This question already has an answer here:

I am new to Linux & was running some random commands to experiment in terminal (Ubuntu-18.04 LTS) & by mistake I deleted my home directory.

The command I executed is shown in the screenshot of my history below. It was

rm -r /home/dawn

Now all my files are gone, as well as the default folders such as Pictures, Desktop, Screenshots, etc & my desktop screen has turned dark black.

When I tried to open the files icon, it's giving me an error.

Can anyone help me on this?

command history

unable to find the requested file

marked as duplicate by user535733, karel, Melebius, muru command-line Nov 21 '18 at 13:01

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    Have you check your trash folder so you should be able to access it fromthe terminal using the commands in the following link: askubuntu.com/questions/327943/… – Graham Nov 20 '18 at 15:05
  • try this one !! – abu-ahmed al-khatiri Nov 20 '18 at 15:22
  • 1
    follow the steps outlined here askubuntu.com/a/150673/18025 essentially reboot your machine using the same install medium you used to install ubuntu ( memory stick or DVD) then issue outlined commands – Scott Stensland Nov 20 '18 at 15:26
  • 1
    @Graham if OP deleted $HOME how will they be able to access ~/.local/share/Trash from the linked post? Also OP, I am curious why you would rm -r $HOME? I would suggest using a vm if you are going to experiment with dangerous commands like what you did. That being said there is this cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk – j-money Nov 20 '18 at 17:08
  • Understood........ – Krishnendu Dawn Nov 21 '18 at 23:42
  • If you lost some important data try to recover with 'testdisc'.

  • If no important data is lost and you can boot. Go to settings>Details>Users unlock and add another user with Administrative powers, set password and login again or reboot. Login as new user from there you can delete the previous user.

I wonder why you did it.

  • 1
    how will that recover the files? – Graham Nov 20 '18 at 15:13
  • It was an experiment – Krishnendu Dawn Nov 21 '18 at 23:43

If your account was new (without any important/personal files) just re-create your home:

  1. Log out current user from GUI.
  2. Switch to text console by pressing eg. Ctrl+Alt+F1.
  3. Copy fresh user base files and change its ownership:

    sudo cp -r /etc/skel $HOME
    sudo chown `id -u`.`id -g` $HOME


    sudo mkhomedir_helper $USER
  4. Log user again to GUI, your additional dirs will be recreated (Desktop, Pictures etc. - according to /etc/xdg/user-dirs*).

  • @Zanna there is no $HOME/, it was deleted... – madneon Nov 21 '18 at 10:49
  • You are right haha so just that command should do it I think – Zanna Nov 21 '18 at 10:51

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.