I'm switching from vim to neovim, but when starting neovim, I get the following error on startup:

E576: Failed to parse ShaDa file: extra bytes in msgpack string at position 3

What does this mean, and how do I stop neovim complaining about it?

Note: I want to be able to use both vim and neovim with the same vimrc.


TL;DR: skip to the Resolution section.


The issue is that neovim can't read/write vim's viminfo file format.

Instead of using vim'sviminfo format for storing editing session information, neovim uses a shada-file for "SHAred DAta".

The default shada file name is $XDG_DATA_HOME/nvim/shada/main.shada, and $XDG_DATA_HOME is ~/.local/share by XDG default, giving a default shada file named:



In neovim, &viminfo is a deprecated alias to the 'shada' option, which configures the shada-file's location and usage. This means that neovim will look at the viminfo variable for information about shada data.

This is generally fine - it's good for backward compatibility to store/recover the same information that vim would... except in the case where a file name is specified - a file which will probably contain viminfo data, not shada data.

The culprit is your viminfo variable (or possibly your shada variable), where you've explicitly set a filename to be used for the viminfo (or shada) file.

This file that you are referencing is in viminfo format, not shada format.

For example:

:set viminfo?

In your vimrc, you probably have a line like:

set viminfo+=n~/vim/viminfo

Where n<name> sets the file to be <name>.

The issue is that the file named <name> contains data in viminfo format.


You can either:

  1. Remove the line which explicitly sets the viminfo file name, in which case:

    • vim will use ~/.viminfo
    • neovim will use $XDG_DATA_HOME/nvim/shada/main.shada


  2. Keep the existing file name when running vim, and use another when using neovim:

    if !has('nvim')
      set viminfo+=n~/vim/viminfo
      " Do nothing here to use the neovim default
      " or do soemething like:
      " set viminfo+=n~/.shada
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