I worked in Linux environment before and I have to work in windows XP for my current project. In linux, I enjoyed using script files for automating tasks(even smaller ones), and it did save me a lot of time.

I see windows command prompt is severely handicapped in terms of power and the number of commands available.

I came across Power shell, but I think it is a overkill , because I am not a windows admin or something.

Have you been in my situation before? Do you work on windows and automate tasks? Is there any place where I can learn them ?


5 Answers 5


I had to automate some little tasks at work, and found scripting under Windows (XP) with BAT scripts frustrating.

So the first thing I did was to install Python.

Scripting in Power Shell is not only for sysadmins, and I don't see it as overkill.

Another option you have is to use VBScript (or JScript for that matter). These are made for that exact purpose.

EDIT: as Roman suggested in the comment you could also try Strawberry Perl (or ActivePerl) if you don't like any of the other suggestions.


Powershell is not overkill. The point of Powershell is to bring powerful shell to Windows environments. It can be installed on XP and is included in later editions as default. It even has many linux commands implemented. If you work with Microsoft technologies(.NET, Sharepoint etc.), most of their products support powershell for automation and administration tasks. If you really miss bash though, you could try Cygwin

  • 1
    I could be mistaken, but PS doesn't have "many Linux commands implemented". Instead, it aliases some commonly used Linux commands to a Windows equivalent. Not all of them are exactly mapped in terms of the output, but you'll get similar results as the output of the Linux command.
    – Thomas Owens
    Nov 7, 2011 at 13:35
  • @ThomasOwens I believe you are correct. In Powershell 'ls' is just an alias for 'get-childitem', as is 'dir'.
    – simoraman
    Nov 8, 2011 at 7:29

I tried Powershell but really didn't like it very much - but that's a personal preference. I strongly suggest Cygwin. It allows you to keep all that Linux knowledge and use the tools you already know and you also don't have to change your way of thinking very much.


I really dont like Powershell either

We have our own script parser that allows us to write scripts in C#, a bit like DotNet Script Host. We can debug in dev studio, its very powerful, but not a standard app.

You should look at Iron Python, will let you use Python and dotnet which is a good solution.


I'm a java developer working with windows xp boxes and for certain tasks, powershell is a clear winner, given the windows restraint, the same as you have. I had to hit a web service api and was able to do so with just a few lines of code in powershell.

Being a beginner trying to learn it, I found PowerGUI which is a great tool. It's a free IDE for PowerShell that has intellisense, which really helps!

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