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What is the equivalent to the Windows “Program Files” folder?

I have VLC media player as a .deb file which I installed successfully. However I do not know where the installation file is located. On windows all files are placed in Program Files, so I am a bit confused. My main question is: can I change the file location or can I know the location where the file has been installed?

  • In ubuntu everything is organized in smaller bits rather than Program Files.VLC is located at the Sound & Video Category.But if you want to take a look at it's code,you should look at /usr/bin which is where most files are been installed.
    – dlin
    Jul 9 '12 at 18:55

From a terminal window, type whereis vlc and it will tell you where it's installed.

On my machine, I get this:

vlc: /usr/bin/vlc /etc/vlc /usr/lib/vlc /usr/bin/X11/vlc /usr/share/vlc /usr/share/man/man1/vlc.1.gz

Most programs are stored in /usr/bin and I'm sure there's a way to move them but I've never had a reason to.


It's best not to mess with where the package manager puts files ; it relies on knowing where it put things in order to be able to upgrade.

Linux distributions typically use some variant of the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, which defines where most files should be put. Most .deb packages in the archives adhere to this standard.

On the one hand, this makes installing packaged software easier - it doesn't ask you where you want to install it. On the other hand, it can make it more mysterious. The typical .deb package will place files in multiple folders.

Despite not controlling where I install packages (for the most part ; I install packages which are manual downloads into /opt), it's not something I concern myself with on a daily basis. I just trust that things are going to be installed in the right place, and so far, I seem to be right :-)

If you want to see exactly what files a package has installed and where, Synaptic (the advanced GUI package manager, not installed by default) will show you, after you've installed the package. Or browse the package on http://packages.ubuntu.com , or open the package in the Archive Manager.

  • +1 for detailed info. While a one-line answer could be satisfying, your explains how things work, which is educational ;-) Jul 9 '12 at 19:43

The preferable method of installing software in Ubuntu is the Software Center, or the command apt-get. VLC is available through those methods.

See this question: How do I install software using the Ubuntu Software Center?

The Ubuntu Community Documentation has an article about this.

Also this article mentions some points of confusion for users coming from a Windows background.

  • Thanks Takkat && marios, i refer all the stuff of link How do I install software using the Ubuntu Software Center? but if i want to change a path of installation directory then is it possible? And [link]psychocats.net/ubuntu/installingsoftware is Good one!!! Thanks
    – JK Patel
    Jul 9 '12 at 19:08
  • If you install something by compiling its source code, then it is possible to specify the installation directory by passing parameters to configure, prior to make. If you install by a package manager, like the Software Center or apt-get, then you need to resort to relatively ugly stuff, for which you would need to have a very good reason. Jul 9 '12 at 19:13

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