From XOWA: the free, open-source, offline wiki application

User data

XOWA is commited to user privacy. As a user of the XOWA desktop app, you can be assured of the following:

  • User data is never uploaded: No data is ever uploaded. All data remains on your machine unless you choose to do something with it. The most you will ever see is a button that allows you to send log files to the developer.
  • User data is collected for application usage only:
    • Features like "Page History" and "Bookmarks" depend on user data. As a result, these features are enabled by default. They can be disabled at the user's discretion.
    • XOWA also has a log that records actions and errors.
      • This data is for diagnosing defects whenever you want to report them.
      • It can be reviewed under Help -> System Data -> System Log
      • It can be deleted under /xowa/user/anonymous/app/tmp. XOWA only keeps the last 8 sessions around.
  • User data collection can be disabled or cleared: Individual features can either be cleared or disabled. The rest of the page details the process for each feature.

Internet access

XOWA is an offline app. However, it does connect to the internet to download dumps, images, css and other data. In nearly all cases, this internet access needs to be directly activated by the user. (i.e.: you click a link and XOWA goes off to download a dump)

However, there is one internet connection that happens automatically -- without any user intervention. As of v4.1, XOWA has an auto-update feature. This feature will do the following:

  • Once every 7 days, it will automatically check for updates. This check happens when XOWA starts-up
  • If an update is found, it will pop open a new tab informing the user of a new update
  • The user can then choose to download the update, or ignore it. If ignored, XOWA won't check again for 7 days.

This feature can be disabled under Special:XowaCfg? by unchecking Enabled

Mozilla browser data

The embedded Mozilla browser generates its own history data and stores them in sqlite files in a user's profile directory. This includes names of clicked links (so the browser can highlight them).

On Linux, the folder would be /home/your_user_name/.mozilla/eclipse
On Windows XP, the folder would be C:\Documents and Settings\your_user_name\Application Data\Mozilla\eclipse
On Windows 7, the folder would be C:\Users\your_user_name\Application Data\Mozilla\eclipse

Note that this functionality is not directly controllable, so there is no way to circumvent it. However, if you want to, you can try either of the following:

  • Mark the .sqlite files in the directory read-only. This will slow down each page-load by 1/2 a second (presumably b/c Mozilla fails when trying to update) but will not save your history data
  • Delete the .sqlite files after XOWA is done. This is not a perfect solution as it still writes the data first to disk.

Application logs

Application logs are enabled by default. They are saved to files in the following directory: /xowa/user/anonymous/app/tmp.

Application logs can be disabled at Options/Security

Page history

Page history is enabled by default. The data is saved to the following file: /xowa/user/anonymous/app/data/history/page_history.csv.

Page history can be disabled at Options/Security

Temporary HTML files

All HTML for pages will be saved to and loaded from a temp directory on disk. The files are saved to the following directory: /xowa/user/anonymous/app/tmp/html. This is done for performance reasons related to SWT / XULRunner. See Options/Security

HTML can be changed to load directly from memory at Options/Security


Bookmarks are enabled by default. Note that no data is ever written automatically to the Bookmarks page, so one can simply not use the add feature.

If you wish to disable the feature completely (to prevent accidental clicks), then you can disable it at Options/Security

File download

File download is disabled by default. All files are downloaded to the following directory: /xowa/file.

If you've enabled it, you can disable it at Options/Files

Math images (LaTEX only)

Math images use MathJax by default, which does not generate temporary files.

If you choose to use LaTEX then temporary files will be generated. All files are created in the following directory: /xowa/file/name_of_wiki/math.

You can always disable LaTEX again at Options/Math

Content applications

Content applications are enabled by default. These applications may or may not generate their own temp files.

These third-party viewer applications can be disabled at Options/Apps by setting all values to blank.



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