Examine your Windows files:
$ cd /cygdrive/c $ pwd /cygdrive/c $ ls $Recycle.Bin install.res.1036.dll Boot install.res.1040.dll bootmgr install.res.1041.dll BOOTSECT.BAK install.res.1042.dll cygwin install.res.2052.dll Dell install.res.3082.dll Documents and Settings Intel ...
You can then wander up to your home on your Windows system and examine your files with Unix commands:
myself@WindowsBox /cygdrive/c/Users $ cd myself myself@WindowsBox /cygdrive/c/Users/myself $ ls AppData Application Data AWS BoogieMan Contacts Cookies Cruise 2013 ... $ less testing123.txt This is a test
In fact, you can even zap the contents of a file using /dev/null:
myself@WindowsBox /cygdrive/c/Users/myself $ ls -l testfile -rwx------+ 1 mself None 230 May 27 09:47 testfile $ > testfile $ ls -l testfile -rwx------+ 1 mself None 0 May 27 09:49 testfile
Similarly, from Windows, you can open a command prompt and cd over to C:\cygwin or even go through the Windows GUI if you are so inclined.
You can also expand your Windows search path within a batch file in much the same that you would a Unix path, but with a couple small changes. Instead of $PATH, Windows uses %path%. Instead of : as a directory separator, Windows uses a ;. You can then use Unix
commands within your Windows scripts to add functionality and ease to your tasks.
The beauty of cygwin is that you can use Unix commands to work on files on Windows systems. This can be a lot faster than moving the files you need to work on to a Unix system, processing them there, and moving them back -- especially if you have work you'd like to schedule to run off hours. All the awk'ing, sorting, grep'ing, wc'ing and uniq'ing that you want to do can be done in place.
An extensive online user's guide is available from the cygwin site and in several formats, including a PDF -- easier to use in my estimation -- or you csan just read the documentation online at http://cygwin.com/cygwin-ug-net/cygwin-ug-net.pdf.
By the way, you don't have to pay to use cygwin, but it's wise to read the copyright section of the FAQ if you are planning to use it for porting a proprietary application.