tool to diagnose misbehaving systems. Such feature could also be present in the same system settings "Troubleshooting" page, as mentioned above.
Comment 43 Brandon Gray 2024-04-09 17:55:17 UTC Comment hidden (spam)
Comment 44 Henning 2024-04-09 20:39:09 UTC Comment hidden (spam)