Home directory

Home directory

A Home directory is a file system directory on a multi-user operating system containing files for a given user of the system. The specifics of the home directory (such as its name and location) is defined by the operating system involved; for example, Windows systems between 2000 and 2003 keep home directories in a folder called Documents and Settings.



A user's home directory is intended to contain that user's files; including text documents, music, pictures or videos, etc. It may also include their configuration files of preferred settings for any software they have used there and might have tailored to their liking: web browser bookmarks, favorite desktop wallpaper and themes, passwords to any external services accessed via a given software, etc. The user can install executable software in this directory, but it will only be available to users with permission to this directory. The home directory can be organized further with the use of sub-directories.

The content of a user's home directory is protected by file system permissions, and by default is only accessible to that user and administrators. Any other user that has been granted administrator privileges has authority to access any protected location on the filesystem including other users home directories.

Benefits of Home Directories

Separating user data from system-wide data avoids redundancy and makes backups of important files relatively simple. Furthermore, Trojan horses, viruses and worms running under the user's name and with their privileges will in most cases only be able to alter the files in the user's home directory, and perhaps some files belonging to workgroups the user is a part of, but not actual system files.[citation needed]

Default Home Directory per Operating System

System Path Variable
Microsoft Windows NT <root>\WINNT\Profiles\<username> %UserProfile%
Microsoft Windows 2000, XP and 2003 <root>\Documents and Settings\<username>
Microsoft Windows Vista and 7 <root>\Users\<username>
Unix-Based [1] <root>/home/<username> $HOME and ~/
Unix-Derived /var/users/<username>
SunOS / Solaris ( & Linux (FHS)) /home/<username>
AT&T Unix (original version) <root>/usr/<username> $HOME
Mac OS X /Users/<username> $HOME and ~/, and path to home folder (in AppleScript)

Other Features per Operating System


In Unix, a user will be automatically placed into their home directory upon login. The ~user shorthand variable refers to a user's home directory (allowing the user to navigate to it from anywhere else in the filesystem, or use it in other Unix commands). The ~ (tilde character) shorthand command refers to that particular users home directory.

The Unix superuser has access to all directories on the filesystem, and hence can access home directories of all users. The superuser's home directory on older systems was /, but on many newer systems it is located at /root (Linux, BSD), or /var/root (Mac OS X).


In the VMS operating system, a user's home directory is called the "root directory", and the equivalent of a Unix/DOS/Windows/AmigaOS "root directory" is referred to as the "Master File Directory".[citation needed]

Contrast with Single-user Operating Systems

Single-user operating systems simply have a single directory or partitions for all users files, there is no individual directory setup per user (though users can still setup and maintain directories inside this main working directory manually).

  • AmigaOS versions 2 and up have "System" and "Work" partitions on hard disks by default.
  • BeOS (and its successors) have a /home directory which contain the files belonging to the single user of the system.
  • Versions of Windows prior Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2 did not have a user folder, but since that release, \My Documents became in effect the single user's home directory.
  • NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP in a single user, non-networked setup, /me is used, as well as /root when logged in as superuser.

See also


  1. ^ "Home Directory Definition". Accessed on July 23, 2009

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • home directory —    In Unix, a directory that contains the files for a specific user. The name of your home directory is kept in the password file, and when you log in, your current directory is always set to be your home directory …   Dictionary of networking

  • home directory — pradžios katalogas statusas T sritis informatika apibrėžtis ↑Katalogas, į kurį patenkama pradėjus seansą su sistema. Jeigu sistema bendro naudojimo, tai kiekvienas jos naudotojas patenka į jam skirtą pradžios katalogą, kuris laikytinas jo… …   Enciklopedinis kompiuterijos žodynas

  • home directory — user directory, directory which is accessible to the user and which contains work files …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Home (disambiguation) — A home is a place where a person or a family lives together.Home may also refer to:General usage*Home (nightclub), a nightclub in London *Home (sports), the city or field where a team generally play *Home directory, a directory in computing that… …   Wikipedia

  • Directory (file systems) — In computing, a directory, catalog, folder [ With the introduction of Windows 95, Microsoft started referring to directories as folders. ( [http://www.murach.com/books/csh5/ Murach s C# 2005] , page 34)] or drawer [Name used in AmigaOS… …   Wikipedia

  • Home page — For other uses, see Home page (disambiguation). For Wikipedia s home page, see Main Page. A home page or homepage has various related meanings to do with web sites: It most often refers to the initial or main web page of a web site, sometimes… …   Wikipedia

  • home — ● ►en np. ● 1. ►KEY Nom de la touche qui permet de faire remonter le curseur tout en haut de l écran, sur certains claviers. C est la touche symbolisée ailleurs par une flèche qui pointe en haut à gauche et qui se trouve entre Inser et pgup. ● 2 …   Dictionnaire d'informatique francophone

  • Directory traversal — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Un directory traversal (o path traversal) consiste en explotar una vulnerabilidad informática que ocurre cuando no existe suficiente seguridad en cuanto a la validación de un usuario, permitiéndole acceder a… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Home automation — is the residential extension of building automation . It is automation of the home, housework or household activity. Home automation may include centralized control of lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), appliances, and… …   Wikipedia

  • Home birth — occurs when a woman labors and delivers a child at home, rather than the labor and delivery ward of a hospital or birthing center. Home births are generally attended by a midwife, but are sometimes attended by general practitioners or other… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”