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I've got a Windows 7 box going for my job, and most high-level computing experience is coming from shell environments in Linux. I'm completely lost in the Windows shell, and when I try to use a GUI for basic tasks (even a simple deletion) I get thrown off by many obstacles, most simply a cause of my ignorance

Incidentally, this question exists because I don't know how to tell the OS that I really, truly want to delete a folder for which I need root permissions (even though I'm an administrator, and the only user) -- sudo rm -rf. After > 6 instructions to the tune of Right Click Folder -> Properties -> Security -> Advanced -> Advanced -> ... type prompts, I ate some ice cream and came here.

Does anyone know of good tools/know any tips for migration? Things like:

  • A good, thorough manual to the Windows shell? This is what I'm looking for most. Ideally, more than a command reference, but underlying details, such as how PATH is stored, changed, etc.? I could use Cygwin, but I'd like to know how to communicate directly to the OS on a deeper level, and how the 'pros' would do it.
  • A decent write-up of basic OS utilities?
  • Anything else that's been handy for others making the switch?

Thanks, hope you're well ^_^

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Oh! Another thing! man pages! Is there an equivalent to 'man del'? Again, thanks everyone ^_^ – paul.meier Sep 15 '10 at 23:14
You can usually type 'command /?' or 'command -h' (the latter usually for Linux ports). There is no direct man equivalent, but you can also type 'help command' for native commands (same as 'command /?' though). – paradroid Sep 15 '10 at 23:18
I find cygwin pretty useful. And because it's familiar, at least you'll be able to get stuff done while picking up the Windows specifics. The GNU win32 libraries ( are pretty useful too, and they integrate with the windows command prompt. – Ash Sep 16 '10 at 1:37
the equivalent is help del. But you won't get a pager like the *ix version. – syockit Mar 21 '11 at 17:33

Try the ss64 references for CMD and PowerShell.

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Ooh, thanks! This looks great ^_^ – paul.meier Sep 15 '10 at 23:14
You should also check out the Sysinternals utilities. You will probably find the PsTools especially useful. Put them into a directory and add it to your PATH. – paradroid Sep 15 '10 at 23:29

If you're looking for the basics of how to use Windows 7 here is a good guide on the interface. Also [this] one is a more in depth video guide to the basics. I know that some of this stuff is basic, but it might help with the transition.

To delete files that you can't regularly delete you need to take ownership of them. To do that is pretty lengthy process, luckily though, this How-To Geek tip has a link to a registry hack that will make things simpler (you just right click the file and select "Take Ownership" after you've done the hack).

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You can have a bash via minGW / MSYS or Cygwin.

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