The first step in running a VPS is understanding the Linux command line. Coming from a Windows environment, I did not have a lot of experience with this. And although my provider came well recommended on several online reviews I read and touted their unlimited support, the support they actually provided tended to be terse and take for granted a level of experience with Linux that unfortunately I did not have.
First, some tools. If you're working on XP, the following two programs are free and invaluable: