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teckies.tutor / DOS

Basic Guide to DOS Basic Guide to DOS
      Playing with DOS commands

In order to get along with DOS you should learn some basic commands that you will use to display directory content, copy, rename and delete files, plus explore other directories (folders).

DOS has two sets of commands the ones called shell commands or internal commands like DIR, CLS, CD are interpreted by
External commands are separate programs that perform useful tasks such as Format which is actually

First we will review the basic shell commands or internal commands
then take a look at the most popular external commands.

DOS Shell (internal) commands


DIR displays the content of the current directory, if you were at
C:\Windows> and typed DIR, Windows directory content is displayed
DIR has many switches and options you can use, for instance typing
DIR *. will only display directories, the wildcard is very useful because
it acts as a filter excluding all files in the current directory.
DIR filename gets the size the of file and date of creation.


CLS clears the screen moving the cursor back to the top of the screen.


CD or Change Directory is a useful command for exploring directories.
To display the content of the "Help" directory inside "Windows" directory, type CD help if you were at C:\Windows>


MD (Make Directory) is for creating directories, it's the equivalent to Windows' "New Folder" command.
If I want to create my own directory at C and call it myfolder,
I simply type MD myfolder


To get rid of a directory, type RD directoryname


DEL allows you to erase a file, but does not apply to directories
so you could not type "Del directory"
You'd better use /P option when you're not sure which file(s) you're deleting, this will prompt you for confirmation before deleting any file


Use REN or RENAME to rename a file just like in Windows
type REN oldfilename newfilename


Allows you to copy a file from one location to another or make
copies of the same file.


Use TYPE nameoffile to display the file content on the screen.
We will see later how to control the output.

Most shell commands have switches or options that extend their capabilities giving your more control.
For instance using /P with Del will ask you to confirm before deleting any file. Add /O to DIR to sort files/folders alphabetically.
For the complete listing and usage of DOS Shell commands
go to Commands usage section.

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