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-   -   how do i "see" the contents of my hard drive? (

rdandrea 12-23-2014 09:28 AM

how do i "see" the contents of my hard drive?
Hey all, I am a complete newbie to Linux Ubuntu, but i was adept with all windows platforms. My question is; how do i open up my hard drive to see everything loaded on it and be able to move items around, delete as needed, check mem usage etc. With windows all i needed to do was click on "my computer" and up popped both my drives and/or flash drive etc. by clicking on any installed media i could access the contents. can i do that with Ubuntu? or is there software i can use to do so? thanks in advance.
rick d

vmccord 12-23-2014 09:42 AM

If you have a GUI installed, it likely came with a file browser which does everything Windows Explorer does. On the other hand, this is an excellent opportunity to delve into the command line. The first two commands to learn are cd and ls. cd stands for change directory and is what moves you around. ls stands for list and lists everything in the current directory. Google both of those for more information. To open a command line terminal look for an Icon that says Terminal or else in your GUI menu options.

veerain 12-23-2014 09:55 AM

Which linux distro you are using?

If in GUI trying clicking each Icon and see what it opens. Also find programs in launch menu (Start Menu).

rdandrea 12-23-2014 09:59 AM

I'm using Ubuntu, that is a GUI, correct? Not sure but is it also a distro? Like I said a Complete!! newbie! thanks for getting back so quick! Going through all the tutorials, forum threads etc. A Very large learning curve here. I had assumed it would be more intuitive.

rdandrea 12-23-2014 10:01 AM

BTW, this is installed on a spare laptop so nothing too imperative. just wanted to try something different and Microsoft pissed me off recently.

Soadyheid 12-23-2014 10:42 AM


I had assumed it would be more intuitive
Funny that. I find it pretty intuitive. I used to like Macs back in the Mac Classic days (I've still got a Mac Colour Classic with a 9" screen) Now THEY were intuitive, I had a heck of a job with Windows where everything is hidden a million menus down. The new breed of Macs look pretty good as well but too expensive! As I've had to use XP and Windows 7 at work I've LEARNED where most stuff is that I need.
Linux, (Ubuntu is a distribution of Linux and associated applications) has a learning curve as well, though if you expect it to work like Windows... Hmmm... Maybe not quite the same, check this out.

The "GUI" is the desktop manager which in Ubuntu is currently Unity, which I find painful, but there are loads of others if you don't like it; Gnome, KDE, XFE, Cinnamon and Mate are used in Linux Mint which is an Ubuntu derivative. Windows tend to have a take-it-or-leave-it desktop manager (more a take it or, er.. that's it, desktop manager!)

So to start, all you need to do is point-and-click which is probably how you learned Windows! :)

Play Bonny!


rdandrea 12-23-2014 10:56 AM

thats kind of funny, the first time i ever used a Mac it took me 20 minutes to figure out how to turn the damn thing on!!intuition does not dictate the switch is on the back!! anyway does Unity come with a file manager or do i have to download it?

DavidMcCann 12-23-2014 10:57 AM

Ubuntu's Unity desktop is not very intuitive if you are used to Windows! Or any other GUI, for that matter. Basically, you have two options:
1. Grit your teeth and keep going.
2. Decide that Unity is not for you and move.

There are lots of different user interfaces, and each is best experienced from a distro which specialises in it. If you don't like Unity, then start over with Linux Mint. That comes with either Cinnamon (fancy) or Mate (plain): both will have a panel with a start button on it! And try right-clicking on the panel, choose to add an applet, and add the pager. Once you get used to workspaces (see Wikipedia) you'll wonder how you did without them in Windows.

If you want to see what different interfaces look like

As for using the command line — it's very useful at times, but if you've got a GUI, why not use it. A lot of the people here are hobbyist types who tend to be used to the CLI. I'm old enough to remember when there were no GUIs, but I wouldn't want to go back to those days.

