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Moving around the filesystem

From: Unix for Mac OS X Users

Video: Moving around the filesystem

Over the last couple of movies we saw how we can use pwd to see our present working directory and ls either with or without options to see the files and folders that are in the present working directory. Now I want us to talk about how we can move around and change our working directory and to do that we use the cd command. So cd followed by the name of the directory that we want to change into. So for example library. Now our present working directory is changed. We are now inside the library. It's the same thing as if we go over here and we double-click on library.

Moving around the filesystem

Over the last couple of movies we saw how we can use pwd to see our present working directory and ls either with or without options to see the files and folders that are in the present working directory. Now I want us to talk about how we can move around and change our working directory and to do that we use the cd command. So cd followed by the name of the directory that we want to change into. So for example library. Now our present working directory is changed. We are now inside the library. It's the same thing as if we go over here and we double-click on library.

Now we have changed into the library. We can also hit the back arrow and change back. Here, do the same thing from the command line. We would type cd space and then dot, dot. Remember that I told you that I told you that dot, dot when we are seeing this listing is special file name. That references the parent of the current directory. dot is the current directory. dot, dot is the parent of this directory. You can see here that it actually says d in front of that. It treats it just like a directory and we can change into it. So it says, "I don't know what the name of the parent is, I don't care, I want to go backwards one." It's the same as hitting that back arrow.

So now we are back our back in original directory. We also saw that these are file separators, the forward slash. We can use those to be able to move several directories at once. So cd Library/preferences will move us into the preferences folder. Now our pwd is into the library preferences, we moved two directories at once. It's very important that they start with library and not a slash in front of it. Not like this and I will explain that in a moment. We can also go backwards the same way cd../..

Go to the parent of this directory and then to the parent of that directory. So we've now moved back two directories after we went in two directories. I also want to talk about a shortcut which is for auto completing file names. So if we say cd space and then just type an L and then hit the Tab key, you can see that it says, "Oh, I looked at the list of available files and folders in the current working directory and from that the only one I saw that starts with an L is Library, so that's probably what you mean" and it went ahead and filled it out for us. If it can't guess it, let's say we start typing Pref and then we hit Tab, it says Preference. Well actually no, we are looking for Preferences.

It didn't put the full name. Hit Tab a second time and it comes up and says "Oh, I am trying to decide between Preference panes and Preferences, those are the two that I can't distinguish," so got to give me a little more to go on. So it finishes as much as it can and then it stops and waits for you to do it. So library preference on its own, if I hit Return, it says no such file or directory. Preferences that directory does exist. So I just want to make sure that you see how auto complete works, because that's a really helpful thing when you are moving around to be able to start typing a name and hit Tab and have it finish the rest of the directory or file name for you.

Now I mentioned earlier that you did not want to put this beginning slash in front of it. That's because whenever something has a beginning slash it's an absolute path. That root cd/ that represents the very beginning of our hard drive. That's the root of the hard drive. cd/, now we are through to our hard drive. If we do cd users and then Kevin, we move forward back into users in Kevin. That's a relative path, relative from the root where we were, move into users and then into Kevin, but cd/users/kevin, that is an absolutely path that says "All right, I am going to give you the full path." So the one without the slash is starting with the working directory, I am going to give you the path, the one with the slash says, "I am going to give you the entire path starting from the root of the hard drive." You are not going to use anything relative to where you are now. It doesn't matter where you are. This path is the same if I am inside preferences or if I am inside library. cd /user/ Kevin is the same directory.

That user home directory we keep moving into, right. We are going to do that a lot. That's our directory that's where lot of our files and folders are located. So there is actually a shortcut for it, cd, and then the twiddle or the Tilde key and that will take us into our user directory. So if I move into the preferences and then cd back, it takes me back to my user directory. There is one other thing that's good to know which is cd space and then just dash takes you back to the last directory where you were.

