How to delete a vault

Hi. Complete noob, trying to get my bearings. I’ve created my first vault (by starting with an existing folder of files) as a test and now I’m trying to delete that vault. I don’t see any menu options for that, and when I try simply deleting the relevant .obsidian folder from my file explorer, the next time I open Obsidian, that vault is again open, and that deleted .obsidian folder is back in my file explorer. 'm sure I’m missing something obvious. I’m working in Linux if that’s relevant. Any help appreciated. I

Things I have tried

Searched help docs and the forum.

What I’m trying to do

Delete a vault.

Next time you open Obsidian use the Command Palette Ctrl/Cmd + P -> Open another Vault. You will see all your Vaults on the left side and you can remove them via the three dot menu.
If you want to delete a folder permanently, you would just delete it normally through your systems file explorer. Obsidian is just working on top of your file system.

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Thank you. The problem was, each time I reopened Obsidian, it was opening the unwanted vault–even after I’d tried deleting the relevant .obsidian folder in my file manager–and when I’d try the three-dot menu via “Open another Vault” it would tell me “can’t remove a currently open vault.” So, after reading your answer, I reached behind the vault-creation pop-up window and shut the window where the unwanted vault was open. That did remove if from my list and Obdidian could then open without reopening that unwanted vault, but, as you say, I then had to go into my file manager to actually delete the vault.

I’m new and this will probably make more sense once I know more, but at first blush it seems that deleting a vault (i.e., including from my file system, not just removing it from my Obsidian list) could be more straightforward.

It might help if I’m able to figure out how to open Obsidian in a vault-neutral state–i.e., don’t open the last vault I had opened, but let me choose each time I open Obsidian. I’m off to explore.

Thanks again for the help. Obsidian looks awesome, and I just need to get my bearings.

There is an open Feature Request for that and in that thread @ExpertCoder14 has posted a good and easy workaround for this at the moment. See here:

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Oh, nice. Yes, that’s a decent workaround. Thank you again for your help.

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The .obsidian folder is just the settings folder for your vault (hotkeys, workspace layout, installed plugins, themes, etc.). The “Vault” is the entire folder-tree of your notes.

The Obsidian APP settings ^1 keep a list of your open vaults, which is how it remembers it. And if you delete the .obsidian folder, it’s the same as resetting or refreshing your settings. Obsidian restores them to factory settings.


^1 These Obsidian app settings are stored here: How Obsidian stores data - Obsidian Help

on Mac it’s /Users/yourusername/Library/Application Support/obsidian, on Windows %APPDATA%\Obsidian\, and $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/Obsidian/ or ~/.config/Obsidian/ on Linux.

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Thank you. That’s a helpful clarification, and I appreciate the heads-up about where Obsidian stores data. I understand what you mean about the .obsidian folder being the setting folder for the Vault I’d created. In this case, though, I had created that folder/Vault based on a set of pre-existing project folders and files (a copy I’d made for experimenting on, not my originals). When I created it, I put that .obsidian folder right in among that set of folders/files. So, if deleting that Vault meant deleting my entire folder-tree of notes, I’d be up a creek, wouldn’t I?

Again, I really appreciate the help. The more I understand about where and how things are created, the more comfortable I’ll get with it.

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Well, then don’t delete it. :slight_smile:

I guess you should distinguish between deleting a vault, closing a vault, and removing a vault from the list.

I’m not sure if you are thinking of this in terms of Git maybe? If you delete the .git folder, you are deleting the repository, but the current files remain. That’s not how Obsidian vaults work. A vault is not a layer on top of the files. It’s just the files. And the settings are on top. But the structure itself is just the structure.

If you just want a playground to test and reset every time, you can also use the built-in “Sandbox vault”. Any changes you make to this vault are not saved. It’s accessed from the Help menu. F1, or the command “Open help”.

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OK, yeah. I think I get it. I suppose I was thinking of Obsidian as a layer on top of my files, since the body of that vault consisted of pre-existing files. If nothing else I’m learning to be careful. :slight_smile: I appreciate the help. I’m going to spend some more time with the help and available tutorials, etc. Thanks.

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