Getting to Know Ubuntu File System Structure

Unlike Windows, Ubuntu doesn’t have its drives labeled as C, D, E and so on. There are no drive letters on Ubuntu file systems you’ll find on Windows computers. Ubuntu has folders instead of drive letters.

In Ubuntu, all folders start or begin in the root folder or directory. The root folder or directory is just a slash  /.

For example, to reach the documents folder inside of the private folder on Ubuntu, you’ll start with /private/documents.

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how Ubuntu file system is structure and how Ubuntu is different from Windows when it comes to file systems structure.

On Windows Vista and up, users with accounts on the machine can access their folders in the C:\Users\ directory. Ubuntu on the other hand has its users folder stored in /home.

The /home directory isn’t owned by anyone.. but a location for users home folders. Like C:\Users directory on Windows to store Windows users profiles, Ubuntu uses /home to store its users profiles as well.

Also, on Windows systems, when you insert a disc into the CD/DVD drive, it will usually mount on the next available drive letter… Usually the D or E drive. Same with inserting a USB flash drive into the computer.

On Ubuntu desktops, when you insert a disc, it mounts in disc inside of the /media folder with your username. Example.. /media/<username>/

That’s where you’ll find the content of the disc. This is also true with inserting a USB thumb drives.

Ubuntu has other directories, like /tmp which contains temporary files that are mostly generated automatically.. these files and folders in the /tmp directory will automatically be deleted when the computer reboots.

Folders that you never ever want to mess with are /etc/, /sbin/, /bin/, /sys/, /proc/, /dev/ and /boot/

If you’re new to Ubuntu or just started using it, you’ll want to refrain from making changes or deleting the above directories.

Others directories like /opt/ and /mnt/ are not necessarily dangerous. However, they should be left alone. The /opt/ directory is mostly used to install custom packages and software…. the /mnt/ directory is sometimes used to mount partitions as well.

Again, these are directories that are created when you installed Ubuntu..

Almost everything you do will be done in your home directory on Ubuntu.. which is at /home/<username>/

Remember, no Cs, Ds, or drive letters in Ubuntu.. just folders.. and all folders begin with the slash /

This is a brief overview of Ubuntu file systems.

ubuntu file system


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