Miati 12-23-2014 11:00 AM


how do i open up my hard drive to see everything loaded on it and be able to move items around, delete as needed, check mem usage etc.
If you are completely new and adept at windows, you are going to have a more difficult time adjusting. Using your windows knowledge to help you in linux will not help you.
Believe me, linux is a rough adjustment coming from a lifetime of windows, It is however, worth it. So for starters, use linux wih a open mind, like you have minimally used a computer before.

I haven't used Ubuntu for awhile (Linux Mint now) but from the top:


how do i open up my hard drive...
Open up your file manager, there should be a folder icon somewhere, this will open up your home directory. As a reference, you are likely using nautilus Your home directory is located at /home/$USER with user == your username. It is also referenced by ~/. This will let you browse all personal files. Other files are located up in the hierarchy. To examine what everything is for, check out this link:
You will only be able to modify items in /tmp and ~/ unless acting as root or sudo (temporary root). This means it is more difficult to change anything. It also is a security feature which helps make linux secure.


Check mem usage
You can check memory usage (I believe) by hitting ctrl+alt+backspace. I'm not sure on that one. go into the menu and search system-monitor. I'm fairly sure that is the one installed.

Try reading through this as well, I found it to be a nice overview of going to linux from windows, especially Problem 5 about intuitiveness. (although as a distro, ubuntu does not wildly conform to this)

yancek 12-23-2014 12:13 PM

If you have a standard Ubuntu install, there is a panel of icons on the left of the screen. Mouse over them to find out what they are. The top one is usually an icon of a 'File' cabinet, the file manager. If you put a CD/DVD in the drive, you should see a new icon added to the panel, just click on it to open it. Check out the icons in the panel to explore it.

John VV 12-23-2014 12:23 PM


how do i open up my hard drive to see everything loaded on it
you open up the computer case
take out the drive
open the sealed drive case
( this destroys it, as you have to cut rivets and remove glue )
remove the platters
place the paters one at a time in a Electron Microscope and "look" at it

if you want to navigate in the folders
as like read the Microsoft C:\\ or D:\\ drives
turn on the computer


cd /
change directory the the top folder "/"

rdandrea 12-23-2014 12:32 PM

sorry no "folder" icon. I have a disk,files, Firefox,libreoffice writer,libreoffice calc,libreoffice impress,Ubuntu software center and system settings icons, thats it for icons. at the top left is file edit view go bookmarks and help. to the left is wifi strength,en button, battery meter, volume, time and setting/tools. thats it no command line which i was used to a million years ago running DOS. and all i can tell u is i have Ubuntu ver.14.04 lts. I can't tell u what programs are loaded because i can't see my hdd. if i had a command line i might be able to type in ://c dir and open the drive directory.
Im sure there are people out there still love typing everything in a dos shell. but i for one am very happy someone invented a user interface! To use an analogy from a tutorial i just read there are 3 types of computer users: the type that love to buy a box of lego blocks and build something, on the other end are the users that just want the toy car hence legos isn't for them, and lastly in the middle(i think the majority) who love the blocks and putting a final project together....WITH the instruction booklet! how many sets would lego distribute for free or otherwise without that very handy booklet? to continue that analogy, how many people want to go looking for a kit for a car but couldn't tell what was in the box? so they pick 1 open it up and its a plane. so they grab another one and its a truck. how many times is that user going to open up blank boxes before he says screw it?
I'm not bitching and i have a very open mind about software, computers and systems. I know windows has a lot of limitations!! Maybe I was wrong to think i could open up an OS click a few buttons, get to my files on my drive, type in some commands that are in english and not code, easily access the net, a printer, other network devices. you know, the very basics for a computer. and then access a help file for some more techie questions. i didn't think i needed help to access my damn hard drive!

rdandrea 12-23-2014 12:33 PM

i guess opening up ones mind or eyes means to dissect them huh?

pan64 12-23-2014 12:34 PM

that is the "files" icon I think.
top left corner, the one above firefox

rdandrea 12-23-2014 12:40 PM

when i click on files it shows me..wait for it.. files. not the "contents" of the drive. no program files folder, no temp folder, no systems folder. just pictures, downloads, videos etc

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