Understanding the Linux Home Folder


Whenever you are using the Linux, in whatever distribution you like the most, you have a Home folder. This is an extremely important folder for everything that you do on that machine. Due to the way that Linux segments it’s file system, it’s important to keep track of what is in this home folder. Although it sounds like basic file management and as such can sound boring or repetitive, when things go wrong being aware of where you have saved what, can make all the difference.

First of all the home folder is much like your “My Documents” that you have in Windows. Your basic files that can include pictures, music, video, documents, and downloads will be saved into this folder. For each user on the computer, you will get your own folder that holds your own personal documents. This is important as this segmentation provides you with privacy, but more importantly, your own organizational system.

There is another part of the home folder that many don’t realize. There are actually many folders within this folder that are hidden. This means that the folder starts with a period followed by the name. If you are using Gnome, hit Control+H to see these hidden items. What these are is your settings for various applications on the computer. If you have a certain application with saved states, customized choices, or whatever, it will remain this way because there are files in your hidden folder for that application that keeps those settings.

Backing up your home folder is very important because this is what you really need if you have to reinstall the system or move your settings to a new computer. When you backup, make sure that you backup all these hidden folders as well. Don’t make the mistake and forget about the hidden ones else you will lose all your customized options.

Some advanced Linux users will actually mount the home folder as a separate partition on their drive. Then when they have multiple versions of Linux or other operating systems, they can always rely on that home folder and be writing and reading from it at all times.


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