Knowing the commands for MS-DOS can be very useful, especially as a last resort in the event that Windows does not start up correctly. This article will introduce you to the complete list of existing commands and what they do.
Launch the Command Interpreter
One of the most effective ways to control your system is via the MS-DOS command interpreter. This tool analyzes your commands, then translates them into language that your computer can understand and execute.
To launch this program, go to Start > Programs > Accessories > Command interpreter.
Accessing the Complete List of the Existing MS-DOS Commands
You will first need to launch the command prompt. To do so, click Start > Run. Then, type cmd, and press the [Enter] key. The command prompt should now open.
To access the complete list of MS-DOS commands, type help.
The Complete List of MS-DOS Commands
For more information, enter HELP after the command.
ansi.sys Defines functions that change display graphics, control cursor movement, and reassign keys.
append Causes MS-DOS to look in other directories when editing a file or running a command.
arp Displays, adds, and removes arp information from network devices.
assign Assign a drive letter to an alternate letter.
assoc View the file associations.
at Schedule a time to execute commands or programs.
atmadm Lists connections and addresses seen by Windows ATM call manager.
attrib Display and change file attributes.
batch Recovery console command that executes a series of commands in a file.
bcdedit Modify the boot configuration data store.
bootcfg Recovery console command that allows a user to view, modify, and rebuild the boot.ini file.
break Enable and disable Ctrl+C feature.
cacls View and modify file ACL's.
call Calls a batch file from another batch file.
cd Changes directories.
chcp Supplement the International keyboard and character set information.
chdir Changes directories.
chkdsk Check the hard drive running FAT for errors.
chkntfs Check the hard drive running NTFS for errors.
choice Specify a listing of multiple options within a batch file.
clip Redirect command line output to the Windows clipboard.
cls Clears the screen.
cmd Opens the command interpreter.
color Change the foreground and background color of the MS-DOS window.
command Opens the command interpreter.
comp Compares files.
compact Compresses and uncompress files.
control Open Control Panel icons from the MS-DOS prompt.
convert Convert FAT to NTFS.
copy Copy one or more files to an alternate location.
ctty Change the computers input/output devices.
date View or change the systems date.
debug Debug utility to create assembly programs to modify hardware settings.
defrag Re-arrange the hard drive to help with loading programs.
del Deletes one or more files.
delete Recovery console command that deletes a file.
deltree Deletes one or more files or directories.
dir List the contents of one or more directory.
disable Recovery console command that disables Windows system services or drivers.
diskcomp Compare a disk with another disk.
diskcopy Copy the contents of one disk and place them on another disk.
doskey Command to view and execute commands that have been run in the past.
dosshell A GUI to help with early MS-DOS users.
drivparm Enables overwrite of original device drivers.
echo Displays messages and enables and disables echo.
edit View and edit files.
edlin View and edit files.
emm386 Load extended Memory Manager.
enable Recovery console command to enable a disable service or driver.
endlocal Stops the localization of the environment changes enabled by the setlocal command.
erase Erase files from computer.
exit Exit from the command interpreter.
expand Expand a Microsoft Windows file back to it's original format.
extract Extract files from the Microsoft Windows cabinets.
fasthelp Displays a listing of MS-DOS commands and information about them.
fc Compare files.
fdisk Utility used to create partitions on the hard drive.
find Search for text within a file.
findstr Searches for a string of text within a file.
fixboot Writes a new boot sector.
fixmbr Writes a new boot record to a disk drive.
for Boolean used in batch files.
format Command to erase and prepare a disk drive.
ftp Command to connect and operate on an FTP server.
fType Displays or modifies file types used in file extension associations.
goto Moves a batch file to a specific label or location.
graftabl Show extended characters in graphics mode.
help Display a listing of commands and brief explanation.
if Allows for batch files to perform conditional processing.
ifshlp.sys 32-bit file manager.
ipconfig Network command to view network adapter settings and assigned values.
keyb Change layout of keyboard.
label Change the label of a disk drive.
lh Load a device driver in to high memory.
listsvc Recovery console command that displays the services and drivers.
loadfix Load a program above the first 64 k.
loadhigh Load a device driver in to high memory.
lock Lock the hard drive.
logoff Logoff the currently profile using the computer.
logon Recovery console command to list installations and enable administrator login.
map Displays the device name of a drive.
md Command to create a new directory.
mem Display memory on system.
mkdir Command to create a new directory.
mklink Creates a symbolic link.
mode Modify the port or display settings.
more Display one page at a time.
move Move one or more files from one directory to another directory.
msav Early Microsoft Virus scanner.
msd Diagnostics utility.
mscdex Utility used to load and provide access to the CD-ROM.
nbtstat Displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections using NBT.
net Update, fix, or view the network or network settings.
netsh Configure dynamic and static network information from MS-DOS.
netstat Display the TCP/IP network protocol statistics and information.
nlsfunc Load country specific information.
nslookup Look up an IP address of a domain or host on a network.
path View and modify the computers path location.
pathping View and locate locations of network latency.
pause Command used in batch files to stop the processing of a command.
ping Test and send information to another network computer or network device.
popd Changes to the directory or network path stored by the pushd command.
power Conserve power with computer portables.
print Prints data to a printer port.
prompt View and change the MS-DOS prompt.
pushd Stores a directory or network path in memory so it can be returned to at any time.
qbasic Open the QBasic.
rd Removes an empty directory.
ren Renames a file or directory.
rename Renames a file or directory.
rmdir Removes an empty directory.
robocopy A robust file copy command for the Windows command line.
route View and configure Windows network route tables.
runas Enables a user to run a program as a different user.
sc Communicate with the Service Control Manager and services.
scandisk Run the scandisk utility.
scanreg Scan Registry and recover Registry from errors.
set Change one variable or string to another.
setlocal Enables local environments to be changed without affecting anything else.
setver Change MS-DOS version to trick older MS-DOS programs.
share Installs support for file sharing and locking capabilities.
shift Changes the position of replaceable parameters in a batch program.
shutdown Shutdown the computer from the MS-DOS prompt.
smartdrv Create a disk cache in conventional memory or extended memory.
sort Sorts the input and displays the output to the screen.
start Start a separate window in Windows from the MS-DOS prompt.
subst Substitute a folder on your computer for another drive letter.
switches Remove add functions from MS-DOS.
sys Transfer system files to disk drive.
telnet Telnet to another computer or device from the prompt.
time View or modify the system time.
title Change the title of their MS-DOS window.
tracert Visually view a network packets route across a network.
tree View a visual tree of the hard drive.
Type Display the contents of a file.
undelete Undelete a file that has been deleted.
unformat Unformat a hard drive.
unlock Unlock a disk drive.
ver Display the version information.
verify Enables or disables the feature to determine if files have been written properly.
vol Displays the volume information about the designated drive.
xcopy Copy multiple files, directories, or drives from one location to another.
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