Proceed with Caution: Commands You Should Never Execute on Your Computer

To maximize the functionality of our computer’s operating system, most users rely on the available graphical interface. However, for those more advanced users seeking greater control over their system, both Linux distributions and Microsoft‘s Windows offer the option of using the command line. Whether it’s the open-source terminal in Linux or the CMD tool in Windows, this command-line interface is a powerful tool.

Using commands in the command-line interface can be advantageous for specific tasks and behaviors that may be limited in the graphical interface. However, it comes with risks. Incorrectly executed commands can potentially damage or even destroy the operating system. This holds true for both Linux and Windows users. Therefore, it’s essential to exercise caution and avoid certain commands unless you are confident in your knowledge and expertise.


Linux Commands to Avoid

  1. mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda: This command formats the entire operating system, resulting in the loss of all data on the PC.
  2. rm -Rf /: Executing this command from the root directory deletes all folders on the hard drive, which is almost never recommended.
  3. shred /dev/sda: This command irreversibly erases all content on the hard drive.
  4. dd if=/dev/random of=/dev/sda: It copies random content to the main disk drive without the possibility of recovery.
  5. :(){ :|:& };:: This command doesn’t destroy the operating system but causes a function to enter a loop, consuming all memory and crashing the computer.

Windows Commands to Be Cautious With

  1. rd/s/q/ C:: This seemingly harmless command erases all data on a specified unit.
  2. diskpart: While useful, this command can be dangerous. For example, format fs=ntfs deletes all content on the selected drive.
  3. Erase: This command, as the name suggests, deletes specified content from the hard drive.
  4. Rd: It deletes entire folders, including system folders, so use it carefully.
  5. Format c:: This classic command formats the C drive, potentially rendering the system inoperable.

Exercise Caution with Scripts

The real danger lies in executing scripts or code copied from the internet. Some scripts may contain destructive commands hidden within them. To stay safe, use code from reputable sources, and review it thoroughly to ensure it doesn’t perform any undesirable actions on your computer.

Remember that a small mistake or oversight can lead to significant damage or data loss, so it’s crucial to approach command-line operations with care and a deep understanding of what each command does.