Computing Science

Your rcfiles (Home Directory Configuration)

What are rcfiles?

There are several files in your home directory that specify configuration settings for your login sessions. At login time, during a session, and at logout, those files set up your environment and specify actions to be taken. They are normally referred to as rcfiles, and are hidden (their names start with a '.' character).

Modifying rcfiles

You can modify your rcfiles and reconfigure your environment in any way you like, as long as you still comply with the Undergraduate Conditions of Use. You must, however, keep in mind that the Help Desk does not support modified rcfiles.

Support for rcfiles

We provide a default set of rcfiles, which the Help Desk does support. Occasionally, we modify and enhance those files, especially following some reconfigurations or upgrades.

If you modifed your rcfiles, it is your responsibility to obtain the most up-to-date rcfiles.

Where are the default rcfiles located?

The default rcfiles are located in:


You can copy any of those files to your home directory, changing their names appropriately. You can also use a script that is able to do all that, as well as make backups of your existing rcfiles, for you automatically. The command to execute the script is:

/usr/local/bin/copyrcfiles -u CSID /cshome/CSID

Help for rcfiles

Source file name Target file name Function
Bash_logout .bash_logout Commands to execute when logging out from bash.
Bash_profile .bash_profile Bash personal initialization file, executed for login shells.
Bashrc .bashrc Bash individual per-interactive-shell startup file.
Cshrc .cshrc Csh individual per-interactive-shell startup file.
Fvwm2rc .fvwm2rc Initialization configuration (such as mouse and button bindings, colors, size of the virtual display, etc.) for the F(?) Virtual Window Manager (version 2).
Login .login Csh personal initialization file, executed for login shells.
Logout .logout Commands to execute when logging out from csh.
Xinitrc .xinitrc Default initialization client script for xinit, invoked at the startup of an X Windows session.
Xresources .Xresources Specifies additional or overrid display resources for the X Windows.
Xsession .xsession Starts up an X Windows session.