Saturday, November 24, 2012

System Information Tools

system information toolHave you recently purchased a PC? If yes, was it customized? By customized, I mean assembled by a local computer shop, or even just by someone you know who builds and sells computers. If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you may want to double check what is in that machine of yours.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it is likely fine, but mistakes happen and it surely couldn’t hurt to make sure that you got exactly what you paid for. There are several free programs that can help you identify what you have by displaying information about the different parts of your computer.
These same programs also function as excellent system information tools for technical support and troubleshooting issues, which is nice to know that they aren’t only limited to a one time use.

Belarc Advisor

system information tool
Belarc Advisor is a simple program that, when launched, gathers information (securely) about your computer and opens it up in your browser. Note that this is not stored anywhere, but the browser is simply the means of displaying the information.
system information tool free
Belarc Advisor breaks up the information into easy to understand categories and allows you to navigate to different sections of the page through hyperlinks.


system information tool free
CPU-Z, created by CPUID, is not unknown in amongst IT people to say the least. It is a small, even portable, program that breaks up an abundant amount of information into tabs to easily find what you are looking for. At first, one might be a bit overwhelmed by the vast amount of information throughout the tabs of CPU-Z, but glance at it for longer than a few seconds and you’ll begin to understand it.
The tabs are straightforward, dividing up the information into categories, which makes it very useful. CPU-Z has portable functionality through downloading the ZIP file. For more information on CPU-Z, refer to Erez’s recent coverage of it on MakeUseOf.

PC Wizard 2012

system information tool free
Another product by CPUID is PC Wizard 2012. It also has an abundant amount of information and features. For a straightforward overall look at your computer, the System Summary is your best bet. It’s certainly not the only place for information though, as there is a plethora of options.
system information tool windows
Note that when starting it up you can decide which options to display. Also, PC Wizard, like CPU-Z, is portable if the ZIP file is downloaded and extracted.

Sandra Lite

There are many versions of Sandra. Sandra Lite, which Matt covered here on MakeUseOf, is the free and slightly less featured version. It still has most of what you will probably need. However, you can check out the comparison chart to see how it stacks up to the others. My best recommendation though, would be to download it and see how it works for you.
system information tool windows
There are several tabs and several options within those tabs, but for the sake of looking at an overall view of what is in your computer, lets look at the Hardware tab and click on Computer Overview.
system information tool windows

System Information for Windows (SIW)

Like several of the other options here, SIW is stuffed full of features. Sticking to the theme of needing a basic summary though, scroll down until you find Hardware and System Summaryis the first on the list. This “general” overview provides you with all of the information you need to know. For being a summary, it’s quite detailed.
For more in-depth information you can explore the other sub-titles under Hardware such as CPU Info, Memory, Motherboard and more. If you’re curious about taking SIW with you on the go, it is available for Portable Apps on their website.


Speccy is brought to you by Piriform, the makers of the famous CCleaner. Speccy, covered here on MakeUseOf, follows in its path, providing an excellent, easy to follow interface, while remaining detailed.
system information tool
From the summary, each title is linked to more information about that particular part of your computer.
Speccy is available in a standalone version, as well as being portable, making it an excellent choice for IT people on the go.


As you can tell, each program has its own benefits. For my own personal use, I’ve found Speccy to suffice quite well, but that’s not saying at all that SIW, Belarc Advisor, CPU-Z or others are worse. It’s partly about user preference and partly about the depth of features offered. Sometimes less is more and sometimes more is more – it just depends on what you need out of a program.
My suggestion is that if you are purely needing a system information tool to look at your basic computer info, Speccy is simple and straightforward to use due to its clean design and a somewhat lack of features (meaning it’s not “cluttered” with a bunch of features you might not use). That said, you might prefer a program such as Sandra Lite or SIW for a more in-depth look.
What do you use? Have you ever got a PC that wasn’t what you ordered? How did that pan out for you?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Use Your Webcam For Home Surveillance With These Tools

free webcam surveillance softwareI live in England, the country with the highest number of CCTVs than anywhere else in the world – about 1 camera to every 30 people, it’s estimated. Obviously, that’s not enough (yes, that is sarcasm), so today I’m doing a round-up review of useful tools for adding CCTV to your own home.
In all seriousness, having your own home surveillance system can be a powerful deterrent to would-be intruders or office workers who tend to pinch your stapler, but I don’t suggest using it to spy on your own family members.
A note About UK Law: It is perfectly legal to use CCTV for personal and home security, though you’d be advised not to point it at a neighbour’s property. There is no law against taking pictures or video in a public place including roads and pathways, and the Data Protection Act 1998 or Human Rights Act does not cover domestic usage of CCTV. However, there are exceptions to this rule if your camera is capable of remote-controlled movement. This isn’t relevant for most webcams, but many IP cameras can perform pan and tilt.
A Note About US Law: There are generally no restrictions on private use of security cameras. However there are exceptions in places where people might otherwise have an expectation of privacy – such as bathrooms.

Active Webcam (Windows $29)

Ryan reviewed this back in 2009, and while it has a reasonable level of complexity, it looks like it hasn’t been updated since, so the interface and website are atrocious. Functional then, but better options below – keep reading.
free webcam surveillance software

VitaminD Video (Mac and Windows)

Free for 1 camera, but at low resolution. $200 gets unlimited feeds at hi-resolution. At this price, I would have expected something amazing; though the interface is easy to understand – rules that look for objects – the actions available are severely limited to either recording a clip locally, playing a sound, or emailing you. Pathetic, forget this one.
webcam surveillance

iSpy (Windows – Free/Premium)

Matt did a full review of iSpy last year, so I won’t repeat him here. It’s functional, but not nearly as advanced as some other apps. The software is free, but you’ll need to subscribe for $8/month for online access to view your feeds anywhere in the world (a function which many cameras and other apps provide for free).
One of the top benefits listed for subscribers is “reduced ads”! Probably best to stay away from this one.
webcam surveillance

SecureCam (Open Source, Windows only)

Mark highlighted this back in 2009 – but for a completely free setup, SecureCam is still a good option today. With support for 4 cameras (unlimited if you donate) and a built-in webserver to view the motion captured images and videos, it’s a fully functional and comprehensive solution, though lacking some of the shine of premium apps.
webcam surveillance

Yawcam (Windows, Free)

I wrote a full tutorial on using YawCam as a surveillance camera last year and even set up notifications on my iPhone, so read that for a full review. It’s not nearly as advanced as some of the other apps here, but it is free.
webcam surveillance software

Xeoma (Mac/Windows/Linux $30)

Xeoma is a comprehensive, cross-platform premium surveillance solution at an affordable price. Functionality is added by the use of modules. For instance, you can add an email module to email you if motion is detected, or an alarm module to sound an alarm, or you could run a random application that triggers your arduino fog machine, laser cannon and strobe, scaring away the intruder.
It’s infinitely expandable, and can even emulate an IP camera to send its own output to another remote copy of itself. Genius.
webcam surveillance software
The software does come with a limited free mode or 30 day full evaluation period, a $30 license is enough for up to 4 cameras.
webcam surveillance software
Although the interface is custom, I found Xeoma to be a reliable solution and easy to set up chains of custom events. This is one of the most powerful packages I’ve looked at, and is highly recommended.

Security Spy (OSX; £30-£80)

Quite pricey, at £30 for a single camera, £80 for 4. While I would love to have thoroughly tested this, unfortunately the app launched with the main windows far too large and wouldn’t allow me to resize; adding additional cameras was also buggy. Options seem quite limited, especially considering the price. Stay away from this one, there are far better ones out there.

EvoCam (OSX, $30)

EvoCam is an interesting solution but not particularly user-friendly; however it does contain more modular functionality similar to Xeoma. Actions sets are created which can act on one or more cameras – these consist of an active time (if you only want recording at night, for instance), a condition (including sound triggers), and an action to perform (speak text, email an image, save a video).
It takes a while to get used to the control flow, but EvoCam is probably the most powerful of all these surveillance apps if you’re okay with it being OSX only. Do be sure to check functionality with your IP cam first though.
free webcam surveillance software
My personal choice is Xeoma, which is both affordable and very customizable. On the free side, you can’t really go wrong with YawCam or SecureCam, but don’t expect as many features. I think that’s all of them, but do let me know if I missed your favourite surveillance software, free or otherwise.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why It’s Good That Your Computer’s RAM Is Full


Is Windows, Linux, Android, or another operating system using a lot of RAM? Don’t panic! Modern operating systems use RAM as a file cache to speed things up. Assuming your computer is performing well, there’s nothing to worry about.
While it may seem counterintuitive to those of us who remember our computers always being starved for RAM, high RAM usage means your RAM is being put to good use. Empty RAM is wasted RAM.

Bad High Memory Usage vs. Good High Memory Usage

First of all, high memory usage isn’t always a good thing. If your computer seems very slow, then high random access memory (RAM) usage is not a good thing. If your RAM is full, your computer is slow, and its hard drive light is constantly blinking, your computer isswapping to disk. This is a sign that your computer is using your hard disk, which is much slower to access, as an “overflow” for your memory.
If this is occurring, it’s a clear side that your computer needs more RAM – or that you need to use less memory-hungry programs. This is definitely a bad thing.
However, there’s a clear difference between this case, where your computer isn’t performing well, and the more common case where your computer seems to be performing just fine, but there’s an alarming amount of RAM being used with few programs open.

Disk Caching

Install Windows XP on a computer and you’ll probably see it using several hundred megabytes of memory when the system is idle. Install Windows 7 on that same computer and you’ll likely see Windows 7 using several gigabytes of memory in the same situation.
So what’s going on? Is Windows XP just a lighter, faster operating system? Are modern operating systems bloated and wasteful with memory? Not quite.
RAM is more plentiful than it was when Windows XP was the shiny new operating system, and modern operating systems take advantage of it. Modern operating systems use your computer’s RAM as a cache for frequently accessed files and program data.
In Windows, this feature is known as SuperFetch, which was introduced in Windows Vista. SuperFetch watches the applications you use and loads commonly-used application files and libraries into your computer’s RAM before you need them. When you launch an application, Windows loads the application’s files from your RAM instead of reading them from disk, which is a slow process. This speeds up application launching and generally makes your computer faster and more responsive.
This doesn’t just apply to Windows. Linux users will also notice that their computer is using a seemingly alarming amount of memory for caching files from your disk, and new Linux users may be concerned when they notice this. Many resource-usage-monitoring programs, such as  GNOME System Monitor, hide the memory used by the cache from the user so that users won’t have to understand this or be concerned.

Browsers and Other Software

The same applies for browsers and other software applications with their own caches. For example, if you notice a web browser like Mozilla Firefox using a large amount of RAM, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you have a lot of RAM in your computer, it’s good that Firefox is using it. By caching web pages you’ve visited in your RAM, Firefox can speed up web page load times, making using the Back and Forward buttons much faster. For this reason, Firefox automatically determines the ideal cache size based on the amount of RAM in your computer.
Firefox itself may have historically had memory leaks and other problems, but the concept is the same. It doesn’t make sense for Mozilla to get Firefox’s RAM usage down to the 50 megabytes because modern computers have a lot of RAM Firefox can use to speed up web browsing.
The same applies for other software. Programs with high memory usage may be making good use of your RAM, not wasting it.

