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Unix and Linux include a number of very useful programs. Windows has some that are similar, but you can also find actual Unix tools for Windows.

Where can I find Unix Tools for Windows?

If you've worked for any length of time on a Unix or Linux system, one of the things you begin to miss when you move to Windows is the collection of command-line tools that are part of most every installation. Almost everything can be done with Windows tools, but for those things that can't the old Unix standbys would be nice. Even for those that can there's a certain simplicity once you've mastered the Unix toolset that can be hard to recapture.

Cygwin is the canonical port of Unix tools to Win32. Chances are whatever you're looking for is here. I've used several of the Cygwin tools for years. I have only two issues with Cygwin: it now uses a setup program that is less than intuitive, and most of the Cygwin tools depend on a Unix emulation DLL. The setup creates a directory layout that for obvious reasons looks very Unix-like. In fact the default installation sets up a Unix emulation environment running the bash shell.

If just grabbing a tool and running it is more to your liking, then GNU Utilities for Win32 may do the trick. These tools are dependant only on the C runtime. Extract what you need from the downloaded ZIP file and you're ready to run.

Article C1843 - September 23, 2003 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

May 6, 2004 5:11 PM

I'am very upset that "Cygwin DLL works with all non-beta, non "release candidate", ix86 32 bit versions of Windows since Windows 98, with the exception of Windows CE.", cause I'll hope in future this restriction disappear.

February 15, 2008 6:43 AM

I hope you find this usefull , even after all this time. Otherwise, I home someone else finds this link usefull.
Windows Services for UNIX

Pesky Rabbit
April 17, 2009 1:16 AM

An alternative that's faster, runs native on Windows (including 64-bit Vista) and follows Windows conventions for file names, etc., is Hamilton C shell. It's not free, but I think you get what you pay for.

Lee Slaughter
July 18, 2009 9:07 AM

the url for the gnu unix tools is busted.

I just double checked and they work for me.
- Leo

John Yuim
January 22, 2011 4:51 AM

System backups shouldn't be a hassle. A good backup cron will run for ages.

January 15, 2013 2:47 AM

GNU utilities for Win32

(there's also "GnuWin Packages" )

(and "Picnix Utilities", under BSD License:)

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