Getting Started

The best way to introduce unburden-home-dir in your setup is the following:

  • Look through /etc/unburden-home-dir.list and either uncomment what you need globally and/or copy it to either ~/.unburden-home-dir.list or ~/.config/unburden-home-dir/list and then edit it there for per-user settings.

  • Check in /etc/unburden-home-dir if the target and file name template suite your needs. If not either edit the file for global settings and/or copy it to either ~/.unburden-home-dir or ~/.config/unburden-home-dir/config and then edit it there for per-user settings.

  • Make a dry run with

unburden-home-dir -n

to see what unburden-home-dir would do. If you have lsof installed it should warn you if any of the files are currently in use.

Check the above steps until you’re satisfied.

  • Exit all affected applications (guess them if no lsof is available, fuser may help if available) as opened files which should be moved can cause unburden-home-dir to fail. (May not be necessary if the target is on the same file system, but that’s usually not the case.)

Also exit shells or file browser windows (Nautilus, Konqueror, Caja, etc.) which have any of the to-be-unburdened directories open.

If you use a full featured desktop (GNOME, KDE, Unity, Enlightenment/E17) including desktop search or similar tools which have some files in ~/.cache permanently opened (Zeitgeist, gvfs, etc.) it’s likely the best to logout from your X session and do the remaining steps in a failsafe session, on the text console or remotely via SSH.

  • Run


  • Start your applications again.

If everything works fine, enable unburden-home-dir permanently, either per user or globally for all users. See below.

Enabling unburden-home-dir Globally

If you want to enable unburden-home-dir for all users of a machine.on an Xsession based login, edit /etc/default/unburden-home-dir and either uncomment or add a line that looks like this:


This will also set $XDG_CACHE_HOME to a subdirectory of unburden-home-dir’s target directory.

But please be aware that if you do that on a machine with NFS homes, you should do that on all (Unix) machines which have those NFS homes mounted.

Enabling unburden-home-dir Per User

For installations where each user should be able to decide on his own if unburden-home-dir should be run on X session start, add a line saying


to either ~/.unburden-home-dir or ~/.config/unburden-home-dir/config (create the file if it doesn’t exist yet) which are sourced by the Xsession startup script in the same way as /etc/default/unburden-home-dir (while beingq configuration files for unburden-home-dir itself at the same time, too).