Trying Another OS? Use Your Windows Knowledge as a Fast Track to the Commands You Need

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Trying Another OS? Use Your Windows Knowledge as a Fast Track to the Commands You Need

Thanks to virtualization environments like Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 and bootable LiveDistro (Live CD) Linux distros, it's easier than ever to test-drive another operating system without blowing away your current favorite. You may want to take time to download an operating system manual or invest in a good third-party book after you decide on a new OS, but in the meantime, you'd probably appreciate an easy way to learn its commands.

UCG to the Rescue

The Tom's Hardware website features the Universal Command Guide for Operating Systems page, based on the book of the same name by Guy Lotgering and the Universal Command Guide (UCG) Training Team. The UCG web page builds on your knowledge of your favorite operating system's commands to teach you the equivalent(s) in others. It includes commands for Windows versions from 9x through XP, OpenBSD 2.7, Red Hat Linux, Solaris 7 and 8, MacOS 9.1, Novell NetWare 3 through 6, and AIX 4.3.3. So, whether you're taking Linux for a spin or going back to DOSland for some retro gaming, you can probably find the commands you need.

Turning What You Know About Windows Into Knowledge of a New OS

To use the UCG, enter a command you are familiar with and select the operating system you're trying (or use the default ALL to discover matching commands in all supported operating systems). UCG lists the operating system(s) with a matching command. Click More info… to see option switches and, more importantly, equivalent commands from other operating systems. For example, the scandisk command for checking and repairing disks in DOS/Windows is the equivalent of the Linux/BSD/Solaris/AIX fsck command, while fdisk is the command used for disk partitioning in both the DOS and Linux/BSD/Solaris/AIX families, but diskpart and diskmgmt.msc are used in Windows XP.

Not Perfect, But Handy

Some versions of Unix aren't covered, and because the book the website is based on was published in 2002, there are some gaps in coverage. However, for a quick and easy tool that uses what you know to make you smarter, the UCG is worth bookmarking. Even if you're perfectly happy with your current OS, it's fun to dig around and discover how different operating systems perform the same tasks.

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