I run Linux Mint 19, but this problem has also occurred on Ubuntu (LTS).

Besides the MATE desktop manager, there is also i3, KDE, and LXQt.

The problem:
When switching from one window manager to another (typically from MATE to i3 and back to MATE, or from KDE to i3 and back), my web browser (either Chrome or Brave) seems to forget some presets, most notably auto-login and auto-fill on websites.

It doesn't erase saved passwords or addresses. I just have to re-enter them again.

If I had to guess, it would be an overwrite of some config file when switching WMs, but which one and why?

Before going into a rabbit hole (I'm clueless about browsers), does someone have some experience with this or just a clue on how to prevent it?

Experiment with Brave Browser:

  • The contents of .config/BraveSoftware/ are saved in a backup folder
  • A switch to i3wm and back to MATE is made
  • Both in i3wm and MATE, a brief stint in Brave Browser confirms that some user data was lost (auto-login, dark theme default settings...)
  • The contents of .config/BraveSoftware/ are restored from the backup
  • The user data loss is reversed: auto-login works, website default user settings are restored.

Kind of obvious but it's a nice confirmation that the corruption occurs in .config/BraveBrowser. Doesn't address why, though. I'll try to remember to do a diff -rq next time I switch WMs. 10 against 1 that it's a bunch of gibber-named cache files.

  • 1
    before switching, save e.g. ~/.config/ folder contents fo a "save"-file using tar, and again when switching back - save THAT set of files, then restore the first set... Might that be the trick? - root cause if that works: same settings are used differently or has conflicts between the WM:s
    – Hannu
    Dec 17, 2021 at 20:20
  • Good idea, I'll try that next time.
    – jwav
    Dec 17, 2021 at 22:52


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