PowerShell vs Bash

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This pages shows the common tasks in both bash and PowerShell.

Simple Commands

The following bash commands have PowerShell alias. (but the options are not the same)


New File

touch name
ni name

New Directory

mkdir name
mkdir name

Copy Directory

cp -r sourceDir destDir
cp -r sourceDir destDir

Directory Size

# current dir size, in kilo bytes
du . -sk
"{0:N2}" -f ((dir -Recurse | measure -Property Length -sum).sum / 1MB)

find program

which myCommandName
gcm myCommandName

Print File Content

cat fname
cat fname

Print First/Last n Lines of File

head -n 50 fname
cat fname | select -first 50

Print last 50 lines of file

tail -n 50 fname
cat fname | select -last 50

Join Files

cat fname1 fname2 > newFileName
cat fname1, fname2 > newFileName


unzip fname.zip
Expand-Archive fname.zip

List Files by File Name Extension

find . -name "*html"
dir * -Recurse -include *html

List Backup Files

find . -name "*~"
dir * -Recurse -Include *~

List Directories

find . -type d
dir -Directory -Recurse

List Files Not Directory

find . -type f
dir -File -Recurse

List Empty Files

find . -size 0
dir -recurse | where {$_.length -eq 0}

List Empty Directories

# list empty dir
dir -Directory -Recurse | where { $_.GetFileSystemInfos().Count -eq 0 }

List File Creation Time

# list file with creation time
dir "c:/Users/john/Pictures/ShareX" | sort CreationTime | Format-Table Name, CreationTime
# list files whose creation date is greater than x
dir "c:/Users/john/Pictures/ShareX" | where { $_.CreationTime -gt [datetime]"2014/05/28" } | sort CreationTime | Format-Table Name, CreationTime

delete file

find . -name "*~" -delete
dir * -Recurse -Include *~ | rm

List Files that Contains Search Text

grep myRegex *html
sls *html -pattern myRegex -CaseSensitive

Compare Files

# compare if 2 files are the same. Any binary file
cmp f1 f2
# show difference of 2 text files
diff f1 f2
# compare if 2 files are the same and or show their differences.
diff (cat f1) (cat f2)

diff, sort, get column etc

sort -Unique


# put content in a file
echo "some" > myfile.txt
echo "some more" >> myfile.txt # append
# put content in a file
"some" > myfile.txt
"some more" >> myfile.txt # append

thanks to Jeffrey Snover of Microsoft for helping on about 10 of the items. (Jeffrey's the inventor of PowerShell)


Practical How-To

list files

list dirs

on dir

on file

Windows config


PowerShell in Depth

Programing PowerShell

Value Types





Data Structure

Loop and Iteration



Profile and Script

Script Examples