Saturday, September 16, 2023

Unnecessary LyX Backup Files

If you edit a file from an older version of LyX and then save it, LyX will create an extra backup file with a lengthy name containing something about "version". As with other LyX backups, the file extension is ".lyx~". I believe this is a defense against the possibility that changes to the file format might muck up the file, and I have absolutely no problem with it. Let's call this the version backup.

That said, for a long time now it has been the case that every time I created a new LyX file, saved it, then edited it and saved the edit, I would get both the standard backup file and (after the first edit only) the version backup. Subsequent saves would only produce the usual backup. This was a minor annoyance for me, since I was perpetually tracking down and deleting the version backups to reduce drive clutter (and cut down the time it took to backup my hard drive, which I do regularly).

Turns out there was a simple explanation (and fix) for this, which I found in a thread on a support forum. Like many users, at some point I created a new file, customized a few things, and then in Document > Settings..., clicked "Save as Document Defaults" to make those settings the defaults for all new documents. Doing so creates a file named "defaults.lyx" in the templates directory (which, on my Linux Mint system, is ~/.lyx/templates). That file used the file version in effect when I set it as defaults, meaning every new file I've created since then has started with that version and then been upgraded to whatever the current version is ... leading to all those version backups.

The fix was simple. I just created a new document and set it as the default template, which updated the template to the current LyX format (544 as of this writing). Now I just have to remember to repeat this whenever a new LyX version comes out with a new file format. (At my age, "I just have to remember" should not be taken lightly.)

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