Microsoft's first operating system was called "DOS"—Disk Operating System. It is still inside every Windows system, and those who seek it (now called the "Command Line") can find it. The Command Line is a bare-bones control of the computer, and it doesn't correct mistakes or simplify things for you like Windows (sometimes) does. Still, the Command Line is a welcome simplification itself, in that you can sidestep the frequent requirement to go from window to window, accessing File Explorer, accessing the Task Manager, etc. Some tasks you can do in a couple of keystrokes at the Command Line. We have a library of tips to take you to your first experience with Command Line and then from moving files one-by-one in Windows to moving hundreds at a time, from muttering to yourself at renaming dozens of files with Windows to whistling happily as you do the same thing with a few keystrokes in Command Line. Command Line is "old school," but it doesn't have the operating decorum of Windows, and sometimes that can be a good thing.
Tips, Tricks, and Answers
The following articles are available for the 'Command Line' topic. Click the article''s title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.
Changing Font Size in a Command Prompt Window
If you work at the command level very much, you may want to change the fonts that are used. You can control what typefaces to use as well as the size of the characters in just a few seconds time.
Clearing the Address Resolution Protocol Cache
Corrupt or unwanted Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) cache entries can cause connectivity errors. Here is how to flush or clear the ARP cache.
Command Prompt's New Tricks
Command Prompt has been around for a while in various versions of Windows. With Windows 10 the Command Prompt window has developed a few new tricks, detailed in this tip.
Completely Delete Files with Cipher
When you delete a file in Windows, the operating system only removes the file from view. The deleted content can still be easily recovered using data recovery software. Using Windows' built-in Cipher command will delete your files securely.
Copying Files Using the Command Line
The copy command can be a timesaver over trying to do the similar sort of thing with Windows Explorer. You can copy hundreds of files with just one command, and you can even concatenate files together. Getting familiar with copy can make you more efficient in the use of your system.
Counting Files and Subfolders Using the Command Prompt
There are times when you might need to know how many files or subfolders are in a folder. Using the command prompt, you can count the number of items contained inside a folder quickly.
Displaying All the Files in a Folder using the Command Prompt
Displaying all the files a folder contains is an easy task in Windows. One way you can display the files is using command prompt commands, as discussed in this tip.
Displaying the Command Prompt in Windows 8
Some commands require the use of the command prompt window. How you display that essential window in Windows 8 can be a bit elusive. Here's the different ways you can pop it into view.
Displaying the Command Prompt Window
You may have the need to perform repetitive operations or group several commands together to run as a batch. In such cases, being familiar with the Command Prompt window can be a real time saver.
Generate a Wireless Network Report
If you have Wi-Fi connection problems, Windows 10 can provide a report to help diagnose possible issues. Using Command Prompt, you can run what Microsoft calls a Wireless Network Report.
Introduction to Regular Expressions
Regular expressions are usually the domain of computer programmers. There are times, though, when an end-user might find that knowing a little about regular expressions can come in handy. This tip, therefore, introduces you to the topic.
Listing Folder and Directory Content Using Command Prompt
Using Command Prompt to generate file listing the contents of a directory is quick and easy. Here's how to do it.
Moving Files Using the Command Line
The MOVE command can be a timesaver over trying to do the similar sort of thing with File Explorer. You can move hundreds of files with just one command. Getting familiar with MOVE can make you more efficient in the use of your system.
Quickly Finding Your IP Address
IP addresses identify your device on IP-governed networks. If you need to find your IP address quickly, you can use the Command Prompt to help find it fast.
Renaming Files Using the Command Line
The rename command can really be a timesaver over trying to do the similar sort of thing with Windows Explorer. You can rename hundreds of files in the same folder with just one command, and the rename happens instantly. Getting familiar with rename can make you much more efficient in the use of your system.
Scanning and Fixing System Files
Is your system running a bit flakey at times? If you think the culprit might be a problem with some of your system files, here's a built-in utility you can call into action.
Setting Time Limits for Windows 10 Users
If your computer is set up in crowded environment, it may be helpful to establish times that an account can be used. You can set time limits for a local account using the Command Prompt within Windows 10.
Switching Between Command Line and File Explorer
Sometimes you can be more effective in a command window, and other times you can be more effective using File Explorer. This tip tells you how you can get from one to the other with ease.
Understanding the Command Line For Loop
A niche command that sometimes comes in handy is the FOR loop. It has several forms and therefore can serve several purposes. This tip provides a brief introduction to the variations of the FOR loop.
Using the Find Command
Finding data within files is a common need. If what you're looking for is in a flat file, you can find what you're after without having to load your file into another program.
Using the Findstr Command
Finding data within files is a common need. If what you're looking for is in a flat file, you can find what you're after without having to load your file into another program. The Findstr command is similar to the Find command but provides a bit more power.
Using the Sort Command
Sorting data is a common task even of end users. Fortunately, The Windows command line provides us with a Sort utility so we don't always have to load our data into another program just to sort it.
Using the Task Scheduler from the Command Line
In another tip you learned a bit about the Windows Task Scheduler. There may be times, however, when you want to perform Task Scheduler actions from the command line. This tip describes most of the commands available at the command line.