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Basic command reference for UNIX/Linux

Linux/UNIX command Description MS-DOS equivalent
./foo start foo (allocated in current dir.) foo
­ / ¯ previous / next command doskey
cd x (or cd /x) go to directory x cd
cd .. (or cd ../ or cd /..) go down one directory cd..
x then [tab] <beep> [tab] view all commands starting with x -
adduser add a user to the system /
ls (or dir) list a directory dir
cat view a textfile on the terminal type
mv x y move or rename file x to file y move
cp x y copy file x to file y copy
rm x delete a file del
mkdir x make a directory md
rmdir x remove a directory rd
rm -r x remove directory x and all its underlying files deltree
rm p remove a package -
df (or df x) Show free space on device x chkdsk ?
top view memory status (q to quit) mem
man x get a manual page about command x /
less x view text file x (note that the more filter works under Linux too!) type x |more
echo print something on the screen echo
mc Norton Commander for UNIX nc
mount to couple a device (e.g. CD-ROM, umount to uncouple) -
halt to shutdown -
reboot ([ctrl] + [alt] + [del]) to restart [ctrl] + [alt] + [del]

Advanced commands

chmod <permissions> <file> Change file permissions
ls -l x Perform a detailed directory listing for file x
ln -s x y Make a symbolic link from x to y
find x -name y -print find file y, begin the search from within directory x and print the results to the screen
ps to view all running processes
kill x to terminate process x (x is PID from ps)
[alt] + F1 - F7 switch to terminal 1 - 7 (in text terminal; F7 = X-Windows (when started))
lilo to make a boot disk


symlink Symbolic link to another file or directory. Like Win95's shortcuts
shell script Like MS-DOS's batchfiles; perform a series of commands after another.


startx to start X-windows
[ctrl] + [alt] + [backsp] to quit X during trouble
[ctrl] + [alt] + F1 - F6 to switch to text terminal 1 - 6 (in X-windows)
xf86Config most primitive setup/configurator for x (in text terminal)
Xconfigurator another configurator for X in text terminal
xf86Setup an X-Windows configurator for X
configX to configure Metro-X server
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