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There are two directories I can change to:

Program Files/       Program Files (x86)/

I can change to first one by writing:

cd Program\ Files

But the second for second one:

cd Program\ Files\ (x86)

I get:

bash: syntax error near unexpected token `('

What is the right way to change to second directory?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You have to escape the parentheses:

cd Program\ Files\ \(x86\)

Pressing TAB will usually complete the command line for you, and will give hints how to quote the file/directory names.

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Yes, Tab completes, but I have two directories with the same name till (x86) so it only completes to "Program Files". –  enedene Jun 11 '12 at 8:46
    
@enedene That's right, although afterwards you can type \ and take advantage of completion. –  lgarzo Jun 11 '12 at 8:51
    
An alternative that may be useful in this case is to use shell globbing. For example, cd P TAB ??x86? TAB will likely (depending on what else you have in the relevant directory) complete out to Program Files (x86). –  Michael Kjörling Jun 11 '12 at 9:08
    
At some point backslashes become more of a problem than they're worth. If you have more than one or two special characters it's simpler to quote the entire file name; either "Program Files (x86)" or 'Program Files (x86)' will work. –  MadScientist Jun 11 '12 at 12:34
    
Hitting TAB multiple times should cycle through the available matches. cd Prog TAB TAB. –  Lars Rohrbach Jun 11 '12 at 14:53

Another way to accomplish the same is to quote the path containing whitespace:

cd "Program Files (x86)"

This also works with tab-completion so you can type:

cd "Program<Space><Tab><Space><Tab>

Notice the opening double-quote. Then you will get:

cd "Program Files (x86)"/
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