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Emacs Manual: HOME Directory

From: Brent VanFossen
Subject: Emacs Manual: HOME Directory
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001 20:19:55 +0300

I'm a new Emacs user, and I've been impressed with the quality of the program and of the manual. However, in this particular case, there is room for improvement.
I've read the Emacs tutorial and the entire manual. I've read several Emacs FAQs. I reread the appropriate (I think) parts of the manual. I didn't find the information I needed to help me tell Emacs where to find my HOME directory.
I'm using Windows 98 and
GNU Emacs 20.7.1 (i386-*-windows98.2222) of Tue Jun 13 2000 on buffy
From the manual:
>File Names on MS-DOS
>  MS-DOS has no notion of home directory, so Emacs on MS-DOS pretends
>that the directory where it is installed is the value of `HOME'
>environment variable.  That is, if your Emacs binary, `emacs.exe', is
>in the directory `c:/utils/emacs/bin', then Emacs acts as if `HOME'
>were set to `c:/utils/emacs'.  In particular, that is where Emacs looks
>for the init file `_emacs'.
I found this not to apply to me, maybe because I'm using Windows 98 and not exactly DOS. However, Emacs only found my _emacs file when I put it in my c:\ root directory. This, of course, is not where I want it.
>How Emacs Finds Your Init File
>   Normally Emacs uses the environment variable `HOME' to find
>`.emacs'; that's what `~' means in a file name.  But if you have done
>`su', Emacs tries to find your own `.emacs',...
And I didn't find anything that told me how exactly to set my environmental HOME variable. What I did find, by doing an internet search, was specific instructions on a web site. That information would be easy to include in the manual, and I think it should be there. There must be other users like me who are completely unfamiliar with Unix and Unix-type systems. Here is the information that I think should be in the manual (copied from a website, but I lost the URL):
>4.  Now create a home directory in your computer's file system. The home
>directory is the directory where Emacs expects to find your Emacs startup
>file (see next step).  Your home directory can be located anywhere you
>choose and can have any name. (I call my home directory: c:\ptt.).
>Note: Creating a home directory is not a prerequisite to installing Emacs.
>If you do not specify a home directory via a HOME variable, Emacs
>assumes that your home directory is c:\. However, I highly recommend this
>step.  Segretating your startup file(s) in a separate directory makes them
>easier to manage.
>6.  Now you need to tell your computer where Emacs lives and where your
>home directory is.   You do this by placing additional information in your
>autoexec.bat file.   Start an editor on your autoexec.bat file (from a DOS
>prompt typing edit c:\autoexec.bat will work).  Add the following two
>lines to the end of your autoexec.bat file:
path %path%;c:\emacs\bin
set HOME=c:\ptt
>The first line should contain the name of the directory where you placed
>Emacs, followed by \bin.  The second line should contain the name of the
>directory where you placed your home directory (on my system Emacs
>lives in c:\emacs and my home directory is in c:\ptt).  Save the changes
>that you have made.  Note:  on some systems you may need to restart
>your computer in order for these changes to take affect.
That's it. Thanks for a great product.
Brent VanFossen

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