Since upgrading to version, every time I start the Mathematica front-end it creates a "Wolfram Mathematica" directory under my home directory. (It never seems to put anything in it.) Anybody know how to prevent this behaviour?


3 Answers 3


The "Wolfram Mathematica" directory is created automatically by the front-end and is located in $UserDocumentsDirectory.

It is the default directory to save new documents in and also is on TrustedPath.

The typical location for Linux systems is $HOME/Documents, however it may happen to fall back on $HOME depending on the Xdg user directories setting. This can be changed by

xdg-user-dirs-update --set DOCUMENTS AnyDesiredDirectory
which can prevent the home directory cluttering behavior by using another location.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the information. I take it this means I can't prevent it? For now I've just put a RemoveDirectory in my init.m $\endgroup$
    – Matt Pusey
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Matt Correct, no way to prevent the creation of that directory, but it is possible to change its location in case the home directory is objectionable. $\endgroup$
    – ilian
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 23:37
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Is this the intended behavior? Or is this faulty behavior? I don't really like a "Wolfram Mathematica" directory under my ~/Documents directory. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 14:32
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Andreas It is the intended behavior. Personally I think users should have more control over this -- I would recommend sending feedback to support so they can file a formal suggestion on your behalf. $\endgroup$
    – ilian
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 15:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @nix On OS X the location is determined by querying for NSDocumentsDirectory via the NSSystemDirectories API, I am not sure if the operating system allows users to override this in any way. $\endgroup$
    – ilian
    Commented Sep 27, 2015 at 16:43

Indeed this is annoying. In my ~/.Mathematica/Kernel/init.m I have placed this removal code:

With[{dir = $UserDocumentsDirectory <> "/Wolfram Mathematica"},
  If[DirectoryQ[dir], DeleteDirectory[dir]]
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Instead of adding "Documents" manually to the path (if necessary), replace $HomeDirectory with $UserDocumentsDirectory. $\endgroup$
    – Janosh
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 11:15

I ended up following the last solution suggested, that is, deleting the folder in the init file. Although it required a few minor modifications for it to work on Windows.

Specifically, Mathematica 11 on Windows 7 creates the folder MyDocuments\Wolfram Mathematica each time it starts, and I couldn't find a user-friendly way to modify or prevent this through the GUI in Preferences, which annoys the hell out of me.

As a simple workaround for Windows, consider editing


adding the command

With[{dir = $UserDocumentsDirectory <> "\\Wolfram Mathematica"}, If[DirectoryQ[dir], DeleteDirectory[dir]]]

to delete it automatically. Note the DOUBLE backslash as folder separator. Alternatively, use FileNameJoin.

Thanks to Darko Veberic for the suggestion.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Instead of double (back-)slashes you could also use FileNameJoin[{$UserDocumentsDirectory, "Wolfram Mathematica"}], which would pick the backslash automatically on Windows. $\endgroup$
    – Ruslan
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 12:34

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