Saturday, November 8, 2008

Enhance Windows CLI Experience

My client uses Check Point VPN solution, which does not provide a native Linux client. My work around has been to run Windows XP as a VM for VPN purposes.


Windows lacks numerous Unix tools which I have grown accustomed to and to make matters worse, Windows XP cmd shell is a complete piece of crap.

Open Source to the rescue! By combining Cygwin and Console, I have achieved command line usability *almost* at par with my Linux desktop environment.

Once you find a fast,reliable mirror site, installing Cygwin is straight forward, . Here is a list of non-default packages which I find quite useful:
  1. Editors - vim
  2. Net - netcat, openssh, rsync, stunnel
  3. Security - pwgen
  4. Shells - bash-completion
  5. Utils - diffutils, keychain, screen
  6. Web - lynx
There is no installer for Console (version 2), it is available for download in zip format. Here are few tweaks I did to replace Windows cmd as the terminal program for Cygwin and configure Cygwin as the default shell for Console:
  1. Modify the Cygwin desktop shortcut and specify Console.exe as the Target.

    Shortcut >> Target >> D:\Console2\Console.exe

  2. Apply the following settings to your Console.exe preferences:

    Shell >>D:\cygwin\bin\bash.exe --login -i
    Startup dir >> d:\cygwin\bin

    Copy & Paste >> Copy on select
    Copy newline character >> Unix (LF)

    New Tab 1 >> Ctr + Shift + T
    Rename tab >> Ctr + Shift + R

    Main >> Shell >>D:\cygwin\bin\bash.exe --login -i
    Main >> Startup dir >> d:\cygwin\bin

Thats it! Enjoy the usability of a Linux style terminal and shell in Windows environment. So long putty, good-bye cmd.exe!


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