So it just toggles between the current directory and the most recent directory. So cd- now I am back in my Preferences folder. cd- again now I am back in my users folder. So that's helpful if you need to just move between two directories. You want to switch to a directory, do a few things, and then switch back to where you were. That can be a really helpful tool. Now if you do any other cds while you are in there, then suddenly your directory will change and you won't be able to get back to where you were anymore, but if you just need to toggle between two, that cd- can be really helpful.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Unix for Mac OS X Users
Unix for Mac OS X Users

82 video lessons · 25577 viewers

Kevin Skoglund
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 57s
    1. Introduction
      1m 14s
    2. Using the exercise files
      2m 43s
  2. 32m 2s
    1. What is Unix?
      7m 27s
    2. The terminal application
      4m 23s
    3. Logging in and using the command prompt
      5m 19s
    4. Command structure
      5m 22s
    5. Kernel and shells
      5m 25s
    6. Unix manual pages
      4m 6s
  3. 15m 58s
    1. The working directory
      2m 49s
    2. Listing files and directories
      3m 59s
    3. Moving around the filesystem
      4m 58s
    4. Filesystem organization
      4m 12s
  4. 1h 4m
    1. Naming files
      5m 41s
    2. Creating files
      2m 19s
    3. Unix text editors
      6m 39s
    4. Reading files
      5m 35s
    5. Reading portions of files
      3m 27s
    6. Creating directories
      2m 40s
    7. Moving and renaming files and directories
      8m 32s
    8. Copying files and directories
      3m 7s
    9. Deleting files and directories
      3m 38s
    10. Finder aliases in Unix
      4m 10s
    11. Hard links
      5m 30s
    12. Symbolic links
      6m 36s
    13. Searching for files and directories
      6m 32s
  5. 34m 58s
    1. Who am I?
      4m 3s
    2. Unix groups
      1m 52s
    3. File and directory ownership
      6m 41s
    4. File and directory permissions
      4m 27s
    5. Setting permissions using alpha notation
      6m 49s
    6. Setting permissions using octal notation
      3m 49s
    7. The root user
      1m 57s
    8. sudo and sudoers
      5m 20s
  6. 52m 34s
    1. Command basics
      4m 4s
    2. The PATH variable
      4m 13s
    3. System information commands
      3m 40s
    4. Disk information commands
      6m 8s
    5. Viewing processes
      5m 0s
    6. Monitoring processes
      3m 36s
    7. Stopping processes
      3m 19s
    8. Text file helpers
      6m 50s
    9. Utility programs
      7m 28s
    10. Using the command history
      8m 16s
  7. 20m 39s
    1. Standard input and standard output
      1m 24s
    2. Directing output to a file
      4m 13s
    3. Appending to a file
      2m 44s
    4. Directing input from a file
      5m 28s
    5. Piping output to input
      4m 40s
    6. Suppressing output
      2m 10s
  8. 41m 28s
    1. Profile, login, and resource files
      9m 11s
    2. Setting command aliases
      6m 59s
    3. Setting and exporting environment variables
      4m 54s
    4. Setting the PATH variable
      6m 10s
    5. Configuring history with variables
      6m 17s
    6. Customizing the command prompt
      6m 5s
    7. Logout file
      1m 52s
  9. 1h 25m
    1. grep: Searching for matching expressions
      5m 21s
    2. grep: Multiple files, other input
      4m 28s
    3. grep: Coloring matched text
      2m 57s
    4. Introduction to regular expressions
      3m 22s
    5. Regular expressions: Basic syntax
      3m 19s
    6. Using regular expressions with grep
      5m 20s
    7. tr: Translating characters
      8m 17s
    8. tr: Deleting and squeezing characters
      5m 30s
    9. sed: Stream editor
      7m 45s
    10. sed: Regular expressions and back-references
      7m 8s
    11. cut: Cutting select text portions
      7m 42s
    12. diff: Comparing files
      4m 35s
    13. diff: Alternative formats
      4m 30s
    14. xargs: Passing argument lists to commands
      7m 25s
    15. xargs: Usage examples
      7m 59s
  10. 42m 25s
    1. Finder integration
      4m 45s
    2. Clipboard integration
      5m 5s
    3. Screen capture
      3m 42s
    4. Shut down, reboot, and sleep
      3m 34s
    5. Text to speech
      2m 36s
    6. Spotlight integration: Searching metadata
      3m 41s
    7. Spotlight integration: Metadata attributes
      4m 24s
    8. Using AppleScript
      5m 23s
    9. System configurations: Viewing and setting
      5m 51s
    10. System configurations: Examples
      3m 24s
  11. 1m 26s
    1. Conclusion
      1m 26s

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