How-To Geek

Clear History from Totem Movie Player in Ubuntu

If you’ve been using the default movie player in Ubuntu to play videos, you might have noticed that there’s no way in the application to clear the recent history of watched movies. This could cause issues if you happened to open a video that you don’t want other people to see in your list.

Here’s Totem before I figured out how to clear the history:


Turns out, almost all of the applications in Gnome store their history in the same place, and it can be cleared by clearing the recent documents on the Gnome menu.

Just go to the Places menu and Recent Documents \ Clear Recent Documents


You’ll get a confirmation message asking if you really want to do this.


Of course we did, and now the list is gone from Totem. 


Ahh, much better. Wouldn’t want anybody to know I was watching The Simpsons, afterall.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/27/07

Comments (18)

  1. TARUN

    Please tell me how to clear the recent documents list in the gnome menu documents tab in opensue 10.2

  2. Nick

    Thanks, this helped a lot.

  3. larry

    then do i have to restart my computer

  4. bobba

    no you dont larry

    Worked a treat, nice one ;)

  5. north

    Thanks that did the trick I thought it was a bug in the program.

  6. Victor M. Villarruel

    Great job. I truly admire the great job of Ubuntu fans. Keep up the good work.


  7. Steve

    Thanks for the tip!

  8. FantaGuy

    To disable this for good empty your recent documents and change your .recently-used file to be read only

    chmod 400 $HOME/.recently-used

    to revert

    chmod 600 $HOME/.recently-used

  9. Piraja

    In case you’re not using GNOME or just because such information might sometimes be valuable: Totem’s history and quite a few other items can be located also in a file called


    and not in .recently-used.

  10. Places?

    How to go to Places menu so that it will show Recently used?? I know this is a stupid question but at least in my Ubuntu there is no such thing. If I go to Files I can pick Places but it doesnt show Recently used. If I try to open a file in Totem I can see Recently used, but there is no way to clear them. Please help you can?

  11. Deathwish238

    Using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, under the Places menu at the bottom exists a Recent Documents menu that has the clear option.

  12. eee

    Thanks. This is a good topic.

  13. TheDude

    Thanks a lot, really needed to clear all that porn from my cache before letting people borrow my pc

  14. The Secret

    Thanks, I would have been owned tomorrow because I work with my very personal computer and as everybody know that pr0n and work don’t get along… I will build a “totem” in your honor

  15. Ash

    Thanks for the valuable tips

  16. agss

    That not work on Ubuntu 11.04 Unity

  17. me

    Only problem is – I wanted to clear history from TOTEM movie player (as the title of this article claims), not ALL history in gnome

    It’s like shooting a fly with a canon – you get the fly, but also the wall it’s on :-)

  18. kk

    MODERATOR!! the end tag (end of <bookmark) is missing from my comment
    I don't know if it was the BB that stripped it out. here it is again with 2 slashes.
    .. through to

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