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FAQ Where is the workspace local history stored?

Every time you modify a file in Eclipse, a copy of the old contents is kept in the local history. At any time, you can compare or replace a file with any older version from the history. Although this is no replacement for a real code repository, it can help you out when you change or delete a file by accident. Local history also has an advantage that it wasn’t really designed for: The history can also help you out when your workspace has a catastrophic problem or if you get disk errors that corrupt your workspace files. As a last resort, you can manually browse the local history folder to find copies of the files you lost, which is a bit like using Google’s cache to browse Web pages that no longer exist. Each file revision is stored in a separate file with a random file name inside the history folder. The path of the history folder inside your workspace is


You can use your operating system’s search tool to locate the files you are looking for. Although not the prettiest backup system, it sure beats starting over from scratch!

This FAQ was originally published in Official Eclipse 3.0 FAQs. Copyright 2004, Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved. This text is made available here under the terms of the Eclipse Public License v1.0.

Here's a simple example. Lets assume that you lost your file on Jun 12

  cd .metadata/.plugins/org.eclipse.core.resources/.history/
  ls -al * | grep "Jun 22" | grep "r\-\-" | sort -k 6
  -rw-r--r--    1 myusername  myusername  41318 Jun 22 11:06 30ec989295bc00111703c0e5cbee369d
  -rw-r--r--    1 myusername  myusername    865 Jun 22 12:40 b015c947a2bc00111703c0e5cbee369d
  -rw-r--r--    1 myusername  myusername    865 Jun 22 12:40 e090e72da2bc00111703c0e5cbee369d
  -rw-r--r--    1 myusername  myusername    865 Jun 22 12:41 00e4ff56a2bc00111703c0e5cbee369d
  -rw-r--r--    1 myusername  myusername    872 Jun 22 12:42 7098a672a2bc00111703c0e5cbee369d
  -rw-r--r--    1 myusername  myusername  26100 Jun 22 13:19 4076ddc9a7bc00111703c0e5cbee369d
  -rw-r--r--    1 myusername  myusername  26066 Jun 22 13:21 106bb9d3a7bc00111703c0e5cbee369d
  -rw-r--r--    1 myusername  myusername  26066 Jun 22 13:21 b0895feca7bc00111703c0e5cbee369d

The above command lists all the files under the .history directory, pulls those out with the specified date, filters out those with the correct permission, then sorts them by the date and time that starts in column 6.

As you can kind of observe by the file sizes, there are three different files that were edited here. Say you want the one that is 872 bytes long, the one that has a name that starts with "7098a6".

Use the file name to get it's directory it's in. From there you can open up the file, and see if it's the one you want.

  find . -name 7098a672a2bc00111703c0e5cbee369d

There are many other ways to do this same thing. The important thing to note here is that your files are not lost.

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