Written by Barry Dysert (last updated May 20, 2019)
Microsoft Windows is a very visually oriented operating system. This makes it easy to use because you can use your mouse to "point and click" your way to the results you want. This ease of use sometimes comes at a price, however. There are times when you need to perform repetitive operations or batch several commands together. By using the Windows Command Prompt, you can perform a wide variety of commands much more quickly than you could with the mouse.
There are about 100 line-oriented commands that can be entered at the Window's Command Prompt. A few examples include: CD (change directory), COPY (copies files to another location), DEL (deletes files), DIR (provides a directory listing of a folder's contents), etc.
Displaying the Command Prompt window in Windows 10 is quite simple. Just type CMD in the Search box at the left of the taskbar and press. enter. A black window appears, often called a DOS box or DOS window. This is the Command Prompt window. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. The Command Prompt window.
If you are using Windows 8, displaying the Command Prompt window is different, but equally simple. I simply move the mouse pointer into the bottom-left corner of the screen (all the way into the bottom-left corner) and then right-click the mouse. You can then choose Command Prompt from the resulting Context menu.
If you are using Windows 7, displaying the Command Prompt window is very easy. Just click the Start button, type CMD, and press Enter.
You can now type line-oriented commands at the prompt ("C:\>") and terminate each one by pressing the Enter key. If you've never worked at the Command level before, one of the first commands you may want to type is the Help command: Just type the word Help and press Enter. You'll then see a list of the commands available to you.
To exit the Command Prompt window, either type the word Exit and press Enter, or simply click the window's Close button.
This tip (11215) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.
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