New York University Faculty of Arts and Science College of Arts and Science Graduate School of Arts and Science

Commonly Used Unix commands

Working with files and directories:

pwd present working directory - shows you which directory you are currently in
ls a short list of the files in your current directory
ls -a a list of all of the files in the current directory; including the "dot" files (such as ".vacation.msg")
ls -l a more descriptive listing of files; i.e. permissions, sizes, etc.
ls   ~/<directory name> lists the files in a subdirectory
cd   dirname change directory
mkdir   dirname creates a new directory
rmdir   dirname removes an empty directory
cp   file   newfile copy - makes a copy of file to newfile
mv   file   newname rename - renames a file to newname
rm   file remove/delete a file

Using a Floppy Disk

mcd a: This command will mount the contents of your floppy disk onto the directory. After typing this command, you will find a floppy directory under the root directory. The fastest way to get to this directory is to type cd /floppy.
When you are finished, don't forget to type eject so that the operating system can unmount the disk safely!
eject When you are finished with the disk, type this command so that the operating system can safely unmount the floppy directory. You may then retrieve your disk.

Note: These commands are for use at the command line. If you wish, there are GUI commands for using floppies on both CDE and Open Windows. Don't forget to eject when using these interfaces as well.

Printing:

lpr -P<printer name> <file name> print a file to a network printer; e.g. lpr -Pnhp16 abc.ps
lpq -P<printer name> print a list of files (w/their id) waiting to be printed
lprm -P<printer name> remove your job from the queue; you can also enter the job ID after this command to remove a specific job
ls | lpr print a list of files in your directory

Editing and converting files:

pico <filename> this is an editor to work with files
vi <filename> this is an editor to work with files
latex <filename> converts a tex file to a dvi format
xdvi <filename> allows you to view a dvi file
dvips <filename> -o converts a dvi file to a postscript (or "ps") format

Miscellaneous:

CTRL + C use the control key + c to cancel what you are currently doing. It will show up on the screen as ^C
vacation set up vacation messages for your email while you are away
passwd change your password
man This is the on-line Unix help documentation (as in "manual"). Type "man" + the command (e.g. "man ls") for a detailed explanation of the command.

For further information see http://www.nyu.edu/its/howto/unix/