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How to Use Command Prompt

How to Use Command Prompt

With the introduction of graphical user interface, people have almost forgotten command prompt usage. However, the latter includes a number of commands which can make things easier for you, when you use the computer.
Bhakti Satalkar
Command prompt is the command line interpreter. It is actually the analog of COMMAND.COM, used in MS-DOS, Unix shells, etc. When we use Windows, we come across cmd.exe, which is the native program for the platform. Due to this, one can take advantage of the features available to native programs on the platform, which are otherwise unavailable to DOS programs. Once you are well-acquainted with this platform, you will be able to manage your computer's files effectively. Initially, you may find it hard, however, with practice, you will be able to save a lot of time, just like, when you use computer keyboard shortcuts. To some people it may seem as a hangover from old days PC computing in the world of MS-DOS but mastery of the interface will save you a lot of time on common chores which require a lot of repetitive clicking and navigation through Windows.

Launch the Interface

To use command prompt in Windows XP or in previous versions, you will have to click on start, then on run and type cmd, and press enter. If you are using Windows Vista, then you will click on Start and then in the Start search box, write cmd and press enter. With this, the command prompt will start off in your Windows profile default folder, which will be C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\ , both in Windows Vista and Windows XP.

If you have decided to use this interface to perform system tasks, then you may want to create its shortcut on your desktop by following the steps given below:
  • Click on Start, go to All Programs, then Accessories and then right click on Command Prompt.
  • You will see the Send to, choose Desktop (create shortcut).
  • Now you will be able to see the shortcut on your desktop.
Commands to Work with Files and Directories
With this interface, you will be able to work with the files and directories of Windows. The syntax for the particular commands are also mentioned.

dir: When you want to view the contents of a directory, type 'dir' in the command prompt and press enter.
C:\> dir

cd: If you want to know which directory you are currently in, type 'cd'.
C:\> cd

To change directories, use the name of the directory after cd.
C:\> cd directory_name

mkdir: You can also create a new directory using the command 'mkdir'.
C:\>mkdir directory_name

move: You can move files into a particular directory.
C:\>move file_name directory_name

copy: Like files can be moved, copy of a file can also be created using this platform. This command is especially beneficial when you modify a working program but want to revert to the original version, in case you do not like the modifications.
C:\>copy file_name filename.bak

del: When you realize you have too many unused files, you can use 'del' to delete them.
C:\>del filename

ipconfig: To find IP address, you will have to use 'ipconfig'. The IP address will be displayed along with the other details.

Once you are familiar with this platform, you will not have to rely on the graphical user interface. At the same time, you will be able to save a lot of time.