Linux Guide for newbie : essential shortcuts and sanity commands

The most important or you can say pivot thing in mastering Linux is the commands and shortcuts by terminal. Most of the commands are same as dos but there are many more to explore if you master these commands you will have most of the controls in you hands.

Caption :

<> = single special or function key on the keyboard. For example <Ctrl> indicates the “control” key.
italic = name of the file or variable you probably want to substitute with your own.


Switch to the first text terminal. Under Linux you can have several (6 in standard setup) terminals opened at the same time.

<Ctrl><Alt><Fn> (n=1..6)
Switch to the nth text terminal.

Print the name of the terminal in which you are typing this command.

Switch to the first GUI terminal (if X-windows is running on this terminal).

<Ctrl><Alt><Fn> (n=7..12)
Switch to the nth GUI terminal (if a GUI terminal is running on screen n-1). On default, nothing is running on terminals
8 to 12, but you can run another server there.

(In a text terminal) Autocomplete the command  if there is only one option, or else show all the available options.
THIS SHORTCUT IS GREAT! It even works at LILO prompt!

Scroll and edit the command history. Press <Enter> to execute.

Scroll terminal output up. Work also at the login prompt, so you can scroll through your bootup messages.

Scroll terminal output down.

(in X-windows) Change to the next X-server resolution (if you set up the X-server to more than one resolution). For multiple resolutions on my standard SVGA card/monitor, I have the following line in the file /etc/X11/XF86Config (the first resolution starts on default, the largest determines the size of the “virtual screen”):
Modes "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480" "512x384" "480x300" "400x300" "1152x864"

(in X-windows) Change to the previous X-server resolution.

(in X-windows) Kill the current X-windows server. Use if the X-windows server crushes and cannot be exited normally.

Shut down the system and reboot. This is the normal shutdown command for a user at the text-mode console. Don’t just press the “reset” button for shutdown!

Kill the current process (mostly in the text mode for small applications).

Log out from the current terminal.  See also the next command.

Send [End-of-File] to the current process. Don’t press it twice else you also log out (see the previous command).

Stop the transfer to the terminal.

Resume the transfer to the terminal. Try if your terminal mysteriously stops responding.

Send the current process to the background.

Logout. I can also use logout for the same effect.  (If you have started a second shell, e.g., using bash the second shell will be exited and you will be back in the first shell, not logged out.)

Restore a screwed-up terminal (a terminal showing funny characters) to default setting. Use if you tried to “cat” a binary file. You may not be able to see the command as you type it.

Paste the text which is currently highlighted somewhere else. This is the normal “copy-paste” operation in Linux.  (It doesn’t work with Netscape and WordPerfect which use the MS Windows-style “copy-paste”. It does work in the text terminal if you enabled “gpm” service using “setup”.) Best used with a Linux-ready 3-button mouse (Logitech or similar) or else set “3-mouse button emulation”).

(tilde) My home directory (normally the directory /home/my_login_name). For example, the command cd ~/my_dir will change my working  directory to the subdirectory “my_dir” under my home directory.  Typing just “cd” alone is an equivalent of the command “cd ~”.

(dot) Current directory. For example, ./my_program will attempt to execute the file “my_program” located in your current working directory.

(two dots) Directory parent to the current one. For example, the command cd .. will change my current working directory one one level up.

we will be providing more commands and shortcuts for new linux users so be updated by visiting us again.. and if you have some suggestion or comment so please make use of the comment box below.

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