I was wondering if it is somehow technologically possible for Windows to add some sort of Linux interface? I think it would win over many programmers to develop on Windows.

Any ideas on this?

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  • 6
    Why not use powershell? – Steven Evers May 2 '11 at 20:49
  • 3
    Windows does not use DOS. – grawity May 3 '11 at 5:11
  • 4
    Powershell is painfully irritating to use. In addition, its documentation is deplorable. – Brian Vandenberg Jul 28 '11 at 18:36
  • I agree @BrianVandenberg. It is marginally better than the DOS command line, but a long way from a Unix/Linux shell. – Philip Kearns Sep 13 '16 at 16:25

As well as Cygwin which @ChrisF has mentioned, you can also install a collection of tools ported from Unix that run in a normal Windows environment. Two such examples:

This enables you to be in a Command Prompt and use commands such as grep, ls, awk and so on. Once you've put the extracted folder in your environment path, the experience of using them is pretty seamless and blends in well:

enter image description here


Take a look at Cygwin. It's

a collection of tools which provide a Linux look and feel environment for Windows.

(taken from their home page).

  • Yeah I know about Cygwyn, but I was asking why they don't make in more integrated? Its annoying to have to install new software when it could also be already part of your system. – Genadinik May 2 '11 at 20:32
  • 5
    @Genadinik - you should have included that in your question ;). There's no native support (nor can I see why Microsoft would want to include it) so you're stuck with installing a 3rd party application. – ChrisF May 2 '11 at 20:36

Running Cygwin will install a number of familiar linux shells like bash and tcsh, and allow you to run the shells in Windows, but also run Linux applications directly from the Windows command line.

Make sure that all the /bin/ directories installed in Cygwin are in your Windows PATH variable, and you can have the hybrid Windows/Linux experience from Windows. Even ls.


MSYS is a set of GNU tools for Windows, the installer can be found here. (install only MSYS, not MinGW)

Then you'll have to add MSYS tools to your PATH variable: run systempropertiesadvanced from the Run window (Win+R), click Environment variables and find Path variable in the lower box, add a semicolon and MSYS's path (default is C:\MinGW\msys\1.0\bin).

It's also nice to have bash on Windows, so you should consider adding C:\MinGW\msys\1.0 too (bash will be launched by command msys, not bash!). Changes will be fully applied after relogging.

Additional tools like vim can be easily googled and added in a similar manner.


Another opportunity is to use the WSL - Windows Subsystem for Linux. A native bash is provided.

enter image description here

  • It's worth adding that it's only available for Windows 10+. – thiagowfx Oct 17 '16 at 5:18

Besides the answers already mentioned (Cygwin is my personal favorite), Microsoft is also working to officially bring the Bash shell to Windows. It's still in beta at this point, but you can check it out here: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/commandline/wsl/about. If you want to install it, you'll need Windows 10 Anniversary Update build 14393 or later.


There's Portable Ubuntu for Windows.

It runs Ubuntu as a windows application, instead of having to boot it separately.

  • 1
    Yawn, he didn't ask for a VM. – mathepic May 2 '11 at 23:07
  • @mathepic - It isn't a VM. – Brian Vandenberg May 2 '11 at 23:21
  • 1
    from the article (since your homepage is a broken link), it looks like its a VM that integrates with Windows. – mathepic May 2 '11 at 23:24
  • @mathepic - As you pointed out, the homepage link is broken. I'll remove that. However, the following wikipedia entry backs up my statement: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Brian Vandenberg May 3 '11 at 15:28

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