MS-DOS and Windows command line errors

A duplicate file name exists, or the file cannot be found
Abort, Retry, Fail?
Access denied
Bad command or file name
Bad or missing command interpreter
Cannot perform a cyclic copy
Divide overflow
Drive not ready
Duplicate file name or file not found
File cannot be copied onto itself
File creation error
File not found
General Failure
Insufficient disk space
Internal stack overflow
Invalid directory
Invalid drive specification
Invalid file name or file not found
Invalid media, track 0 bad or unusable
Invalid number of parameters
Invalid parameter
Invalid Switch
Non-System disk or disk error
Not ready, reading drive X
Parse error
The system cannot find the drive specified
The system cannot find the file specified
The system cannot find the path specified
Write fault error
Write protect

A duplicate file name exists, or the file cannot be found

When attempting to rename a file, the file does not exist or there is already a file with that name. Verify no other file exists with the same name in the current directory and that you're typing the file you want to rename correctly.

Abort, Retry, Fail?

This error is commonly encountered when attempting to read a diskette that is not readable or if no disk or disc in the drive trying to be read.

Access denied

Often caused when the file or directory has read-only attributes, is being modified by another person or program on the computer, or other network permissions that prevent it from being deleted or modified.

  • See the attrib command for further information and options on this command.

Bad command or file name

Commonly caused by a misspelling or error when typing a command or when the command attempting to be used is not a valid command for your version of MS-DOS or Windows.

Bad or missing command interpreter

The computer cannot locate the command.com, an important file that enables the computer to boot into the operating system. See document CH000012 for additional information and help with this error message.

Cannot perform a cyclic copy

This error occurs when you're trying to copy or xcopy all directories and files and that directory also contains the directory you're copying all the files to. If this command were to be allowed it would get into a loop and would never stop copying the same files over and over. When using the xcopy command if you're copying all subdirectories you must copy those files and folders to a completely separate directory or drive.

Divide overflow

Program has attempted to divide something by zero. This error is often caused by an error in the program you're running on your computer. Verify there are no available patches or other updates for the software you're using on your computer.

Drive not ready

Disk or disc in the drive is not readable.

Duplicate file name or file not found

When attempting to rename a file, the file does not exist or there is already a file with that name. Verify no other file exists with the same name in the current directory and that you're typing the file you want to rename correctly.

File cannot be copied onto itself

An attempt to copy a file could not be completed because the file already exists or same source and destination. Copy the file to an alternate drive or directory.

File creation error

Directory could be full because of the DOS limitation of files in one directory, the file already exist, or the file was not copied correctly. Try creating or copying the file in a different directory.

File not found

The file you attempted to list, copy, or edit does not exist in the directory you're in. Verify you're in the correct directory and that the file exists in that directory.

This error may also occur if you're using a back slash instead of a forward slash for switches on commands. For example, doing dir \p instead of the proper dir /p.

General Failure

An unknown error has occurred that is not known by MS-DOS. If this is given when trying to read the hard drive, you may need to format the hard drive as it could be failing or already bad.

Insufficient disk space

Disk is full or, if you are trying to copy am file to a disk, the file is too big to fit on the disk.

Internal stack overflow

The MS-DOS internal storage areas are full. You may need to go into your config.sys and increase the STACKS=0,0

Invalid directory

The directory or path you attempted to enter does not exist in the directory or drive you're currently in.

Invalid drive specification

The drive letter you're typing does not exist on the computer.

Invalid file name or file not found

This error occurs when attempting to rename, copy, or otherwise manipulate a file the file does not exist. Verify you're typing the file you want to rename correctly.

Invalid media, track 0 bad or unusable

Format command cannot format the specified disk or the disk capacity is invalid, or bad disk.

Invalid number of parameters

When the command was typed, something was left out that DOS needed by the command, it was misTyped, or a space was placed where one was not needed.

This error commonly occurs when you're typing a directory in the MS-DOS or the Windows command line that has spaces in it. For example using the xcopy command to copy files in the Documents and Settings folder. When typing a directory with spaces in MS-DOS make sure to surround the path with quotes. For example, instead of typing c:\documents and settings type c:\documents and settings.

Invalid parameter

Typed a command correctly but specified the incorrect parameter, such as format /z.

Invalid Switch

The wrong slash was typed, for example: cd/ instead of cd\.

Non-System disk or disk error

Not ready, reading drive X

The drive letter you're typing does not exist on the computer or there is no disk or disc in the drive.

Parse error

This error occurs when the command you're typing in has invalid syntax. For example, if you're surrounding your path in quotes and leave out the ending quotes.

The system cannot find the drive specified.

The drive letter you're typing does not exist on the computer.

The system cannot find the file specified

This error occurs when attempting to rename, copy, or otherwise manipulate a file the file does not exist. Verify you're typing the file you want to rename correctly.

The system cannot find the path specified

The directory or path you attempted to enter does not exist in the directory or drive you're currently in.

Write fault error

Tried to reroute text to a device that is not connected, is not valid or not hooked up.

Write protect

Tried to write to a disk that is write protected.

Additional information