Tonight I started Emacs, and helm-mode is no longer used for certain actions. So far I have found that, for me, M-x and find-file don't use helm anymore, which they have since I first started using helm. I can clearly see Helm displayed in my mode-line, but when I hit M-x or C-x C-f, Helm disappears from my mode-line.

For me these have always worked automatically, I haven't configured these commands to use helm explicitly. Other commands continue to use helm, e.g., describe-variable and describe-function still use helm for completion.

Normally, I would assume that I messed up my configuration file or that an update to helm changed something. However, all my configuration files are under version control, and nothing has changed. Also, I think I might have updated helm yesterday through MELPA, but I can't imagine that I would have gone all day without using find-file or M-x without noticing that they had changed. Also, on the helm github page, I cannot see any indication that these things have been changed recently.

Starting Emacs with the -Q option to bypass my init file, activating packages with package-initialize and running M-x helm-mode to activate helm gives me the same results: helm completion is used for e.g., describe-variable and describe-function, but not for M-x or find-file other commands might be affected as well, but this is what I have found so far. Is anyone else experiencing this behavior? Does anyone know what is going on?

To be clear, helm-find-files and helm-M-x commands still work, so I could bind them to C-x C-f and M-x, but I am curious what happened, to the previoius behavior.

  • As your configuration is under version control, you can trivially revert your package update, and compare.
    – phils
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 8:10
  • @phils my packages are the one thing that is not under version control, but I will probably be changing this now.
    – elethan
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 12:50

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is done in this commit by the helm maintainer to reduce confusion for new users, if you want the old behaviour, just undo that commit by customizing helm-completing-read-handlers-alist.

  • Haha, yeah...the commit message is: "Unhelmize find-file and M-x by default to avoid confusion." I actually scanned the changes in the code of the commit right before that, and then stopped looking. Thanks!
    – elethan
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 12:56

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