MS-DOS and Windows command line fc command

Updated: 12/30/2021 by Computer Hope
fc command at a command line C prompt.

The fc (file compare) command is used to compare two files. Once fc is run and completed, it returns lines that differ between the two files. If no lines differ, you will receive a message indicating such.

Availability

Fc is an external command available for the following Microsoft operating systems as fc.exe.

Fc syntax

Windows 10 and Windows 11 syntax

Compares two files or sets of files and displays the differences between them.

FC [/A] [/C] [/L] [/LBn] [/N] [/OFF[LINE]] [/T] [/U] [/W] [/nnnn] [drive1:][path1]filename1 [drive2:][path2]filename2
FC /B [drive1:][path1]filename1 [drive2:][path2]filename2
/A Displays only first and last lines for each set of differences.
/B Performs a binary comparison.
/C Disregards the case of letters.
/L Compares files as ASCII text.
/LBn Sets the maximum consecutive mismatches to the specified number of lines.
/N Displays the line numbers on an ASCII comparison.
/OFF[LINE] Do not skip files with offline attribute set.
/T Does not expand tabs to spaces.
/U Compare files as UNICODE text files.
/W Compresses white space (tabs and spaces) for comparison.
/nnnn Specifies the number of consecutive lines that must match after a mismatch.
[drive1:][path1]filename1 Specifies the first file or set of files to compare.
[drive2:][path2]filename2 Specifies the second file or set of files to compare.

Windows 8 and earlier syntax

Compares two files or sets of files and displays the differences between them.

FC [/A] [/C] [/L] [/LBn] [/N] [/T] [/W] [/nnnn] [drive1:][path1]filename1 [drive2:][path2]filename2
FC /B [drive1:][path1]filename1 [drive2:][path2]filename2
/A Displays only first and last lines for each set of differences.
/B Performs a binary comparison.
/C Disregards the case of letters.
/L Compares files as ASCII text.
/LBn Sets the maximum consecutive mismatches to the specified number of lines.
/N Displays the line numbers on an ASCII comparison.
/T Does not expand tabs to spaces.
/W Compresses white space (tabs and spaces) for comparison.
/nnnn Specifies the number of consecutive lines that must match after a mismatch.
[drive1:][path1]filename1 Specifies the first file or set of files to compare.
[drive2:][path2]filename2 Specifies the second file or set of files to compare.

Fc examples

fc autoexec.bat config.sys

Gives a file comparison between the config.sys and the autoexec.bat in the current directory.

fc c:\autoexec.bat c:\config.sys /b

Gives a file comparison between the config.sys and the autoexec.bat in the root directory in binary format.

fc "C:\Program Files (x86)\A.txt" "C:\Program Files (x86)\B.txt"

If your directory or file name has spaces, adding quotes around the complete path may be necessary, as shown in this example.