Why Empty RAM is Useless

You may be thinking that using RAM as a cache is great, but you don’t want these program files and other data taking up your RAM. You’d rather have empty RAM available so that programs will launch instantly and the memory will be used for what you think is best, not what your operating system and programs think is best.
However, this isn’t a concern at all. Whether your RAM is full of cached files or completely empty, it’s all available for programs that really need it. Cached data in your RAM is marked as low-priority, and it’s instantly discarded as soon as the memory is needed for something else.
Because this data can be instantly discarded when necessary, there’s no disadvantage to using the RAM for cache. (The one potential disadvantage is users who don’t understand what’s going on becoming confused.)
Empty RAM is useless. It’s not any faster for the computer to write data to empty RAM, nor does empty RAM use less power. In fact, assuming you’re launching a program that may already be present in your RAM’s file cache, programs will load much faster when your RAM is used rather than when it’s empty.

This is why using a task killer on Android is a bad idea, and it’s also why you shouldn’t be too concerned if your computer is filling up your RAM. It’s also one of the reasons why Windows XP isn’t the ideal operating system for today’s hardware – while XP’s RAM usage may be much lower than Windows 7’s, that’s not necessarily a good thing if you have a modern computer with a decent amount of RAM.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What’s the Difference Between CC and BCC When Sending an Email?

The CC and BCC fields when sending email work similarly. CC stands for “carbon copy,” while BCC stands for “blind carbon copy.” While these terms may have been immediately obvious when email was invented, they’re antiquated today.
CC and BCC are both ways of sending copies of an email to additional people. However, you can also send copies of an email to additional people by specifying multiple addresses in the To field.

Carbon Copying Explained

The abbreviation CC comes from “carbon copy.” By placing a sheet of carbon paper between two pieces of paper, the pressure from writing on the first piece of paper will push the ink from the carbon paper down onto the second piece of paper, producing an additional copy of the document. Like a physical carbon copy, a CC is a way of sending additional copies of an email to other people. Some people refer to CC as “courtesy copy,” which better describes what a CC actually is. CC is often used as a verb, as in “I CC’d him on the email.”

CC vs. BCC

When you CC people on an email, the CC list is visible to all other recipients. For example, if you CC and on an email, Bob will know that Jake also received the email, while Jake will know that Bob also received the email.
BCC stands for “blind carbon copy.” Unlike with CC, no one can see the list of recipients on the BCC list. For example, if you have and in the BCC list, Bob won’t know that Jake received the email, and Jake won’t know that Bob received the email.
Someone on the BCC list can see everything else, including the CC list and the contents of the email. However, the BCC list is secret – no one can see this list. (If a person is on the BCC list, they’ll see only their own email on the BCC list.)

To vs. CC

The To and CC fields work similarly. Whether you put four email addresses in the To field or put one email address in the To field and three in the CC field, the four people will all receive the same email. They’ll also be able to see every other recipients’ email address.
When it comes to email etiquette, the To field is generally used for the main recipients of your email. The CC field is used to send a copy to other interested parties for their information. This isn’t a concrete rule, and usage of To and CC can vary.
For example, let’s say your boss wants you to email a customer in response to a complaint. You’d put the customer’s email address in the To field and your boss’s email address in the CC field, so your boss would receive a copy of the email. (If you didn’t want the customer to see your boss’s email address, you’d put your boss’s address in the BCC field instead.)

When to Use CC and BCC

CC is useful when:
  • You want someone else to receive a copy of an email, but they aren’t one of the primary recipients.
BCC is useful when:
  • You want someone else to receive an email, but you don’t want the primary recipients of the email to see you’ve sent this other person a copy. For example, if you’re having a problem with a fellow employee, you might send them an email about it and BCC the human resources department. HR would receive a copy for their records, but your fellow employee wouldn’t be aware of this.
  • You want to send a copy of an email to a large amount of people. For example, if you have a mailing list with a large amount of people, you could include them in the BCC field. No one would be able to see anyone else’s email address – if you CC’d these people instead, you would be exposing their email addresses and they’d see a long list of CC’d emails in their email program. You could even put your own email address in the To field and include every other address in the BCC field, hiding everyone’s email address from each other.

