I am new to Ubuntu (or any Linux distro) and I encountered a problem where I cannot cd into etc/profile. I was trying to edit the bashrc so that I could change the colours in my terminal window.

I tried to ls inside the /etc/ file, and I see that there is a profile file there; but I can't enter it.

  • 3
    /etc/profile is not a directory, it is a file. There's an /etc/profile.d directory, though.
    – muru
    Apr 16, 2016 at 18:44

2 Answers 2


The reason why this fails is because /etc/profile is not a directory (unless you meant /etc/profile.d, but I don't think you did)

Instead use gedit ~/.profile
If you want to edit .bashrc: gedit .bashrc


By default /etc/profile is not a folder but a file so you can't cd into it.

The global bashrc file is /etc/bash.bashrc

  • I found the bash.bashrc file, but when I get down to the part where I am supposed to modify the colours, I see this: # set a fancy prompt (non-color, overwrite the one in /etc/profile) PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\u@\h:\w\$ ' Apr 16, 2016 at 18:49
  • 1
    @gloriousCatnip if you want to modify colours, do that in your own ~/.bashrc, not the system-wide /etc/bash.bashrc.
    – muru
    Apr 16, 2016 at 18:51
  • I nano'ed into ~/.bashrc, but it seems to be a copy of the aforementioned file. Apr 16, 2016 at 18:53
  • @gloriousCatnip you'll see similarities, but they shouldn't be the same.
    – muru
    Apr 16, 2016 at 18:54
  • Hmm, nope. I can't find any settings regarding colour change. I followed a tutorial saying I should change the line proceeding this: if [ "$color_prompt" = yes ]; then But there are no such lines in my bashrc, are there any way to reset it to its original content? Apr 16, 2016 at 19:48

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