Changing Directories: cd

In order to move around between directories, you use cd for change directory.

You can give cd relative paths, like so:

Remember that ".." is a shortcut for "the directory above this one". 

You can also use an absolute path, like so:

Remember that / is the root of the filesystem, the top-level directory under which everything else is nested.

The default graphical file manager in Raspbian displays the root directory in a way that's probably familiar from other operating systems:

Double-clicking on a folder icon here is equivalent to typing cd foldername.  Putting a full path in the location bar at the top, like "/home/pi", is equivalent to typing cd /home/pi.

Spend some time looking around the root directory. (There's a lot there, and like the names of commands, it can be pretty cryptic at first. Don't worry if it seems a bit overwhelming; you're just getting the lay of the land.)

Some interesting places:

  • /etc is full of system-wide configuration files
  • /proc and /sys are full of information about running programs and the kernel
  • /var contains things like logfiles that the system writes during the course of operation
  • /dev contains files that map to devices (like drives, network interfaces, and virtual terminals) attached to the system
This guide was first published on Jan 13, 2015. It was last updated on Jan 13, 2015. This page (Changing Directories: cd) was last updated on Jun 25, 2019.