How do I run a file from MS-DOS?

Windows DOS command prompt windowTo execute or run a file from MS-DOS you must run an executable file,  which are .exe, .bat, or .com files. If you are uncertain with what files in the current directory using the dir command can list all files in the current directory. If you only want to view executable files you can type the below command at the MS-DOS prompt to list .exe files, or replace .exe with .bat or .com to see those files in the current directory.

dir *.exe

Once you have determined the name of the executable file you want to run, type the name of the executable file at the MS-DOS prompt. For example, if the file were game.exe you would type "game" at the MS-DOS prompt.

If you do not see the file you want to execute or are receiving an error such as "bad command or file name," it is likely that the file is not in the current directory. Move to the directory of the executable file and execute the command again. For example, lets assume you downloaded the executable file game.exe and it is on the Windows XP desktop. Using the cd command you can switch to the desktop directory by typing a command similar to the example below.


or in some cases if you're already in the username directory of documents and settings you can type the below command.

cd desktop

Finally, it is important to realize that when running an executable file from an MS-DOS shell (running MS-DOS within Windows) that the program will still use Windows to run. If you want to run any other file types you can use the MS-DOS start command and type: "start name_of_file" where name_of_file is the files name.

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