Microsoft DOS fc command

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

About fc

FC, or file compare, is used to compare two files against each other. Once completed, fc returns lines that differ between the two files. If no lines differ, you will receive a message indicating no differences encountered.


The fc command is an external command that is available in the below Microsoft operating systems as fc.exe.

MS-DOS 3.3x and above
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows NT
Windows 2000
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
Windows 10

Fc 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

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

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

Give 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 it may be necessary to add quotes around the complete path as shown in this example.

Additional information

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