When I start vim on my Mac using iterm or MacVim I receive the following error message:

E575: viminfo: Illegal starting char in line: ^A<ce>^Y^C<f1>H<85><a9>generator<c4>^Dnvim<a7>version<c4>^KNVIM v0.4.3<a9>max_kbyte
E575: viminfo: Illegal starting char in line: <a3>pid<cd>^I^Q<a8>encoding<c4>^Eutf-8^C
E575: viminfo: Illegal starting char in line: <ce>^X^I<86>I<83><a1>f<c4>>/usr/local/Cellar/neovim/0.4.3/share/nvim/runtime/doc/nvim.txt<a1>l^G<a1>c^N^D<ce>^W<b6><d9>^M<92>
Press ENTER or type command to continue 

But when I press ENTER vim starts. I have deleted .viminfo file at the home folder. I suspect that it has something to do with neovimbut I am not sure.

  • Does your vimrc override the location of the viminfo file? What does :set viminfofile? return? Does the problem happen if you start Vim with vim -i NONE? Or vim -i ~/.viminfo?
    – filbranden
    Feb 28, 2020 at 13:22
  • 1
    :set viminfofile returns viminfofile=. And when I start Vim with vim -i NONE or vim -i ~/.viminfo the problem doesn't happen.
    – sbac
    Feb 28, 2020 at 16:43
  • 1
    @filbranden Yes, vimrc set the location of viminfo file in ' ~/.vim/dirs'. I deleted viminfo and now everything seems fine.
    – sbac
    Feb 28, 2020 at 19:56
  • 1
    Please post an answer with what fixed it for you. If possible, include the snippet in your vimrc that was setting the path to the viminfo file. Thanks!
    – filbranden
    Feb 28, 2020 at 20:04

1 Answer 1


In the vimrc file the following snippet overrides the location of the viminfo file from the home folder to ~/.vim/dirs folder:

set viminfo+=n~/.vim/dirs/viminfo

So, deleting the viminfofile in this folder solves this error.

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