Home directory

The user directory is the root directory of directories in which usually the personal data and settings of a computer user are stored. The use of user directories also allows multiuser systems, a separation of data between the different users. During a system update or reinstall the operating system to enable user directories on a separate partition also the easy migration of user files.

The separation of user and system data used in networked computer systems as a protective mechanism. Since the malware is executed with the privileges of the affected user will be banned through the use of user directories is a risk that other files (possibly system files and files of other users) infected or deleted because the user to these files usually no write and delete rights.

Unix-like systems

On Unix-like systems, the user directory contains the user's configuration files (usually hidden, so starting with a dot ), all personal files and local user-installed programs and libraries. The user directory is specified as part of the user's account data (usually in the / etc / passwd file). (Including Linux distributions ) On many systems, it can be found under the path / home / username, where username is the name of the user is. In NeXTSTEP, OPENSTEP and Mac OS X user directories are stored under / Users.

The root user home directory is conventionally / ( root directory). However, on many system also comes / root (Linux, BSD) or / var / root (Mac OS X ) are used.

An additional UNIX naming convention is that ~ can be username as a shortcut for the home directory of the user named username used, regardless of where the user directory is in the file system. This convention was introduced with the C shell and is the reason why many web server display the homepage of a user when a URL http://www.example.org/ the form ~ username is entered in the address bar of a web browser. Another convention allows users to connect their own user directory always abbreviate with ~.

Microsoft Windows

In older systems, the Windows 9x line of the user data in C were: \ Windows \ Profiles \ username stored.

In recent versions of Microsoft Windows, based on the multi-user system in the Windows NT line, each user is assigned a user directory, which by default at C: \ Documents and Settings \ username is stored. Where username represents the user name with which the user logs on. On Windows Vista and Windows 7 the path is C: \ users \ username, where users will be translated in Windows Explorer in the language of the logged in user.


In the Virtual Memory System ( VMS), the user directory is, confusingly root directory. This is not to be confused with the term of the root directory on Unix operating systems, in which the term designates the highest level of a file system. This top level is called in VMS Master File Directory.