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  • Writer's pictureSuraj Dhakre

Preserve Edits in Vim : Permission Denied

Updated: Oct 16, 2023


Vim, the versatile and powerful text editor, is a favorite among developers and power users for its efficient editing capabilities. However, what happens when you've invested time and effort into perfecting your changes, only to find yourself trapped in a permissions quagmire when attempting to save the file? In this blog post, we'll explore strategies to gracefully handle such situations and ensure your hard work doesn't go to waste.


Save the Changes Locally: Before attempting anything else, try saving the changes locally within Vim itself by using the following command:

:w filename  

Replace filename with the actual name of the file you're editing. This will attempt to write the changes to a new file with the given name. If you have permission to create files in the current directory, this might work.

Save to a Different Location: If the above step doesn't work, you can try saving the changes to a different location where you have write permissions. You can use the following command:

:w /path/to/different/location/filename 

Replace /path/to/different/location/ with the actual path where you have write permissions. Again, this will attempt to write the changes to a new file.

The mighty sudo: If you have sudo (superuser) privileges, you can use sudo to save the changes. Keep in mind that this might require administrator rights, and it's generally a good practice to use sudo cautiously. javascriptCopy code

:w !sudo tee filename >/dev/null 

This command uses the tee command with sudo to write the file.

Copy and Replace: If none of the above options work, you can save your changes outside of Vim, copy the file to a location where you have write permissions, and then replace the original file with the modified copy.

# Save the changes to a temporary file
:w /tmp/tempfile
# Copy the temporary file to the original location using sudo (if needed)
sudo cp /tmp/tempfile /original/file/path
# Remove the temporary file
rm /tmp/tempfile


Vim is an incredible tool that empowers you to craft and refine your code with precision. While running into permission issues during a critical save can be a moment of panic, these strategies ensure that your hard work remains intact. Remember to approach escalated privileges with care, and always keep backups of your important files. With these techniques up your sleeve, you'll confidently navigate the treacherous waters of permissions, emerging victorious and with your precious edits securely preserved. Happy editing!


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