I'm not referring to the . you see in shell commands or in the output of ls -a.

I just ran an install script for a vpn application, and after the command exited, my terminal prompt was in the . directory.

This is my pwd output:

➜ pwd

I've never seen anything like this. Anyone know what this is?

  • 1
    You have this ticket tagged with bash, shell, and zsh...can you clarify which shell you are using?
    – jesse_b
    Aug 26, 2020 at 15:33
  • I'm on elementary OS and I'm not sure which shell the script used. My default shell is zsh but I still have bash installed
    – dukeluke
    Aug 26, 2020 at 16:07
  • @dukeluke the first line of the script (shebang) will tell you
    – Panki
    Aug 26, 2020 at 16:58
  • You can configure the prompt however you want. Something in your config tells the shell that the prompt should now contain a .. Run echo $PS1 and mention the shell (bash, zsh, ...) you are using. That way we can find the reason
    – Garo
    Aug 26, 2020 at 17:07
  • Also, take a look at the script, most likely it will change $PS1 (the config of the first line of your prompt) there
    – Garo
    Aug 26, 2020 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


That can happen when the current working directory has been deleted:

$ zsh -c 'mkdir dir; cd dir; rmdir $PWD; cd .; pwd; readlink /proc/self/cwd; command pwd'
/home/chazelas/dir (deleted)
pwd: couldn't find directory entry in ‘..’ with matching i-node

(the cd . causes zsh to double-check what its current directory is, and it reverts to . (the only possible valid path to the current working directory) when getcwd() returns with an error)

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