I have all my files in recentf, weeks of file visiting history ; But recently, entries have been randomly disappearing ; This is disrupting my workflow in a big, bad way. Questions:

  1. How can I make sure that no external package is tampering with my recentf file?
  2. If the former is not possible, then, is there a way to "watchdog" this file so that I know if and when something is being written to it?
  • 1
    Check recentf-max-saved-items?
    – NickD
    Jul 29, 2021 at 11:47
  • @NickD I'll be damned... I was fairly certain I had it configured this way, but then I looked, and no, so thanks, I cutomize'd it to 0 (you should put that as an answer and I'll OK it) let's see :)
    – yPhil
    Jul 29, 2021 at 12:56
  • IIRC, it should be nil, not 0 (but haven't gone back to check).
    – NickD
    Jul 29, 2021 at 13:12
  • @NickD: Please consider posting your comment as an answer (assuming the Q is not a duplicate). Comments can be deleted at any time.
    – Drew
    Jul 29, 2021 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


Customize recentf-max-saved-items and set it to nil. The doc string of the variable (C-h v recent-max-saved-items) says:

recentf-max-saved-items is a variable defined in ‘recentf.el’. Its value is 20

You can customize this variable.


Maximum number of items of the recent list that will be saved. A nil value means to save the whole list. See the command ‘recentf-save-list’.

  • 1
    If you want to maintain a reasonable recentf list, you will probably need to exclude some paths customizing the variable recentf-exclude.
    – gigiair
    Jul 29, 2021 at 16:07

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