I am an experienced UNIX user that knows my way around the UNIX terminal. However, whenever I use a Windows computer and try and use the Command Prompt, I cannot do much more than list the contents of a directory with dir and change directory with cd. I want to learn how to do things with DOS. Can you guys please recommend some stuff that will help a UNIX guy learn how to use DOS? Thanks!

  • 2
    The best way I can think to use DOS is to replace it with something else. :P
    – cdhowie
    Nov 17, 2010 at 21:43
  • 4
    Install cygwin, open bash shell, problem solved. Nov 17, 2010 at 21:44
  • 1
    You'll find DOS to have allot left to be desired.
    – John Giotta
    Nov 17, 2010 at 21:45
  • I don't think you can do much things with dos... :)
    – Vic.
    Nov 17, 2010 at 21:46
  • 1
    Just for the record, Windows Command Prompt is not MS-DOS or any DOS at all. It is a Windows program, in the same way as sh and xterm are just another Unix programs. Jan 1, 2012 at 19:46

3 Answers 3


Try http://www.cygwin.com/ This way you can use your windows box without having to learn new (old) commands.


I'm a Linux SysAdmin, live and die by *nix.

With that said... I love DOS, it reminds me of childhood. Its so beautifully simple, it was created for real-time execution.

I really hate the tacked on Win9x Arch, and I dislike the NT arch; but I admit NT was a huge improvement, and its workable. I'm assuming you don't mean real DOS, do you? Did you really mean CMD.exe? like the command shell?

  1. This Website has a CMD.exe and BASH equivilant chart. The chart is really for going DOS to Linux, but it still applies for the inverse.

  2. If you just want to practice, you could install WINE. WINE has a CMD.exe compatible shell called WCMD. After WINE is installed, start an instance with wineconsole --backend=user wcmd

  3. If you want to be more productive in windows, there is always the venerable Cygwin. I actually think Cygwin is HUGE, and prefer mingw's MSYS. In reality anything other than plain MinGW, is really a POSIX environment inside Windows. When I'm forced to work Windows, I always prefer compiling to MinGW over both MSYS/Cygwin.

  4. If you want a more productive shell, to work with the Windows environment rather than a self-contained POSIX sub-environment, I really like TCC/LE. The learning curve is higher than bringing POSIX to Windows, but the requirements are less, and most of what you learn also relates to CMD.exe.


I would recommend missing out DOS if possible and going straight to PowerShell. It is a much more productive environment that gives you the sort of power you are used to from the Unix shell. If you come from Unix to DOS you will only get frustrated by the hoops you have to jump through to even get simple things working.

  • 1
    I have never heard of PowerShell. What is it?
    – ab217
    Nov 17, 2010 at 21:45
  • @agentbanks217: A modern shell and scripting language for Windows that integrates with the .NET runtime.
    – Mark Byers
    Nov 17, 2010 at 21:48
  • 1
    This answer would be ten times better with an example of a simple bash script, its equally simple equivalent in PowerShell, and the soul-crushingly awful and thoroughly non-obvious equivalent batch file.
    – Jeremy W. Sherman
    Nov 17, 2010 at 21:55
  • and powershell is cross-platform so you can use it on Linux or mac
    – phuclv
    Jul 31, 2022 at 16:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .