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According to Larry Wall, the original author of the Perl programming language, there are three great virtues of a programmer:

  • Laziness
  • Impatience
  • Hubris

As a person who aligns himself with the first two virtues and is too dumb to know what the third one means, I find myself creating ways to reduce time wastage and increase productivity that is sometimes resulting in the inverse of it.

In this tutorial, we will create an alias of a windows app to open within our bash terminal.


What is an alias?

A bash alias is a command which enables a replacement of a word by another string, that’s just $fancy\ talk$ for abbreviating a compact system command from a long one.

They are defined on our .bash_profile or .bashrc file under our home ~ directory with this style of structure:

alias short_code_name='path_or_command'


Let us say that we have a folder on our windows directory whose full path is


if we wanted to access this folder quickly under our bash terminal by typing a command like linux_dev, our alias command looks something like this:

# at the bottom of our .bashrc or .bash_profile
alias linux_dev='cd /mnt/c/Users/{username}/Documents/linux_dev'
  • Here, our shortcode name is linux_dev, but we could’ve called it anything (preferably not a global variable).

  • The command changes the directory cd followed by the path of our folder according to the Linux directory structure.


to see a list of global variables, type printenv on your terminal.

Now that we know how alias work, let us create one for VS Code.

VS Code

Visual Studio Code is a great text editor developed by Microsoft, its based on Electron, a desktop GUI framework maintained by Github based on Node.js, and aperantly all the cool kids are on it now1

The reason I choose VS Code instead of other lightweight text editors like sublime text or Github’s Atom is that:

  1. It has a fantastic IntelliSense with built-in Extension market place, and over the last three years, VS Code has matured immensely and makes it easy for nubies to experience developers to get coding the second after you install it.
  2. You are not the boss of me2

Find origin location


Now that we decided what app to use we need to find the origin where the application is installed.

According to Microsoft own documents, VS Code is installed under

C:\users\{username}\AppData\Local\Programs\Microsoft VS Code\Code.exe

Where Your Windows System Drive Appears in Linux

The Windows Linux subsystem gives us to access to the Windows system drives; however, our bash environment doesn’t know (or care?), so it places your Windows system drives under the /mnt/ directory.


The /mnt directory and its subdirectories are intended for use as the temporary mount points for mounting storage devices, such as CDROMs, floppy disks and USB (universal serial bus) key drives


If we wanted to access our C: drive under bash terminal, we would type

$ cd  /mnt/c

$ pwd

Finally Create an alias for our Windows App

Open your .bashrc or .bash_profile under the home directory with nano text editor, make sure you open it as a superuser

$ cd 
#go home youre drunk

$ sudo nano .bashrc

Scroll to the bottom of the file and append our new alias code

# at the bootom of our .bashrc file
alias vscode='/mnt/c/Users/{username}/AppData/Local/Programs/Microsoft\ VS\ Code/Code.exe'

type Ctrl+o to save our edits & Ctrl+x to exit.

  • Our bash shortcode keyword is vscode
  • the path is /mnt/c/Users/{username}/AppData/Local/Programs/Microsoft\ VS\ Code/Code.exe'

The reason the path looks odd especially under the folder name \Microsoft VS Code is that shell translates empty spaces diffrently than windows: \Microsoft\ VS\ Code.

Let us reload our .bashrc file by typing

source ~/.bashrc

Test it

$ vscode .
# opens app within the current directory
# it should