DOS and Windows command line overview

Updated: 07/13/2023 by Computer Hope
MS-DOS C:\> prompt

Below is a full list of each of the MS-DOS and Windows command line commands listed on Computer Hope with a brief explanation. This list contains every command ever made available, which means not all the commands are going to work with your version of MS-DOS or Windows. Click the command to view a full help page.

Command Description Type
ansi.sys Defines functions that change display graphics, control cursor movement, and reassign keys. File
append Causes MS-DOS to look in other directories when editing a file or running a command. External
arp Displays, adds, and removes arp information from network devices. External
assign Assign a drive letter to an alternate letter. External
assoc View the file associations. Internal
at Schedule a time to execute commands or programs. External
atmadm Lists connections and addresses seen by Windows ATM (ascynchronous transfer mode) call manager. Internal
attrib Display and change file attributes. External
batch Recovery console command that executes several commands in a file. Recovery
bcdedit Modify the boot configuration data store. External
bootcfg Recovery console command that allows a user to view, modify, and rebuild the boot.ini file. Recovery
break Enable and disable Ctrl+C feature. Internal
cacls View and modify file ACL's. External
call Calls a batch file from another batch file. Internal
cd Changes directories. Internal
chcp Supplement the international keyboard and character set information. External
chdir Changes directories. Internal
chkdsk Check the hard drive running FAT (file allocation table) for errors. External
chkntfs Check the hard drive running NTFS (NTFS file system) for errors. External
choice Specify a listing of multiple options within a batch file. External
clip Redirect command line output to the Windows clipboard. External
cls Clears the screen. Internal
cmd Opens the command-line interpreter called Internal
color Change the foreground and background color of the MS-DOS window. Internal
command Opens the command interpreter. Internal
comp Compares files. External
compact Compresses and uncompress files. External
control Open Control Panel icons from the MS-DOS prompt. External
convert Convert FAT to NTFS. External
copy Copy one or more files to an alternate location. Internal
ctty Change the computer's input/output devices. Internal
date View or change the systems date. Internal
debug Debug utility to create assembly language programs to modify hardware settings. External
defrag Re-arrange the hard drive to help with loading programs. External
del Deletes one or more files. Internal
delete Recovery console command that deletes a file. Internal
deltree Deletes one or more files or directories. External
dir List the contents of one or more directory. Internal
disable Recovery console command that disables Windows system services or drivers. Recovery
diskcomp Compare a disk with another disk. External
diskcopy Copy the contents of one disk and place them on another disk. External
dism Command for enumerating, installs, uninstalls, configures, and updates features and packages in Windows images. External
doskey Command to view and execute commands that were ran in the past. External
dosshell A GUI (graphical user interface) to help with early MS-DOS users. External
driverquery Display a list of installed device drivers. External
drivparm Enables overwrite of original device drivers. Internal
echo Displays messages and enables and disables echo. Internal
edit View and edit files. External
edlin View and edit files. External
emm386 Load extended memory manager. External
enable Recovery console command to enable a disable service or driver. Recovery
endlocal Stops the localization of the environment changes enabled by the setlocal command. Internal
erase Erase files from the computer. Internal
exit Exit from the command interpreter. Internal
expand Expand a Microsoft Windows file back to its original format. External
extract Extract files from the Microsoft Windows cabinets. External
fasthelp Displays a listing of MS-DOS commands and information about them. External
fc Compare files. External
fdisk Setup drive by create and managing partitions on the hard drive. External
find Search for text within a file. External
findstr Searches for a string of text within a file. External
fixboot Writes a new boot sector. Recovery
fixmbr Writes a new boot record to a disk drive. Recovery
for Boolean used in batch files. Internal
format Command to erase and prepare a disk drive. External
ftp Command to connect and operate on an FTP (file transfer protocol) server. External
fType Displays or modifies file types used in file extension associations. Recovery
goto Moves a batch file to a specific label or location. Internal
graftabl Show extended characters in graphics mode. External
help Display a listing of commands and brief explanation. External
if Allows for batch files to perform conditional processing. Internal
ifshlp.sys 32-bit file manager. External
ipconfig Network command to view network adapter settings and assigned values. External
keyb Change layout of keyboard. External
label Change the label of a disk drive. External
lh Load a device driver in to high memory. Internal
listsvc Recovery console command that displays the services and drivers. Recovery
loadfix Load a program above the first 64 k. External
loadhigh Load a device driver in to high memory. Internal
lock Lock the hard drive. Internal
logoff Logoff the currently profile using the computer. External
logon Recovery console command to list installations and enable administrator login. Recovery
map Displays the device name of a drive. Recovery
md Command to create a new directory. Internal
mem Display memory on system. External
mkdir Command to create a new directory. Internal
mklink Creates a symbolic link. Internal
mode Modify the port or display settings. External
more Display one page at a time. External
move Move one or more files from one directory to another directory. Internal
msav Early Microsoft virus scanner. External
msd Diagnostics utility. External
mscdex Utility used to load and access the CD-ROM (Compact Disc Read-Only Memory). External
nbtstat Displays protocol statistics and current TCP/IP connections using NBT (NetBIOS over TCP/IP). External
net Update, fix, or view the network or network settings. External
netsh Configure dynamic and static network information from MS-DOS. External
netstat Display the TCP/IP network protocol statistics and information. External
nlsfunc Load country specific information. External
nslookup Look up an IP address of a domain or host on a network. External
path View and modify the computer's path location. Internal
pathping View and locate locations of network latency. External
pause Command used in batch files to stop the processing of a command. Internal
ping Test and send information to another network computer or network device. External
popd Changes to the directory or network path stored by the pushd command. Internal
power Conserve power with computer portables. External
print Prints data to a printer port. External
prompt View and change the MS-DOS prompt. Internal
pushd Stores a directory or network path in memory so it can be returned to at any time. Internal
qbasic Open the QBasic. External
rd Removes an empty directory. Internal
ren Renames a file or directory. Internal
rename Renames a file or directory. Internal
rmdir Removes an empty directory. Internal
robocopy A robust file copy command for the Windows command line. External
route View and configure Windows network route tables. External
runas Enables users to run a program as a different user. External
sc Communicate with the Service Control Manager and services. External
scandisk Run the ScanDisk utility. External
scanreg Scan registry and recover registry from errors. External
set Change one variable or string to another. Internal
setlocal Enables local environments to be changed without affecting anything else. Internal
setver Change MS-DOS version to trick older MS-DOS programs. External
share Installs support for file sharing and locking capabilities. External
shift Changes the position of replaceable parameters in a batch program. Internal
shutdown Shutdown the computer from the MS-DOS prompt. External
smartdrv Create a disk cache in conventional memory or extended memory. External
sort Sorts the input and displays the output to the screen. External
start Start a separate window in Windows from the MS-DOS prompt. Internal
subst Substitute a directory on your computer for another drive letter. External
switches Remove add functions from MS-DOS. Internal
sys Transfer system files to disk drive. External
telnet Telnet to another computer or device from the prompt. External
time View or modify the system time. Internal
title Change the title of their MS-DOS window. Internal
tracert Visually view a network packets route across a network. External
tree View a visual tree of the hard drive. External
type Display the contents of a file. Internal
undelete Undelete a file that was deleted. External
unformat Unformat a hard drive. External
unlock Unlock a disk drive. Internal
ver Display the version information. Internal
verify Enables or disables the feature to determine if files were written properly. Internal
vol Displays the volume information about the designated drive. Internal
xcopy Copy multiple files, directories, or drives from one location to another. External