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I am using OS X 10.11.6. I wanted to increase the items listed in the "recent places" in the "save as dialog", so I followed the instruction here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5185944?tstart=0

and typed the command in the terminal:

defaults write .GlobalPreferences NSNavRecentPlacesLimit -int 12

Then I discovered that it didn't work, and instead my "recent places" is not changing anymore.

So I tried to reset by typing the below in the terminal:

defaults delete .GlobalPreferences NSNavRecentPlaces

Now the recent places is completely gone in the save as dialog. I created a new user with admin right, logged into it and also found the recent places is gone from the save as dialog.

I also tried to download OnyX for El Capitan → Parameters → General → Restore Defaults, but this didn't work either.

How can I reset the recent places back to the original?

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  • Next time you want to mod, don't use global preferences ;-) and make a backup! – John Keates Sep 25 '16 at 8:03
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With El Capitan 10.11.6, here's the output from defaults read .GlobalPreferences NSNavRecentPlaces on my system.

(
    "~/Desktop/news",
    "~/Documents/text",
    "~/Documents/text/news",
    "~/Documents/astronomy",
    "/Volumes/Video"
)

Try defaults write .GlobalPreferences NSNavRecentPlaces -array /Applications to restore a value for the NSNavRecentPlaces key.

There is no NSNavRecentPlacesLimit key in .GlobalPreferences for El Capitan on my system. The following list of keys are part of the output from defaults find NSNav which is a long list. I assume these are the default settings. Here are the NSNav keys:

Found 9 keys in domain 'Apple Global Domain': {
    NSNavPanelFileLastListModeForOpenModeKey = 2;
    NSNavPanelFileLastListModeForSaveModeKey = 2;
    NSNavPanelFileListModeForOpenMode2 = 2;
    NSNavPanelFileListModeForSaveMode2 = 2;
    NSNavPanelSidebarKeyForOpen =     (
    );
    NSNavPanelSidebarKeyForSave =     (
    );
    NSNavRecentPlaces =     (
        "~/Desktop/news",
        "~/Documents/text",
        "~/Documents/text/news",
        "~/Documents/astronmy",
        "/Volumes/Video"
    );
    NSNavSortOrder =     (
        NSNavDisplayNameFileProperty,
        1
    );
    "NSNavSortOrder_10.6" =     (
        displayName,
        1
    );
}

Try defaults delete .GlobalPreferences NSNavRecentPlacesLimit to remove the key you added. The discussions article seems to be about OS X versions before El Capitan and may not be relevant or useful with OS 10.11.

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