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How to access your Windows directories containing spaces, from a Linux live CD (and why you might want to)

Updated on September 16, 2014

What is Linux?

Basically, Linux is a free operating system which can be run on a PC, instead of - for example - Windows. There are many versions which can be downloaded and installed on your computer.

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

What is a Linux live CD?

A Linux live CD contains a fully functioning Linux operating system on a bootable CD. Similar systems are available which boot from a USB flash drive (see some of my other hubs for a multiboot Windows and Linux USB drive) or DVD.

Once up and running, the many tools they contain can be run directly, and you can also access your Windows hard drive. As your Windows hard drive will most likely have folder names conatining spaces though, such as "documents and settings", Linux may not be happy!

Why would you want to use one?

Imagine if your hard drive failed, and all your photos or important data were on it. With a Linux live CD, you could possibly boot your computer with it, then copy your files on to another hard drive or memory stick. Many of these Linux systems also contain utilities which you could maybe use to repair a corrupted hard drive. There is much information about how to do that on the internet. However, some of the information is a bit hard to track down - hence the title of this hub, and the reason for me writing it!

Accessing the Windows directories containing spaces

Fortunately, the remedy is simple - just use quotes around the name!

For example, to make the Windows "Documents and Settings" directory your current directory, simply make the drive your current drive, then from the prompt type

>cd /"Documents and Settings"

and to list the contents of the Windows directory "Program Files" type

>ls /"Program Files"

Remember to use the speech marks!

A Linux live CD, DVD or USB drive allows you to try out other operating systems without installing them on your hard drive.
A Linux live CD, DVD or USB drive allows you to try out other operating systems without installing them on your hard drive.

Creating a Linux live CD, DVD or USB stick is quite straightforward, and if you haven't tried it, it might be simpler than you think. There are many excellent guides available on the internet, and the software you need (including the Linux operating system/s) is free!


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      Mark 1 2 years ago from UK

      Thank you Bob, that's much appreciated :-)

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      Bob 3 years ago

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