BCC, Replies, and Email Threads

Note that BCC doesn’t function like CC when it comes to email threads. For example, if you send an email to and BCC, Jake will receive the original email you send. However, if Bob replies, Jake won’t get a copy of Bob’s reply – Bob’s email program can’t see that Jake ever received the email, so it doesn’t send him a copy of the reply.
Of course, you can continue to BCC Jake on future emails or forward him a copy of the reply. it’s also possible that Bob could erase Jake’s email from the CC field and reply directly to you if you CC’d Jake instead. However, people are much more likely to receive all replies in an email thread if you CC them. You’ll have to keep them in the loop if you’re BCC’ing them.

In practice, a lot of this can come down to email etiquette and different people will use these fields differently – particularly the To and CC fields. Don’t be surprised if you see them used differently.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Top 10 Reasons for Poor PC Performance

pc performance
Has your computer loaded this webpage yet? If it has, you'll be halfway toward working out just why it seems to be running so slowly. There are many reasons for desktop and laptops to chug along at their own, slow pace, defying the system specs and performing more like a relic from the 1990s.
Where you're browsing the web, word processing or gaming, poor performance will cause problems. The irony is that in most cases, these problems are avoidable, or in the worst case scenario, easily resolved. From relying on old hardware to poor application management, bad airflow and the need to defragment your hard disk drive, the following list will tell you everything you need to know about finding the reason for your computer's poor performance. You'll be able to deal with these problems quickly and in most cases with zero outlay.

1. System Startup

Booting Windows typically takes around the same length of time on any computer - it's when it comes to loading the drivers and startup files that things slow down. As you add software to your PC, any that is required to launch as part of the Windows startup will result in sluggish performance, and perhaps even freeze your computer.
To fix this you will need to reduce the number of applications that are loading at this time. Various utilities can be employed to deal with a slow Windows startup, from MSConfig to the very useful Autoruns.

2. Fragmented Hard Drive

pc performance
One of the most common causes of a slow computer is a fragmented hard disk drive, although the actual effect of this has been called in to question in these days of faster, larger drives and massive games and media files. Nevertheless, checking the disk for fragmented data won't take too long and can help with dealing with slow performance issues. In Windows, open Start > Computer and right-click the C: drive, selecting Properties > Tools > Defragment Now and following the instructions displayed.
Note that while you can't defrag an SSD, you can optimize it for peak PC performance.

3. Too Many Permanent Temporary Files!

Temporary folders are supposed to make using Windows and your browser faster by providing easily-accessed files that can be loaded up extremely quickly. This might be data that is downloaded from the web or regularly required by other applications.
When your hard disk drive becomes over 90% full you will find that performance dips markedly. In order to combat this, one of the best things you can do is delete your Windows temp files and clean your web browser. While deleting your Internet history and temporary Internet files is something you can do from your browser, CCleaner is a good option for tidying up the Windows temp folders.

4. An Incorrectly Configured Pagefile

Error messages and slow performance can be due to a problem with the Windows Pagefile, a temporary portion of your system memory that is used for processing functions, part of which involves the temporary holding of data.
improve pc performance
Increasing the Pagefile is easy. First, open Start and right-click Computer, selecting Properties; from here, openAdvanced > Settings > Performance > Advanced. Under Virtual Memory, select Change, and alter the size of the Pagefile so that a larger portion of RAM is available.
Note that if no more RAM can be allocated you will need to install additional memory modules.

5. Uninstalled Applications & The Windows Registry

When you uninstall software on Windows, the uninstaller doesn't necessarily remove everything from your computer. While you can employ the Piriform CCleaner utility to remove software completely, historical uninstalls and other problems will have caused issues with your Windows Registry.
The Windows Registry is like a vast database of filepaths and instructions for the operating system and installed software, and it can become corrupted and overloaded. These issues will cause slow boots, poor performance and a very slow shut down, as well as an inability to resume from sleep/standby modes.
Once again, CCleaner can be employed here, but there are many other tools that can be used to fix problems in the Windows Registry. Remember to back up the registry before running tools that might cause problems, even if your PC is running slow.

