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I have two PuTTy sessions open to the same host. One one cd ~ gets me back to my home dir fine and on another one it doesn't -- stays in the same dir.

I have never seen something like this happen.

Any idea why this might be happening?

OS: SunOS 5.10

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what shell are you using? Also, dump both environments, ie set > env_goodwindow ; set > env_badwindow` and diff them. Same for stty settings. Good luck. – shellter Oct 5 '12 at 19:15
BTW, cd alone takes you to your home directory. No need for the ~ – Stéphane Chazelas Oct 5 '12 at 20:24
cd alone doesn't work either ... :( – amphibient Oct 5 '12 at 20:51
Does this always happen each time you open two ssh connections to the host, or did it happen just once? – user13764 Oct 6 '12 at 1:38

It sounds like you've changed or unset your $HOME environment variable in one of the ssh sessions.

$HOME is the default arg for the cd built-in, at least for all the sh-like shells that I have installed on my system (incl. dash, bash, ksh, and zsh).

They all have something like this in their man page (from dash):

 HOME   The home directory of the current user; the default argument for
        the cd builtin command.  The value of this variable is also used
        when performing tilde expansion.
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csh and tcsh use $home (lowercase). – cas Oct 6 '12 at 3:19

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