Tagged With cygwin


Windows only: If you need your Unix command line on a Windows PC, chances are you use a terminal emulator like Cygwin—and if you do, you want to check out MinTTY. The MinTTY terminal window for Cygwin puts a native Windows interface on Cygwin which offers more keyboard shortcuts and colours and styles. Check out the difference between Cygwin and MinTTY side-by-side in the thumbnail above. Using MinTTY you can turn on window transparency, set your font, and colours, copy and paste output by just selecting it with your mouse, and scroll up using the Shift+arrow key combination. (Once it's installed, right-click on the MinTTY window and choose Options to customise it's look and keyboard shortcuts.) Here's what the full MinTTY window with transparency turned on looks like.


Linux, Mac, or Windows with Cygwin: If you have ever wanted to show a list of subdirectories underneath the current directory while at the terminal prompt, there's a simple command that can help. Simply run the following command from the bash terminal prompt, which filters the file listing to only show folders:

ls -l | grep ^d

Since typing that whole command every time you want to show a list of directories might get a little tiring, you can use the alias feature to assign it to something you can more easily remember:

alias lsd="ls -l | grep ^d"

Now when you type "lsd" at the prompt, you will see a list containing only the directories, which can be very useful when you are trying to navigate through a messy set of folders. For more on using the command prompt, check out our top 10 command line tools, get your own drop-down Yakuake terminal, or learn to use cron from the command line.


When you need something done quickly, efficiently, and without any software overhead, the command line is where it's at. It was the first way humans told computers what to do, but as graphics became increasingly important, the command line, or terminal, became an insiders' secret weapon. But with the right commands and a little bit of know-how, anyone can get things done from a text-only interface. Let's take a look at 10 commands and tricks that make the terminal more accessible, and more powerful, on any system. Photo by blakepost.