Vanilla Emacs splash screen at startup

You’ve followed Doom’s installation guide then proceed to launch Emacs, when you are presented with plain ol’ vanilla Emacs:

What gives?

The most common cause for this is that Emacs is loading the wrong config. Emacs looks for init-files in these places (and in the listed order):

  • ~/.emacs.el
  • ~/.emacs
  • ~/.emacs.d/init.el
  • ~/.config/emacs/init.el

Once one is found, Emacs will ignore the rest. If none are found, you will see this vanilla Emacs splash screen anyway.

Make sure none of the above files (or their parent directories) exist before cloning doomemacs/doomemacs.

If this doesn’t explain or address your issue, run ~/.emacs.d/bin/doom doctor. It can detect a variety of common issues and may give you more clues.