I know there's probably a very good reason for it (i.e. backup) - but for personal reasons (it's just annoying me), is it possible to stop emacs from creating a backup of every file I edit? I'm talking about when it creates a file appended with the ~ character.


1 Answer 1


Put in your .emacs file.

(setq make-backup-files nil) ; stop creating ~ files

What the variable does...

make-backup-files is a variable defined in `files.el'.

Non-nil means make a backup of a file the first time it is saved. This can be done by renaming the file or by copying.

Renaming means that Emacs renames the existing file so that it is a backup file, then writes the buffer into a new file. Any other names that the old file had will now refer to the backup file. The new file is owned by you and its group is defaulted.

Copying means that Emacs copies the existing file into the backup file, then writes the buffer on top of the existing file. Any other names that the old file had will now refer to the new (edited) file. The file's owner and group are unchanged.

I prefer to have the files backed up into 1 directory ~/.Trash/.

(setq backup-directory-alist            '((".*" . "~/.Trash")))
  • I tried setq backup-directory-alist but it did not work. Dec 16, 2009 at 17:57
  • It depends upon your emacs version, make sure it exists. How did you configure the variable in your .emacs? Dec 16, 2009 at 18:53

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