6. Slow Network?

While network speed might not have a direct impact on your computer's performance in many cases, if you're relying on downloading data or perhaps using a cloud application or even a remote virtual platform, slow network speed will come into play.
improve pc performance
To overcome these issues, first check that your network cabling is secure and undamaged. If you have a wireless router, make sure that you are getting the very best connection, and spend some time checking the configuration on your router. You can use the Windows command prompt to check the speed of your Internet connection using the tracert command, while various websites provide live speed tests.
Don't overlook your local network as the cause of your problems, however. Network management software can be used to find out if anyone is piggy-backing your connection, and allow you to remove them.

7. Viruses & Spyware

If you're using security software, it *should* be protecting you from malware and viruses on your system. Malicious software is one of the primary reasons for slow or poor system performance, and can add themselves to your computer while you install software downloaded from the web. Malware doesn't just come in the form of viruses, worms and Trojans, however - there are plenty of toolbar hijacks and Facebook apps that can be described as malware or be the cause of malware ending up on your computer.
You can deal with malicious software by ensuring that your computer is fully equipped with anti-virus and anti-malware tools that run regularly. Removal of malware and viruses could prove difficult, however, if you don't have these tools installed.

8. Security Software Letting You Down?

Try to stick to anti-malware/anti-spyware applications with good reputations, however, as opposed to any that might have come bundled with your computer. There are plenty of free tools that you can use, but any of them can be responsible for drawing on too many system resources.
improve pc performance
You can check whether security software (or other applications) are draining too many system resources by opening Task Manager, either by right-clicking the Windows taskbar or pressing CTRL+ALT+DELETE. Using the Processes and Performance tabs you should be able to identify which applications are causing the largest drain on resources - if it is your security software, you will need to deal with this in the application settings or even remove it completely. As there are many good free anti-virus and anti-malware applications available online, this shouldn't be difficult to replace.
(Note also that running two anti-virus applications will be counterproductive, as each is likely to identify the other as a threat, resulting in more slow PC performance.)

9. Old Hardware

Possibly the hidden villain of slow PC issues, old hardware can prove deadly to your computer. It's a familiar tale - the computer bought five or so years ago slowly upgraded component-by-component until it eventually has all brand new shining parts that simply cannot hope to perform as intended.
This is usually because of a single element, such as RAM that hasn't been upgraded or replaced, or perhaps a system that has been completely overhauled except for a motherboard with slow bus speed.
Elsewhere, old cables can result in slow transfers and data loss, impacting performances speeds and making an apparently decent computer look over the hill.

10. Positioning, Airflow and Ventilation

There are many factors that can determine the lifespan of your computer, but one of those that you should pay attention to is dust.
pc performance
This single substance can wreak havoc in a computer, which is why machines should be regularly serviced to remove build-up of dust in vents, on cables, fans and heatsinks. The internal airflow of your computer should be such that the processor, graphics card and motherboard are kept cool - if this is not possible, performance issues will occur.
A computer should be positioned in a ventilated area, one which is relatively cool and largely dust free. You should also avoid covering the vents on your computer.

Speed Up Your PC With Regular Maintenance!

Using one, some or all of these solutions in tandem will enable you to speed up your computer, in some cases with remarkable results.
Note, however, that there is no substitute for regular maintenance. Whether that means keeping your hardware clean and dust free or running frequent checks with CCleaner and other utilities mentioned here, you should probably set aside one day a month to make sure your hardware is running at optimum speed for the rest of the time.
After all, computers are expensive pieces of equipment - looking after your investment will give you the best results

A-Z of Linux – 40 Essential Commands

linux commandsLinux is the oft-ignored third wheel to Windows and Mac. Yes, over the past decade, the open source operating system has gained a lot of traction, but it’s still a far cry from being considered popular. Yet though that may be true, Linux still earns new converts every day. Will you join them?
The learning curve of Linux is what deters most users from even trying it in the first place. It can be a traumatic experience having to go from a GUI-based operating system like Windows or Mac to one that requires command line fiddling. But if you can get over that initial hump of difficulty, you may find that Linux is surprisingly robust.
If you want a crash course on all that is Linux, we’ve got a great Linux newbie’s guide that will teach you all you need to know. For the rest of you who just want a brief overview of some important commands you ought to know, the following list is all you’ll need.

