I am using elementary OS Freya. How to reset elementary OS settings to default without reinstalling, and without using Timeshift?

There is no option like Restore Default Settings under about:

3 Answers 3


The following commands effectively take the same action a reset button would.

You could try to use gsettings.

First, create a file with all the keys in it:

gsettings list-recursively | grep '^\S*' > keys.txt

then loop through that file and reset each key

while read line; do echo $line; gsettings reset-recursively $line; done <keys.txt

This resets all the settings (hopefully).

  • Hey @Tim nice, I will try and then accept it :) Is there any way through GUI?
    – Ravan
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 15:37
  • @Ravan no, no gui method
    – user3
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 17:49
  • 3
    @WOEITG No, this command does reset them.
    – user3
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 22:09
  • 2
    @WOEITG No. Those commands reset all settings.
    – user3
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 22:27
  • 1
    @WOEITG I actually made a meta post about that: meta.elementaryos.stackexchange.com/questions/163/…
    – user3
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 11:41

Lewis G's approach worked for me on Loki, but needed a bit of tinkering. It also wound up being quite a bit slower than necessary, as gsettings list-recursively repeated a bunch of keys. Here's a one-liner that should do it all. It skips the temp file and runs much faster by removing repeated lines.

for line in `gsettings list-recursively | grep '^\S*' |awk '{ print  $1 }' | uniq`; do gsettings reset-recursively $line; done

In System Settings > About there is a button "Restore Default Settings".

This will reset all system gsettings keys. It will not reset settings for apps or delete any of your personal data.

Edit: Ah my mistake. This feature hasn't landed as a stable update yet.


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