Linux Directory Structure for Dummies | Simple Explanation

Linux directories always looks weird for windows or other OS users. It dosen't have the alphabetical drives like windows to understand at first sight.
But linux has default set of semantic directories . If you understand the real meaning of these directories, Linux OS becomes simple and comfort to use bash commands which is more significant is Linux operating system.


Root - Every single file and directory starts from root directory.


All user binaries are located in bin directory, Binaries for most of the commands sits /bin directory eg: bash, du, df, cp, grep, history


System binaries are located in sbin, eg – ifconfig, fdisk, reboot, iptables


Contains devices files, All hardware files are located here eg: cdrom, usb


This directory contains all the configuration files for user applications and system.


Consists of user directories under user name similar to windows user document directory.


System Libraries


Optional add-on Applications


Boot Loader Files


Variable Files


Mount Directory


Removable Media Devices


Service Data


User Programs or tools

  • /boot/vmlinuz : The Linux Kernel file.
  • /dev/hda : Device file for the first IDE HDD (Hard Disk Drive)
  • /dev/hdc : Device file for the IDE Cdrom, commonly
  • /dev/null : A pseudo device, that don’t exist. Sometime garbage output is redirected to /dev/null, so that it gets lost, forever.
  • /etc/bashrc : Contains system defaults and aliases used by bash shell.
  • /etc/crontab : A shell script to run specified commands on a predefined time Interval.
  • /etc/exports : Information of the file system available on network.
  • /etc/fstab : Information of Disk Drive and their mount point.
  • /etc/group : Information of Security Group.
  • /etc/grub.conf : grub bootloader configuration file.
  • /etc/init.d : Service startup Script.
  • /etc/lilo.conf : lilo bootloader configuration file.
  • /etc/hosts : Information of Ip addresses and corresponding host names.
  • /etc/hosts.allow : List of hosts allowed to access services on the local machine.
  • /etc/host.deny : List of hosts denied to access services on the local machine.
  • /etc/inittab : INIT process and their interaction at various run level.
  • /etc/issue : Allows to edit the pre-login message.
  • /etc/modules.conf : Configuration files for system modules.
  • /etc/motd : motd stands for Message Of The Day, The Message users gets upon login.
  • /etc/mtab : Currently mounted blocks information.
  • /etc/passwd : Contains password of system users in a shadow file, a security implementation.
  • /etc/printcap : Printer Information
  • /etc/profile : Bash shell defaults
  • /etc/profile.d : Application script, executed after login.
  • /etc/rc.d : Information about run level specific script.
  • /etc/rc.d/init.d : Run Level Initialisation Script.
  • /etc/resolv.conf : Domain Name Servers (DNS) being used by System.
  • /etc/securetty : Terminal List, where root login is possible.
  • /etc/skel : Script that populates new user home directory.
  • /etc/termcap : An ASCII file that defines the behaviour of Terminal, console and printers.
  • /etc/X11 : Configuration files of X-window System.
  • /usr/bin : Normal user executable commands.
  • /usr/bin/X11 : Binaries of X windows System.
  • /usr/include : Contains include files used by ‘c‘ program.
  • /usr/share : Shared directories of man files, info files, etc.
  • /usr/lib : Library files which are required during program compilation.
  • /usr/sbin : Commands for Super User, for System Administration.
  • /proc/cpuinfo : CPU Information
  • /proc/filesystems : File-system Information being used currently.
  • /proc/interrupts : Information about the current interrupts being utilised currently.
  • /proc/ioports : Contains all the Input/Output addresses used by devices on the server.
  • /proc/meminfo : Memory Usages Information.
  • /proc/modules : Currently using kernel module.
  • /proc/mount : Mounted File-system Information.
  • /proc/stat : Detailed Statistics of the current System.
  • /proc/swaps : Swap File Information.
  • /version : Linux Version Information.
  • /var/log/lastlog : log of last boot process.
  • /var/log/messages : log of messages produced by syslog daemon at boot.
  • /var/log/wtmp : list login time and duration of each user on the system currently.

*Drop a comment if you have any questions


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