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Simplest (🙏) way to reload an electron app on file changes!
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electron reload

This is (hopefully) the simplest way to load contents of all active BrowserWindows within electron when the source files are changed.

Build Status neutron npm Code Climate Known Vulnerabilities license

Disclaimer: this module is in its very early stages and the logic is still not mature enough.


npm install electron-reload


Just initialize this module with desired glob or file path to watch and let it refresh electron browser windows as targets are changed:

'use strict';

const {app, BrowserWindow} = require('electron');


// Standard stuff
app.on('ready', () {
  let mainWindow = new BrowserWindow({width: 800, height: 600});

  // the rest...

Note that the above code only refreshes WebContents of all BrowserWindows. So if you want to have a hard reset (starting a new electron process) you can just pass the path to the electron executable in the options object. For example if you already have electron pre-built installed you could just do

require('electron-reload')(__dirname, {
  electron: require('electron-prebuilt')

You could also use the (relatively) new electron package, but you should specify the path directly (no require!):

const path = require('path')

require('electron-reload')(__dirname, {
  electron: path.join(__dirname, 'node_modules', '.bin', 'electron')

If your app overrides some of the default quit or close actions (e.g. closing the last app window hides the window instead of quitting the app) then the default electron-reload hard restart could leave you with multiple instances of your app running. In these cases you can change the default hard restart action from app.quit() to app.exit() by specifying the hard reset method in the electron-reload options:

const path = require('path')

require('electron-reload')(__dirname, {
  electron: path.join(__dirname, 'node_modules', '.bin', 'electron'),
  hardResetMethod: 'exit'


electron_reload(paths, options)

  • paths: a file, directory or glob pattern to watch

  • options (optional) containing:

    • chokidar options
    • electron property pointing to electron executables.
    • argv string array with command line options passed to the executed Electron app. Only used when hard resetting.
    • forceHardReset: enables hard reset for every file change and not only the main file

    options will default to {ignored: /node_modules|[\/\\]\./, argv: []}.

Why this module?

Simply put, I was tired and confused by all other available modules which are so complicated* for such an uncomplicated task!

* e.g. start a local HTTP server, publish change events through a WebSocket, etc.!

Even more!

If you want to have least effort when developing electron packages, take a look at neutron!


  • 1.4.1: Fix two minor bugs
    • Wrong globbing when doing hard reset (#58)
    • Issues with locating main file in specific project structures (#57)
  • 1.4.0: Enable hard reset for all changes (and not only the main file)
  • 1.3.0: Allow passing arguments to electron executable upon hard resets
  • 1.2.5: Upgrade dependencies (fix vulnerabilities)
  • 1.2.4: Use index.js as fallback if main is not defined in package.json
  • 1.2.3: Fix multiple instances on restart
  • 1.2.2: Fix browserWindows[] indexing
  • 1.2.1: Remove logging from production code (d'oh)
  • 1.2.0: Allow hard reset in multiple browser windows
  • 1.1.0: Add app.exit() in addition to app.quit() for hard resets
  • 1.0.3: Fix hard reset bug
  • 1.0.2: Detach child so that killing parent doesn't kill it (on windows)
  • 1.0.1: Replace extend with Object.assign
  • 1.0.0: Adapt to Electron 1.0 new API
  • 0.3.0: Use new method of accessing app (e.g. require(electron).app)
  • 0.2.0: Use new electrons (> v0.32.3) browser-window-created event
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