Appendix B. A Comparison of Common DOS and Linux Commands

Many Linux commands typed at a shell prompt are similar to the commands you would type in MS-DOS. In fact, some commands are identical.

This appendix provides common commands used at the MS-DOS prompt in Windows(tm) and their counterparts in Linux. Basic examples of how the command are used at the Linux shell prompt are also provided. Note that these commands usually have a number of options. To learn more about each command, read its associated man page (for example, type man ls at the shell prompt to read about the ls command).

Table B-1. Similar Commands

Command's PurposeMS-DOSLinuxBasic Linux Example
Copies filescopycpcp thisfile.txt /home/thisdirectory
Moves filesmovemvmv thisfile.txt /home/thisdirectory
Lists filesdirlsls
Clears screenclsclearclear
Closes prompt windowexitexitexit
Displays or sets datedatedatedate
Deletes filesdelrmrm thisfile.txt
"Echoes" output on the screenechoechoecho this message
Edits files with simple text editoreditpico([a])pico thisfile.txt
Compares the contents of filesfcdiffdiff file1 file2
Finds a string of text in a filefindgrepgrep this word or phrase thisfile.txt
Formats a disketteformat a: (if diskette is in A:)mke2fs or mformat([b])/sbin/mke2fs /dev/fd0 (/dev/fd0 is the Linux equivalent of A:)
Displays command helpcommand /?man([c])man command
Creates a directorymkdirmkdirmkdir directory
View a filemoreless([d])less thisfile.txt
Renames a filerenmvmv thisfile.txt thatfile.txt([e])
Displays your location in the file systemchdirpwdpwd
Changes directories with a specified path (absolute path)cd pathnamecd pathnamecd /directory/directory
Changes directories with a relative pathcd ..
Displays the timetimedatedate
Shows amount of RAM and usememfreefree
a. Pico is a simple text editor; other editors you can use in place of Pico include Emacs and vi.
b. This formats a disk for the DOS filesystem.
c. You can also use info for some commands.
d. The more pager can also be used to page through a file a screen at a time.
e. The mv command can both move a file and, if you want to rename a file in the same directory, you "move" that file to the same directory with a new name, as in this example.