Newbie Commands

cd - Changes the current working directory in the command line console.
exit - Exits out of the current program, terminates the current command line terminal, or logs you out of a Unix network depending on the context.
kill - Terminates the specified running process. The Linux version of Windows’ “End Process” in the task manager.
ls - List all of the contents of a specified directory. If no directory is specified, it will use the current directory.
man - There’s a running gag in the Linux community that man is the only command you need to know. It stands for manual, and it will give you detailed information on commands and aspects of Linux.
pwd - Displays the current working directory for the command line terminal. Good for when you’ve lost track of where you are in your system.
reboot - Immediately stops all running processes, shuts down the system, then reboots.
shutdown - Stops all running processes and shuts down the system. Parameters can be specified to issue a delayed shutdown or a shutdown at a particular time.
sudo - Runs commands as root, which means no limitations due to permissions.
linux commands

System Information

date - Prints out the current system date and time. Specified parameters can change the format of the output.
df - Reports the disk space usage for the file system.
hostname - Displays the name of the current host system.
ps - Displays information about all of the processes currently running on the system.
quota - Displays disk limits and current disk usage for a specified user. Useful when there are multiple users assigned to a particular system.
top - Displays all of the top processes in the system, by default sorted by CPU usage.
uptime - Reports how long the system has been running since last boot. Extremely useful for servers.
basic linux commands

File Manipulation

bzip2 - Compresses specified contents into a .bz2 archive or extracts from a .bz2 archive depending on parameters.
chmod / chown - Changes the access permissions of one or more files (chmod) or changes the ownership of a particular file to a new user (chown). Only users with permission or ownership of a file can change that file’s permissions or ownership.
cp - Copies files to a new location with a new name depending on the parameters. Can copy directories too, whether recursively (includes all subdirectories) or not.
find / locate - Searches the system starting at a specific directory and matching all files within that location to a set of conditions laid out by the command parameters. Very useful for quickly finding certain files.
grep – Searches through all of the files in a specified location trying to find files that contain lines that match a given string. Returns a list of all the files that scored a match.
install - Used in conjunction with Makefiles to copy files from one location to the system. Not to be confused with installing packages from a software repository.
mkdir / rmdir - Creates a directory (mkdir) or deletes a specified directory (rmdir). Directories can only be created and deleted within directories that you have permission in.
mv - Moves files and directories to another location. Can be used to rename files and directories by keep their source and destination locations the same.
open – Opens a specified file using the default system application for files of its type.
rm - Remove and remove directory. Used to delete files and directories from the system, whether one at a time or in batch.
tar - Creates a .tar archive or extracts from a .tar archive depending on specified parameters.
zip / unzip - Creates a .zip archive or extracts from a .zip archive depending on specified parameters.
linux commands

Other Noteworthy Commands

apt-get – Advanced Packaging Tool. Use this command to install, remove, and configure software packages on your system. For a menu-based version, use aptitude command. Available on Debian-based Linux distributions.
ftp / sftp - Connects to a remote FTP server in order to download multiple files.
wget - Downloads files from the Internet at the specified URL to your system.
yum - Yellowdog Updater, Modified. An open source package manager used to easily install software packages from repositories. Available on RPM-compatible Linux distributions.
emacs – One of the most well-known text editors on Unix-like systems.
nano - A newbie-friendly command-line text editor that uses keyboard shortcuts to simulate menus.
vim - Vim is the successor to Vi, both of which are command line text editors for Unix-like systems. Though Vim is popular, it doesn’t use menus or icons for its interface so it has a reputation for being newbie-friendly.