Most Important Commands in MS DOS | Basic Commands in MS - DOS



When you are using a Microsoft MS-DOS command prompt shell window, you can type the following commands into the window. Click the command shown below for a description of how to
use that command.

  • cd : Change directory or display current directory path.
  • cls : Clear the window.
  • dir : Display list of contents of current directory.
  • help : Display list of commands or help about a command.
  • notepad : Run the Windows Notepad text editor. 
  • type : Displays the contents of a text file.

Some other useful commands are:

  • assoc : Displays or modifies filename extension associations.
  • attrib : Displays or changes file attributes.
  • call : Calls one batch program file from another.
  • chkdsk : Checks a disk and displays a status report.
  • chkntfs : Displays or modifies the checking of disk at startup.
  • color : Sets the text and background colors.
  • comp : Compares the contents of two files or sets of files.
  • copy : Copies one or more files to another location. See also: xcopy
  • date : Displays or sets the computer's date. See also: time
  • del (or erase) : Deletes one or more files.
  • defrag : Defragment the specified storage device.
  • doskey : Display command history; define macros.
  • echo : Displays messages, or turns command echoing on/off.
  • edit : Runs the MS-DOS text editor. See also: notepad
  • exit : Closes the MS-DOS window.
  • fc : Compares two files or sets of files and displays the differences.
  • find : Searches for a text string in a file or files.
  • findstr : Search for a regular expression text string in a file or files.
  • goto : Used in a batch program file to jump to a particular line.
  • if : Used in a batch program file to perform conditional testing.
  • md (or mkdir) : Creates a directory.
  • more : Displays the contents of a file one screen at a time.
  • move : Moves one or more files from one directory to another directory.
  • rd (or rmdir) : Removes a directory.
  • rem : Used in a batch program file to identify comments.
  • ren (or rename) : Renames a file or files.
  • sort : Sorts input.
  • start : Starts a new window to run a specified program or command.
  • time : Displays or sets the computer's time.
  • tree : Graphically displays the directory structure of a drive or directory.
  • xcopy : Copies files and directory trees. The following internet related commands are not
  • part of MS-DOS but can be typed at the MS-DOS command prompt:
  • arp : Displays ARP (address resolution protocol) translation tables.
  • ftp : FTP (file transfer program) to transfer files to/from server.
  • ipconfig : Displays internet configuration, including IP address.
  • netsh : Network services shell.
  • nslookup : Lookup IP address to/from domain name.
  • netstat : Displays current TCP/IP network connections and statistics.
  • ping : Ping the specified internet IP address or host name.
  • telnet : Starts a text-based telnet session to the specified host.
  • tftp : Transfers files to/from remote computer running TFTP service.
  • tracert : Traces the route to the specified IP address or host.

The following commands are not part of MS-DOS and do not come with Windows but are available from third parties. Some are equivalent to the Linux utility by the same name.

  • config : Defragment one or more files (rather than entire drive).
  • clip : Copy command output to Windows clipboard.
  • du : Displays disk usage for selected files or directories.
  • lynx : Text based web browser.
  • paste : Paste Windows clipboard to command input.
  • strings : Find all strings of a specified minimum length.
  • whois : Lookup domain ownership information.

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