Essential DOS Commands

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Overview

List of some of the most used MS-DOS commands and their usages with examples.
Essential DOS Commands
Command and Usage Examples
C:
Go to the C: drive. Similarly A: and D: etc.
C:
CD
Change directory. When you change directory, the prompt changes, showing the path of the directory you are currently in.

Note, directory is the term used by DOS for what Windows calls a folder.

CD\ takes you to the top of the directory tree (typically to C:) .

CD.. moves you one level up the directory tree (i.e. up towards the root directory).

CD <DIRECTORYNAME> takes you to that directory. You can use one or more subdirectory names, separated by \ e.g.
CD WINNT\Media takes you to the directory C:\WINNT\Media

To change to another path, type the full path with slashes. e.g.
CD \WINDOWS\SYSTEM

CLS
Clear the screen.
CLS
DEL
Delete one or more files in the current directory. Can be used with the '*' and the '?' wildcards.

DEL *.* will delete ALL files in the current directory, USE WITH CAUTION.

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(Note: DEL cannot be used to delete directories. Use RD to remove a directory.)

DEL <VIRUS.EXE> deletes virus.exe

DEL *.JPG will delete all files with the extension JPG.

DEL MY*.* will delete all files beginning with MY and with any extension.

DEL MY??.* will delete files that are 4 characters long and begin with MY and with any extension.

DIR
Displays the contents of a directory (folder).

Note, directory is the term used by DOS for what Windows calls a folder.

These switches can be combined, so DIR /W /P will return multiple rows listing a page at a time.

You can use the '*' and the '?' wildcards to search for a particular file. The ? character represents ONE character, and the * character represents multiple characters.

DIR *.* lists all the files in a directory.

DIR displays all files and folders in the current directory. Folders are indicated in the list by <DIR>.
Files are usually listed by name.

DIR /P displays the contents a page at a time, i.e. as many as will fit in your command line window. Press any key to display the next page.

DIR /W displays the files/folders in multiple rows. This view gives less information per file.

DIR *.JPG displays all files with the extension JPG in the current directory and all subdirectories.

DIR MY??.* displays all files beginning with MY, exactly 4 characters long, and with any extension.

DIR /S lists the contents of all subdirectories.

DIR /AH displays all hidden files.

EDIT
Runs DOS EDIT (a simple text editor). Useful for editing batch files and viewing logs. This command requires QBASIC.EXE to be present.
EDIT <VIRUSLOG.TXT> opens the file viruslog.txt and allows you to edit it.

EDIT <NEWFILE.TXT> creates a new file called newfile.txt and opens it up for you to edit.

HELP
Displays DOS Help. For help on an individual command, type HELP then the command for which you want more information.
HELP DIR displays information on the DIR command.
MD
Make directory. Creates a new directory below the current one. (The command can also be written as MKDIR)
MD <NEWDIR> creates a new directory called Newdir.
PRINT
Prints the specified file (if the printer is supported in DOS - many are not).
PRINT <LOGFILE.TXT>

Prints LOGFILE.TXT

RD
Remove directory. Removes a subdirectory of the current directory. The directory you want to remove must be empty of all files. (The command can also be written as RMDIR)
RD <DIRECTORYNAME>
RENAME
Rename a file. You must use the full file name including the suffix.
RENAME <OLDNAME.EXE> <NEWNAME.EXE>
TYPE
Displays the contents of a file on the screen. If you use this command on a file which is not a text file, the display will be unintelligible. Use with "|MORE" to display the text on a page by page basis, and prevent it scrolling off the screen. "|" is a pipe character.
TYPE C:\README.TXT|MORE
Things to remember

  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.
Videos for Essential DOS Commands
How to use MS-DOS!
MS DOS (Command Prompt) Basics

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