Basic MS-Dos commands

In the operating system MS-Dos , standard system commands have been provided. These commands are meant to carry out common tasks like deleting specific files, changing the directory, listing contents of the specified directory, etc, and in effect create a convenient user interface. The access to the list of basic commands that can be used in the Dos prompt can be really helpful from the user's point of view. In MS-Dos, there is also a help page that opens up once 'type /?' is inserted after the command and this gives additional information about the command.


Here is a list of basic commands that you can use in a DOS prompt (e.g. using a boot disk).

For additional information about these commands, type /? after entering the command in the DOS prompt (e.g. copy/?, dir/?), this will normally open a help page.

The command prompts:

  • cd <directory name>
    • cd is the basic DOS command, it allows you to change directory
  • dir [name of directory]
    • dir allows you to list all contents of the specified directory
  • copy <source> <destination>
    • Allows you to copy a file from a <source> folder to a <destination folder>
  • del<file>
    • Deletes a specific file
  • move <source> <destination>
    • Allows you to move a file from a <source> folder to a <destination folder>
  • ren <source> <destination>
    • Renames the specified file
  • edit <filename>
    • Opens the default DOS editor to allow modification of a specified file
  • cls
    • Clears the DOS screen
  • exit
    • Leaves the DOS terminal
Published by netty5. Latest update on February 13, 2012 at 06:37 PM by Paul Berentzen.
This document, titled "Basic MS-Dos commands," is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM (
Connecting to an FTP server under MS-DOS