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This probably sounds like a newb question but why is it that sometimes when I edit a file (vim) that after i hit :q or :wq to close it. there is a file of the same name in the directory now with a ~ at the end of it
for example, I closed "file1.conf" by typing :wq in vim
The most common reason (that I have seen) for the tilde (~) at the end of a file is that there was an improper shutdown which left a temp file behind.
Some applications will leave a copy of the original file with a file extension, such as; .bak, .orig, etc.
Since you don't name the distro you are using, and the :wq is a proper shutdown for vim, I suspect that is the backup file (a copy of the original) before you edited the file. If anything goes wrong after your edit, you can easily restore to a working condition by copying the <filename>~ to <filename>.
You should do some research into vim and how to turn off the backup feature if you don't want it.
7.1. When I edit and save files, Vim creates a file with the same name as
the original file and a "~" character at the end. How do I stop Vim
from creating this file? (or) How do I disable the Vim backup file
You have set the 'backup' option, so Vim creates a backup file when saving
the original file. You can stop Vim from creating the backup file, by
clearing the option:
Note that, by default this option is turned off. You have explicitly
enabled the 'backup' option in one of the initialization files. You may
also have to turn off the 'writebackup' option: