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UNIX Command Line Tools For MS-Windows XP / Vista / 7 Operating Systems

I wish I had access to one of those nifty UNIX command-line tools under MS-Windows Vista or XP operating systems. How do I access UNIX command line utilities under Windows with out using virtualization?

A Unix-like environment and command-line interface for Microsoft Windows can be provided using the following softwares.


Cygwin provides native integration of Windows-based applications, data, and other system resources with applications, software tools, and data of the Unix-like environment. Thus it is possible to launch Windows applications from the Cygwin environment, as well as to use Cygwin tools and applications within the Windows operating context.

GNU Utilities For Win32

Here are some ports of common GNU utilities to native Win32. In this context, native means the executables do only depend on the Microsoft C-runtime (msvcrt.dll) and not an emulation layer like that provided by Cygwin tools. If you don’t care about having a full UNIX shell environment, this is a great download for you.


GnuWin provides Win32-versions of GNU tools, or tools with a similar open source licence. The ports are native ports, that is they rely only on libraries provided with any 32-bits MS-Windows operating system, such as MS-Windows 95 / 98 / 2000 / NT / XP / Vista etc.

40 UNIX Commands Ported To DOS

A little outdated but provides 40 UNIX utilities for DOS and it may work under earlier version of Windows too.

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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Boris February 25, 2010, 12:10 pm

    Not very relevant, but a great shell for Windows is “Windows PowerShell”. It’s a micro$oft tool, but tab completion really change the basic cmd.exe.
    Maybe a misunderstand from me (I’m French sorry for this ;))

  • Rob February 25, 2010, 12:59 pm

    Also consider the Picnix set of small exe’s from http://sourceforge.net/projects/picnix/. A different but very useful set:

    cat, chmod, cp, df, diff, du, fgrep, grep, head, ls, more, mv, pmake, pmore, psort, rm, sleep, strings, tail, tee, touch, uniq, wc, and which.

  • Zafer February 25, 2010, 5:28 pm

    There is also Microsoft SFU (services for Unix) which is free, can be downloaded from Microsoft.

    After MS acquired SFU, they sold it for around 99$, then they made it freely available. But it stayed as a well kept secret ;)

    Hope this proves useful

  • Diablo February 26, 2010, 7:18 am

    Boris, tab completion is really great in Windows 2008, but still, how many years they took to implement this ? Working with PowerShell is hard and annoying! Windows was designed for clicks. Unix is the real thing :)

    This tools are very helpfull, thanks !

  • Boris February 26, 2010, 2:54 pm

    @Diablo, of course, I’m not saying Windows is designed for shell ;)
    I just played with Mencoder for Windows and for Linux, and on Windows version, PowerSheel saved my time more than the standart cmd.exe ;)

  • Danny Navarro February 27, 2010, 4:24 pm

    mingw with msys is also a good native alternative to cygwin for the basic gnu utilities.

  • Dave July 10, 2010, 4:29 pm

    SFU is no longer available as a separate download now because it is included in the R2 distribution of Windows and is referred to now as Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications (SUA).

    • Jonathan January 10, 2012, 9:04 pm

      Not true. The link still works, and the download is still there.

  • Yahn September 18, 2011, 8:51 pm

    AT&T’s UWIN allows UNIX applications to be built and run on Microsoft Windows
    usename: I accept http://www.opensource.org/licenses/cpl
    password: .

    password is a dot!

  • Vijaya November 23, 2011, 7:25 am

    I have Windows 7 , I want to practice UNIX. How can i do this? Is there any online site where we can practice unix , please let me know

    • tina November 27, 2011, 9:21 pm

      download a ubuntu or such, install it and practice.

    • balo.balthazar February 10, 2012, 3:30 am

      just download slax live CD it is a very useful ‘bootable’ CD where you can practice on Linux. you get it at “http://www.slax.org/get_slax.php” just download the ISO image and burn it, then turn your computer boot priority to your DVD drive and boot from it. But before starting Linux it is always advisable to document yourself!

    • John Doe September 13, 2012, 3:57 am

      First and Last… its Primary! DONT ASK STUPID QUATIONS? Use search engine firstly.
      Second. Read a Manuals, for example: ***.freebsd.org
      Third: Take a old PC and install FreeBSD or Linux on It or install Virtual Machine on your Win7 host (like VMWare Workstation etc.)

      Understand, that ALL questions that you asked, is already answered by someone and to place those answers to Internet… So… SEARCH AND READ! And Welcome to Reality!))))

      PS. Sorry for my French ;)

      • Blue July 14, 2013, 6:44 pm

        John Doe — you’re a jerk. Asking questions like the original one is *exactly* what forums like this are for.

        It’s easy to search and find potential solutions. What the original poster was looking for was an experiential basis.

        There are no “stupd quastions.” There are only stupid responses to someone trying to find help — and yours is a prime example.

  • deepika January 28, 2012, 1:17 pm

    how i login after enable the telnet in window 7..???

  • Groupusers February 12, 2012, 2:34 pm

    Cygwin tools , a unix installation for windows a great tool for beginners. Have personally worked on it , a awesome tool

  • Jeremiah Benard July 30, 2012, 1:18 pm

    I would like to get window Linux for free trail vision so that i can lean more about this window.Can you help me about this?I be happy when you replay my email soon as possible!

  • shenbga pandiyan December 31, 2012, 3:40 pm

    im new to unix operating system. In the downloading process there are lot of packages are available for to select as well as skip. I want to know exactly which packages will be required for only to excute unix commands. Unix Shell package is already available into the list of packages, is it alone to excute unix commands???

  • MACK July 13, 2013, 11:20 am

    it takes more time to download and even if my network is speed it takes more time about an hr ago i started downloading till now it is still not even 25%

  • Prakash July 21, 2014, 6:56 am

    hi folks,
    1] Is it possible to run shell script on win 7 OS without using any Linux / Unix OS boot- able CD ?
    2] if YES then how ?
    3] Is there any java application to run Unix / Linux Commands.

  • Moo October 2, 2014, 1:03 pm

    best i have found is Babun
    It is a cleaner more refined version of Cygwin

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