Microsoft DOS dir command

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About dir
Availability
Syntax
Examples

About dir

The dir command allows you to see the available files and directories in the current directory. In addition to listing the contents of a directory, the dir command also shows the last modification date and time, as well as the file size.

Availability

The dir command is an internal command and is available in the below Microsoft operating systems.

All versions of MS-DOS
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows NT
Windows 2000
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7

Syntax

Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 syntax

Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory.

DIR [drive:][path][filename] [/A[[:]attributes]] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/L] [/N] [/O[[:]sortorder]] [/P] [/Q] [/R] [/S] [/T[[:]timefield]] [/W] [/X] [/4]

[drive:][path][filename] Specifies drive, directory, or files to list.
/A Displays files with specified attributes.
attributes
D Directories R Read-only files
H Hidden files A Files ready for archiving
S System files I Not content indexed files
L Reparse Points - Prefix meaning not
  
/B Uses bare format (no heading information or summary).
/C Display the thousand separator in file sizes. This is the default. Use /-C to disable display of separator.
/D Same as wide but files are list sorted by column.
/L Uses lowercase.
/N New long list format where filenames are on the far right.
/O List by files in sorted order.
sortorder N By name (alphabetic) S By size (smallest first) E By extension (alphabetic) D By date/time (oldest first) G Group directories first - Prefix to reverse order
/P Pauses after each screenful of information.
/Q Display the owner of the file.
/R Display alternate data streams of the file.
/S Displays files in specified directory and all subdirectories.
/T Control what time field displayed or used for sorting
timefield C Creation
A Last Access
W Last Written
/W Uses wide list format.
/X This displays the short names generated for non-8dot3 file names. The format is that of /N with the short name inserted before the long name. If no short name is present, blanks are displayed in its place.
/4 Displays four-digit years

Microsoft Windows 95, 98, and ME syntax

Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory.

DIR [drive:][path][filename] [/P] [/W] [/A[[:]attributes]] [/O[[:]sortorder]] [/S] [/B] [/L] [/V]

[drive:][path][filename] Specifies drive, directory, or files to list. (Could be enhanced file specification or multiple filespecs.)
/P Pauses after each screenful of information.
/W Uses wide list format.
/A attributes:
D Directories
R Read-only files
H Hidden files
A Files ready for archiving
S System files
- Prefix meaning not
/O List by files in sorted order, sortorder:
N By name (alphabetic)
S By size (smallest first)
E By extension (alphabetic)
D By date and time (earliest first)
G Group directories first
- Prefix to reverse order
A By Last Access Date (earliest first)
/S Displays files in specified directory and all subdirectories.
/B Uses bare format (no heading information or summary).
/L Uses lowercase.
/V Verbose mode.

Switches may be preset in the DIRCMD environment variable. Override preset switches by prefixing any switch with - (hyphen)--for example, /-W.

Examples

dir

Lists all files and directories in the directory that you are currently in. By default the dir command will list the files and directories in alphabetic order.

dir *.exe

The above command lists any file that ends with the .exe file extension. See the wildcard definition for further wildcard examples.

dir *.txt *.doc

The above is using multiple filespecs to list any files ending with .txt and .doc in one command.

dir /ad

List only the directories in the current directory. If you need to move into one of the directories listed use the cd command.

dir /s

Lists the files in the directory that you are in and all sub directories after that directory, if you are at root "C:\>" and type this command this will list to you every file and directory on the C: drive of the computer.

dir /p

If the directory has lots of files and you cannot read all the files as they scroll by, you can use this command and it displays all files one page at a time.

dir /w

If you don't need the info on the date or time and other information on the files, you can use this command to list just the files and directories going horizontally, taking as little as space needed.

dir /s /w /p

This would list all the files and directories in the current directory and the sub directories after that, in wide format and one page at a time.

dir /on

List the files in alphabetical order by the names of the files.

dir /o-n

List the files in reverse alphabetical order by the names of the files.

dir \ /s |find "i" |more

A nice command to list all directories on the hard drive, one screen page at a time, and see the number of files in each directory and the amount of space each occupies.

dir > myfile.txt

Takes the output of dir and re-routes it to the file myfile.txt instead of outputting it to the screen.

Additional information

  • See our directory definition for further information and related links on this term.