Windows and Unix command line equivalents

This lists similar commands between Windows and Unix command lines.

To get help on a Windows command, use the /? option, for example date /?.

Windows command Unix command Notes
arp arp
assign ln Create a file link
assign ln -s On Unix, a directory may not have multiple links, so instead a symbolic link must be created with ln -s.
assoc file
at at
See also schtasks.
attrib chown
Sets ownership on files and directories
cd cd On Windows, cd alone prints the current directory, but on Unix cd alone returns the user to his home directory.
cd pwd On Windows, cd alone prints the current directory.
chkdsk fsck Checks filesystem and repairs filesystem corruption on hard drives.
cls clear
Clear the terminal screen
copy cp
date Date on Unix prints the current date and time. Date and time on Windows print the date and time respectively, and prompt for a new date or time.
del rm
deltree rm -r Recursively deletes entire directory tree
dir ls "dir" also works on some versions of Unix.
doskey /h
F7 key
history The Unix history is part of the Bash shell.
edit vi
edit brings up a simple text editor in Windows. On Unix, the environment variable EDITOR should be set to the user's preferred editor.
exit exit
On Unix, pressing the control key and D simultaneously logs the user out of the shell.
explorer nautilus
The command explorer brings up the file browser on Windows.
fc diff
find grep
ftp ftp
help man "help" by itself prints all the commands
hostname hostname
ipconfig /all ifconfig -a The /all option lets you get the MAC address of the Windows PC
mem top Shows system status
mkdir mkdir
more more
move mv
net session w
net statistics uptime
nslookup nslookup
ping ping
print lpr Send a file to a printer.
shutdown -r
shutdown -r
regedit edit /etc/* The Unix equivalent of the Windows registry are the files under /etc and /usr/local/etc. These are edited with a text editor rather than with a special-purpose editing program.
rmdir rmdir
rmdir /s rm -r Windows has a y/n prompt. To get the prompt with Unix, use rm -i. The i means "interactive".
schtasks at
set env

Set on Windows prints a list of all environment variables. For individual environment variables, set <variable> is the same as echo $<variable> on Unix.

set Path echo $PATH Print the value of the environment variable using set in Windows.
shutdown shutdown Without an option, the Windows version produces a help message
shutdown -s shutdown -h Also need -f option to Windows if logged in remotely
sort sort
start & On Unix, to start a job in the background, use command &. On Windows, the equivalent is start command. See How to run a Windows command as a background job like Unix ?.
systeminfo uname -a
tasklist ps "tasklist" is not available on some versions of Windows. See also this article on getting a list of processes in Windows using Perl
title ? In Unix, changing the title of the terminal window is possible but complicated. Search for "change title xterm".
tracert traceroute
tree find
ls -R
On Windows, use tree | find "string"
type cat
ver uname -a
xcopy cp -R Recursively copy a directory tree

Please note

Links open in a separate window. The links on the Unix commands go to an online version of the FreeBSD manual page.

Web links

Copyright © Ben Bullock 2009-2024. All rights reserved. For comments, questions, and corrections, please email Ben Bullock ( or use the discussion group at Google Groups. / Privacy / Disclaimer