Need help with Recover.vim?
Click the “chat” button below for chat support from the developer who created it, or find similar developers for support.

About the developer

208 Stars 25 Forks 212 Commits 0 Opened issues


A Plugin to show a diff, whenever recovering a buffer

Services available


Need anything else?

Contributors list

Recover.vim adds a diff option when Vim finds a swap file Say Thanks!

When you open a file in Vim but it was already open in another instance or not closed properly in a past edit, Vim will warn you, but it won't show you what the difference is between the hidden swap file and the regular saved file. Of all the actions you might want to do, the most obvious one is missing: compare, that is, see a diff.


We recommend installing with a plugin manager (there are several).

Alternatively, download the plugin (either the stable or unstable version), edit it with Vim (

vim Recover.vmb
), then source it (
:so %
), and finally restart Vim. You can check successful installation by opening the help file (
:h RecoverPlugin

How to use

Recover.vim adds a new first entry to the list of actions, like this:

Found a swap file by the name "test/normal/.testfile.swp"
        owned by: chrisbra   dated: Wed Nov 28 16:26:42 2012
        file name: ~chrisbra/code/git/vim/Recover/test/normal/testfile
        modified: YES
        user name: chrisbra   host name: R500
        process ID: 4878 [not existing]
While opening file "test/normal/testfile"
            dated: Tue Nov  6 20:11:55 2012
Please choose:
[C]ompare, (O)pen Read-Only, (E)dit anyway, (R)ecover, (Q)uit, (A)bort, (D)elete:

Also, in the case that an active process has the swap file open, Recover.vim adds the relevant process ID to the dialog to make that easier to find.

If you choose the new

option, you'll see a vertical split buffer. On the left side, you'll see the file as it is stored on disk. On the right side, you'll see the diff from the recovered swap file.

You can then use the usual Vim merge commands if you want to copy the contents from the swap buffer. When you are finished, you can close the diff version and close the window, by issuing

in the window that contains the on-disk version of the file. Be sure to save the recovered version of your file.

To delete the no-longer-needed swap file when in the recovered window, use the command

. That will delete the swapfile, close the diff window, and end the diff/merge process. Alternatively, you can use the command

The command

show a small message on what keys can be used to move to the next different region and how to merge the changes from one window into the other.

If your Vim was built with

, Recover.vim will also set up an balloon expression that shows you which buffer contains the recovered version of your file and which buffer contains the unmodified on-disk version of your file, if you move the mouse of the buffer.

If you have setup your

, Recover.vim will also inject some info about which buffer contains the on-disk version and which buffer contains the modified, recovered version. Additionally, the read-only buffer will have a filename of something like
original file (on disk-version)
. If you want to save that version, use :saveas.

Get more help via

:h RecoverPlugin-manual

How to enable or disable Recover.vim

Once installed, Recover.vim is enabled by default.. To disable it, use

. To enable it again, use

When enabled, you can also do a one-time skip of the Recover.vim dialog with Ctrl-C. Then, the default Vim dialog (without the

option) will be shown.

License & Copyright

The Vim License applies. See

:h license
© 2009 - 2017 by Christian Brabandt


We use cookies. If you continue to browse the site, you agree to the use of cookies. For more information on our use of cookies please see our Privacy Policy.