Conversion: Unix for Windows Users

Microsoft Windows is generally the first operating system most people encounter due to its large share of the desktop/personal computer market. Most users who learn Unix do so after they have gained an understanding of the MS-DOS/Windows environment. This chapter shows you the similarities between Unix and Windows/DOS, making the transition easier for you if you are converting to Unix from a version of DOS or Windows XP (most of these commands will work in Windows 2000 and some will work in Windows 98).

Structural Comparison

There are some fundamental differences in methodology between Windows and Unix, specifically in their file systems. In Unix, the / (slash) represents a separator and is used with commands to indicate a new directory level; in Windows, the \ (backslash) is used for the same purpose. For example, to cd (change directories) to the /var/log directory in Unix, you would type:

cd /var/log

In MS-DOS/Windows, you could navigate to the c:\windows\system directory by typing:

cd c:\windows\system

In Unix, the two directories in the preceding command are var and log (the log directory being subordinate to the var directory in this example) as noted by the / separator. The leading / (called root) is the top-level directory and is where all other directories start in Unix. The Windows directories are windows and system (system being subordinate to the windows directory in this example). The c:\ indicates the starting point of this ...

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