Computing & Communications Center

Basic UNIX Commands

Here are some of the most commonly used UNIX commands at WPI. Italics denote an argument to be supplied by the user.

Working With Directories
mkdir directory make directory
rmdir directory remove directory
cd path change directory
cd .. move up one directory level
pwd displays the path name of the current working directory
Working With Files
ls list files
ls -a list all files (including hidden files)
ls -la list all files and file permissions
chmod filename changing file permissions. More information here
rm filename remove file
cp filename copy file
quota display quota information
more filename display file in window-length sections
Connecting to Computers
ssh hostname use the SSH program to open an encrypted connection to the given host.
lpr print to a line printer (unless PRINTER environment variable is set)
lpr -Pprintername print to a specific printer
lpq -Pprintername check print queue
"Talking" to Others
mesg y setting the current session to receive talk messages
talk splitting the screen to view your text and the receiver's text
Using an Editor
pico access the Pico editor
joe access the JOE editor
emacs access the Emacs editor
vi access the VI editor
The Web
links address opens the specified address in links (text-based browser)
Getting Information
man man explanation of how to use the help files
man command opens the help file for the specified command
| more adding this command at the end of an entry allows you to view one screen at a time
whitepages user returns general information on another WPI user
tele user returns staff or faculty information (department, office location, phone extension)
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Last modified: Jun 21, 2006, 14:03 EDT
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