Common Linux Shell commands to start using terminal

Although most of the Linux operating systems are now with easy to user and interactive graphical user interface, the beauty of Linux distros is still with a command-line shell.

It is a most important tool that lets us quickly install and operate various applications without going through multiple windows. Moreover, there are many Linux and server applications that still only works via command console, thus that’s why one should at least familiar with command Shell commands

The Linux commands given in the table of this article are some of that we require in our daily usage. Also, if you are just a beginner to Linux, then you can use the TAB key that helps you in completing commands or showing suggestions.

Just type in the first few characters, then hit the tab key and the rest will be added automatically. This works with file, directory, and program names. The tab key is also very helpful when you want to find out whether a program is already installed on the system. 


Common Linux Commands to start with command line terminal

Syntax Explanation Example
[Command] & You can continue to use the console firefox &
[Command] && [command] Commands are executed one after the other firefox && shutdown -h now
man [program] Displays help for a program man firefox
ctrl + C Cancels the current process in the shell ctrl + C
For Directories & files
cd [directory] Changes to the directory cd / tmp
cd .. Changes one directory higher  –
cd / Changes to the root directory cd /
cd – Changes to the previous directory cd –
cp [file] [directory] Copies file to directory cp 123.txt / tmp
mv Moves a file mv 123.txt / tmp
mv [file1] [file2] renames file [FILE1] to [FILE2] mv 123.txt 456.txt
rm Deletes a file rm /tmp/123.txt; rm / tmp / *
rm -rf delete everything below the directory rm -rf / tmp /
mkdir Creates a directory mkdir / home / test
rmdir Deletes a directory rmdir / home / test
ls Displays folder contents ls / home / test
ls -l Detailed listing ls -l / home / test
ls -la all files in the directory in detail ls -la / home / test
alias ls = ‘ls –color’ Sets colored view alias ls = ‘ls –color’
pwd Displays the current directory pwd
cat [file] Shows the contents of a file cat 123.txt
more [file] Displays the contents of a file page by page more 123.txt
touch [file] Creates an empty file touch 123.txt
whereis [Prog] Looks for program whereis Firefox
find. | grep [FILE] searches for a file in the directory find. | grep 123.txt
grep [KEY] [FILE] Searches for a term in a file grep house 123.txt
locate [FILE] Searches for file in the database locate 123.txt
updatedb Updates the database updatedb
which Shows where a program is located which firefox
For System tasks
arch Processor family arch
cat / proc / filesystems Supported file systems cat / proc / filesystems
cat / proc / cpuinfo Information about the CPU cat / proc / cpuinfo
cat / proc / filesystems All supported file systems cat / proc / filesystems
cat / proc / pci Information about the PCI cards cat / proc / pci
dmesg | grep hd Info about all drives dmesg | grep hd
date date and time date
dmesg Kernel logger: Shows kernel activity dmesg
free Shows usage of the main memory free
glxgears Small graphics test on the performance of the VGA glxgears
glxinfo Information about OpenGL and graphics card glxinfo
kill [PID] Kills process with a specific ID kill 1067
killall [Prog] Kills process with process name killall Firefox
lspci Information about PCI components lspci
shutdown -h now Shuts down the computer shutdown -h now
shutdown -r now Restarts the computer shutdown -r now
Top Shows programs and CPU usage Top
uptime How long has the PC been in operation? uptime
X version Displays version of Xfree X version
For Hard disk
df Show storage space df -h
fdisk Partition hard drive fdisk / dev / hda
mkfs.ext2 Format HDD with ext2 mkfs.ext2 / dev / hda1
mkfs.ext3 Format HDD with ext3 mkfs.ext3 / dev / hda1
mkreiserfs Format HDD with reiserfs mkreiserfs / dev / hda1
sync save buffered data on HDD sync
mount Mounts volumes in the system mount / dev / hda1 / mnt / win
mount -t [filesystem] Mounts with the given file system mount -t ntfs / mnt / win_xp
mount -a Mounts all volumes from / etc / fstab mount -a
mount -r The data carrier can only be read mount -r / mnt / win
mount -w Data carrier can be read and written mount -w / mnt / win
mount -m Mounts without an entry in / etc / mtab mount -n / mnt / win
id Displays username and group id
wer bin ich Shows the currently logged in user wer bin ich
who Who is logged in? who
groupadd [group] Creates a new group groupadd admins
groupdel [group] Deletes a new group groupdel admins
useradd -m [USER] Creates user and home directory useradd -m boss
userdel -r [USER] Deletes user and home directory. useradd -m boss
passwd [USER] Changes the user’s password passwd boss
see below You are now working as root on the console see below
su [USER] You are now working as [USER] on the console su boss
Network related
ifconfig Displays network information ifconfig
iwconfig Shows information about the WLAN iwconfig
ping [computer] Tests connection to a computer ping
Kernel and modules
lsmod Shows loaded modules lsmod
make menuconfig Setting up the kernel cd / usr / src / linux;
make menuconfig
modprobe [module] Loads a module modprobe printer
uname -a Shows the kernel version uname -a
ps aux Shows all running processes and services ps aux
rc update show Shows the services that are loaded at startup rc update show


Submitted by a Guest Author- Sundar Prakash

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