Configuration Files for Mathematica

Mathematica stores preference settings and initialization data in two directories, $BaseDirectory and $UserBaseDirectory. Within each of these directories are several possible subdirectories with titles such as FrontEnd, Kernel, and Licensing.

Global settings that affect all users are stored in subdirectories of the directory $BaseDirectory. The default value of $BaseDirectory for different operating systems is shown in the following table. To redefine the location of global preference settings and initialization data, set the environment variable MATHEMATICA_BASE.

Windows 7/VistaC:\ProgramData\Mathematica
Windows XPC:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Mathematica
Mac OS X/Library/Mathematica
Linux/usr/share/mathematica

Location of the directory $BaseDirectory for different operating systems.

Settings that only affect a particular user are stored in subdirectories of the directory $UserBaseDirectory. The default value of $UserBaseDirectory for different operating systems is shown in the following table. To redefine the location of user preferences and initialization data, set the environment variable MATHEMATICA_USERBASE.

Windows 7/VistaC:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Mathematica
Windows XPC:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Mathematica
Mac OS X~/Library/Mathematica
Linux~/.Mathematica

Location of the directory $UserBaseDirectory for different operating systems.

Settings in the directory $UserBaseDirectory override global settings defined in the directory $BaseDirectory.

In the pathnames that follow, replace the variables $BaseDirectory and $UserBaseDirectory with the appropriate directories for your system. To find their locations on your system, evaluate the command $BaseDirectory (or $UserBaseDirectory) in a Mathematica notebook.

Kernel

The initialization files used by the kernel contain Mathematica commands that are evaluated at startup, such as function definitions, packages to load, and kernel option settings. These commands are also available to the Mathematica front end.

$BaseDirectory\Kernel\init.m

This file is used to initialize the kernel and therefore should store any kernel commands that are appropriate for all users running the kernel.

$UserBaseDirectory\Kernel\init.m

This file stores user-specific commands used to initialize the kernel.

Kernel initialization files are not created automatically.

Front End

Front end initialization files store preference settings such as the values of global options in the Option Inspector. These files are automatically updated by Mathematica when you change a setting in the front end. To make changes to this file, make your changes from within Mathematica rather than editing the file directly.

$BaseDirectory\FrontEnd\init.m

This file stores systemwide defaults used by all Mathematica front ends. The settings in this file affect all users. "Systemwide Defaults" explains how to implement changes to this global file.

$UserBaseDirectory\FrontEnd\init.m

This file defines settings within the front end that are specific to each user.

Front end initialization files are created automatically.

Passwords

Passwords are stored in the mathpass file, described in further detail in "Registration and Passwords". In the following pathname, replace the variable $InstallationDirectory with the directory where you installed Mathematica. The default value of $InstallationDirectory on Windows is C:\Program Files\Wolfram Research\Mathematica\9.0. To find the value of $InstallationDirectory on your system, evaluate the command $InstallationDirectory in a Mathematica notebook.

$BaseDirectory\Licensing\mathpass

This is the default location for the global password file.

$InstallationDirectory\Configuration\Licensing\mathpass

This is an alternative location for the global password file.

$UserBaseDirectory\Licensing\mathpass

While this is not normally the location for the password file, a user-specific mathpass file can be stored here.

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