When I try to access directories in my home directory, I end up back at the root prompt. Here is a link to a snapshot of what happens:

enter image description here

  • 2
    I think you have provided the wrong snapshot..please check again. – heemayl Feb 8 '15 at 18:14
  • You are right. That is the wrong snapshot. Here is the correct one <i.imgur.com/sEfn6eR.png>. – jdh19 Feb 8 '15 at 18:25
  • Should I be able to do the following: cd /home/john/documents/...? – jdh19 Feb 8 '15 at 18:34
  • No. it is Documents not documents. Mind the capital D. – Rinzwind Feb 8 '15 at 18:49
  • 2
    Newbie gets it now. – jdh19 Feb 8 '15 at 18:51

Lets break it down:

At first i am at the home directory of the logged in user (indicated by ~ sign), the name of the user is someuser. If you do a pwd you will see the full location where you currently at:


Now i want to go back a directory i.e. to the /home directory, as you have typed:

someuser@someuser-home:~$ cd /home
someuser@someuser-home:/home$ pwd

Thats right, i am currently at /home. Now again if i do cd /home/someuser i will go back to where i was previously i.e. /home/someuser:

someuser@someuser-home:/home$ cd /home/someuser
someuser@someuser-home:~$ pwd

If you want to go some other directory that /home/someuser while you are at /home you need to cd into that directory (given you are permitted to do so). You can do ls to find the subdirectories of /home and then choose our desired one.

someuser@someuser-home:/home$ pwd
someuser@someuser-home:/home$ ls -l
drwxr-xr-x  4 dir           dir          4096 Jun 28  2014 dir
drwxr-xr-x  2 someuser      someuser     4096 Jan 10  2014 someuser
someuser@someuser-home:/home$ cd dir
someuser@someuser-home:/home/dir$ pwd


Now in accordance to what you have said in the comment, you want to check what is inside the directory /home/john/documents/linux-unix. To list a directory i.e. to check what is inside a directory you need ls command, not cd. cd will take you to the destination directory but ls will list the files or directories inside that directory. So to list a directory:

`ls /home/john/documents/linux-unix` 

Now as per your Rinzwind's comments i think you are mistaking the case sensitivity of Ubuntu. Ubuntu is case sensitive i.e. Documents and documents are not same. So you can have a directory named Documents and a directory named documents at the same time in you home directory.

someuser@someuser-home:~$ pwd
someuser@someuser-home:~$ ls -l
drwxr-xr-x  2 someuser someuser    4096 Nov 22  2014 documents
drwxr-xr-x  2 someuser someuser    4096 Sep 29  2013 Documents

Normally /home/someuser/Documents is created during installation. So, as your directory linux-unix was inside /home/john/Documents you need to do:

cd /home/john/Documents/linux-unix

or to list the contents:

ls /home/john/Documents/linux-unix
| improve this answer | |
  • I understand that. What I don't understand is why I cannot follow a path in my home directory. Why can't I do this, cd /home/john/documents/linux-unix and see the file in linux-unix? – jdh19 Feb 8 '15 at 18:48
  • You answered my question Rinzwind. – jdh19 Feb 8 '15 at 18:54
  • @Rinzwind: Added and explained the confusing portion. – heemayl Feb 8 '15 at 19:10
  • @jdh19: Check my edits.. – heemayl Feb 8 '15 at 19:17
  • Appreciated it. – jdh19 Feb 8 '15 at 20:20

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