This document belongs to Manual Full System Encryption (with Extras).

1. What is the CLI?

The CLI, or Command Line Interface is also called the terminal. (Sometimes, it's called the console, but that has a restricted meaning outside these instructions.)

The CLI is roughly analogous in Windows to the PowerShell, the Command Prompt or the DOS window — but it's much more powerful.

It is a text-based screen where you can enter commands (type a command and press the Enter key) to the computer.

In these instructions, you will enter only simple commands in the terminal, and you can copy-and-paste to prevent mistyping.

2. Why use the terminal?

Good question!

People coming from Windows often feel that the GUI (graphical user interface, or windowed programs) is easier.

When doing technical work like installation, everything here can be done through the GUI. However, not only is it painfully slow and tedious to use the GUI for this sort of work, but also it is hugely difficult me to document and for you to follow! A single command often takes the place of several screens' worth of GUI work.

Therefore, there will be a few terminal commands in the instructions, but not many.

If you're a newcomer, don't worry: commands might seem a bit scary at first, but you'll quickly find out how easy they are.

3. How do I use the terminal?

In summary:

  • Press Ctrl+Alt+T to open a terminal.

    • If you prefer, you can instead open the Dash (press the Super key, also known on most keyboards as the Windows key), type the word "terminal", and select the Terminal icon to open the terminal.

      In some systems, e.g. Linux Mint, Ctrl+Alt+T doesn't work, in which case use the menu to find the terminal.

  • When these instructions give you a command, type the command — or, better, copy-and-paste the command to prevent mistyping. After checking that you have typed or copied it correctly, press Enter.

  • To close a terminal when finished, you can press the usual x at the top of the window to close it.

If you're interested, you can read a more comprehensive answer to this question, and practice a little.

When entering a command, it may be easier to use the mouse to cut-and-paste. Don't use Ctrl+C or Ctrl+V in the terminal, because they mean something different in the terminal!


What if I press Ctrl+C by mistake in the terminal when I'm trying to copy?


Ctrl+C simply cancels your command, so you have to start typing it again.


What if I press Ctrl+V by mistake in the terminal when I'm trying to paste?


Ctrl+V takes the next keypress, whatever it is (even the Enter key), and puts it into the command line. Simply use Backspace to rub it out; you might have to press Backspace more than once, depending on what you've pressed.

If you prefer keyboard shortcuts in the terminal, you can use Ctrl+Shift+C for copy, and Ctrl+Shift+V for paste.

4. A bit about the commands

Commands will be presented to you similar to this:

sudo lvscan
  • You should enter the command exactly as shown, unless told otherwise.
  • Commands are case-sensitive. So, sudo, Sudo and SUDO are three different commands.

  • A hash sign, and anything after the hash sign, is solely for your information, and is not intended to be entered into the terminal. In addition, a blank line is also ignored. Thus, the following three lines are in fact identical to just the previous single line.

# This command will show the current LVM setup.

sudo lvscan     # Needs root permissions.

In summary:

  • Watch uppercase and lowercase.
  • Ignore blank lines in commands.
  • Ignore the hash sign and anything after it (they are there only to help explain things).

ManualFullSystemEncryption/BasicsCommandLineInterface (last edited 2018-08-21 14:35:35 by paddy-landau)