Change prompt and enable command auto-completion [updated]

I really like some simple extensions and changes to command line in Linux. An ability to enable command auto-complete, commands history navigation and changing prompts look in particular.

However, not every console is suited with these changes, so I wrote this simple article to keep all my how-tos around Linux command line in one place.

Windows: Change prompt (Git Bash)

In Git for Windows (Git Bash) changing prompt is much, much easier than for Linux (described below).

All you have to do (After Git for Windows installation) is to create a new .bashrc file in your home directory (i.e. c:\Users\[username] (because it most like does not exist) and put there:

PS1='[$PWD] # '

or any other prompt format (see below and in enormous number of sources in the Internet).

When running Git Bash for the first time after saving this file you will see a warning message about missing .bash_profile file. It will be created for you and starting from this moment you’ll have your prompt in Git Bash changed permanently.

Linux: Change prompt

In this example, we’ll be changing prompt to show current path closed in square brackets, followed by # symbol. For example [/root] #. Bash configuration string for this is '[$PWD] # '. Feel free to change it to anything you want.

First check, if it is OK, by changing prompt for this session only

export PS1='[$PWD] # '

If everything is correct, make these changes permanent. Edit your .bashrc file in nano, mcedit (if you have Midnight Commander installed) or any editor of your choice. mcedit seems to be more flexible and convinient to use, but nano offers copy&paste operations just like in pure terminal, by selecting text and clicking window with right mouse button. So:

nano .bashrc

Locate (for example Ctrl+W in nano or F7 in mcedit) any occurence of PS1=. Comment-out that line, by adding # in front of it. Then enter new line below and add:

PS1='[$PWD] # '

In default or standard Bash configuration file, you should do this change three times. Twice in if [ "$color_prompt" = yes ]; then section and once in # If this is an xterm set the title to user@host:dir section.

That is all. Save .bashrc file by pressing Ctrl + O, logoff and login again to see the results.

If you need more details, then take a look at this answer or to this post.

Linux: Change shell (enable paths auto-complete)

To have paths auto-complete (write first few letters and press Tab) or possibility to navigate commands history using up and down arrows, simply change your shell from current to bash:

chsh -s /bin/bash

This is permanent, but will be available starting from next session. Logout and login again.

More info in this answer.

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