Useful Unix/Linux commands

$ indicates terminal command
# indicates a comment
Bold indicates “not installed by default”
$ lsusb     #list USB devices
$ lspci     #list all PCI devi
$ startx    #initialize an X session
$ more      #filter for paging through text one screenful at a time. (less gives more advanced).
$ less      #opposite of more; allows backward movement in the file as well as forward movement.
$ stty      #change and print terminal line settings
  $ stty size # prints terminal size

File commands

$ locate            #find files by name (for newbies I suggest the gui catfish -requires installation)
$ find              #search for files in a directory hierarchy
$ ls                #list directory contents
$ cd                #change directory
$ pwd               #print name of current/working directory
$ cp                #copy files and directories
$ rm                #remove files or directories
$ rmdir             #remove empty directories
$ file foo.format   #extracts info about file and what software it was written with; helpful in the case of having forgot which software was used to produce such a file

System info

$ uname
$ df                         #report file system disk space usage
                             #e.g; df or df /home
$ man                        #interface to the on-line reference manuals
$ free                       #Display amount of free and used memory in the system
                             #e.g; free -mt (m for MB & t for totals line)
$ uptime                     #tell how long the system has been running.
$ finger                     #user information lookup program
$ w                          #show who is logged on and what they are doing.
$ whoami                     #print effective userid
$ cat /proc/meminfo          #memory info
$ cat /proc/cpuinfo          #cpu info
$ lsb_release -a             #print (a: all ) distribution-specific information
$ last -x | grep shutdown    #show listing of last 10 logged in users; you can pipe this to the tail to read the last n instances.
                             #e.g; for 10 instances: last -x | grep shutdown | tail -n 10
$ last -x | grep reboot      #show listing of last logged in users
$ sudo shutdown -P hh:mm     #shutdown & poweroff (-P) @ hh:mm


$ uname
$ ps               #report a snapshot of the current processes.
$ top              #display Linux tasks
$ htop             #interactive process viewer based on top
$ watch            #execute a program periodically, showing output fullscreen
                   #e.g; watch -n 5 free -m
$ powertop         #program to analyze power consumption on Intel-based laptops
$ kill pid         #send a signal to a process
$ killall proc     #kill processes by name
$ pidof program    #find the process ID of a running program

Some useful terminal shortcuts

Ctrl+C #halt the current command
Ctrl+Z #pause command
$ fg #resume paused command in foreground bg resume paused command in background
Ctrl+D #logout of current session (similar to exit)
Ctrl+W #erase last word before cursor
Ctrl+U #erases the whole line
Ctrl+R #type to bring up a recent command
I hope this list turns out to be useful to you 🙂

Thanks for reading

last update: 2014-11-03

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