By Joshua Erdman
DOS is still being used today, actually it is now called the "command prompt". What? Yeah, I know I just said on the 'Learning DOS' page that DOS is hardly used anymore. DOS commands are still important especially when you get in the more advanced area of computing, especially in scripting. When you combine the power of Windows 2000 and XP System Commands you have a powerful tool for automated tasks to manipulate system environments and perform common tasks on a network.
What is the 'Advanced Area'? That would be the NT kernel found in Windows NT/2000/XP. Although it does not run on or rely on DOS, you can still drop to a command prompt and perform system commands there using the same DOS commands that you hopefully already learned. This is handy when you need to perform a function on many files that fit a specific criteria, for example. All this goes under the area of system scripts. I use scripting all the time when I need to automate jobs on one of my file servers. Then I just have it run the script on a regular basis.
Refer to the list of Windows 2000 and Windows XP commands to see what is available.
One common script I use is the login script. When network users log in to their system I set their machine to run this little script I created. This script will Map specific network share to a common drive letter so each user can access the correct resources all through the same network path. See the code below:
Besides the System commands, I also use these other tools to make scripting more interactive:
pause - this will pause the script until the user presses a key
echo - this is used to print a message to the screen
cls - this clears the screen
Use the '#' sign to make notes within your script. The computer ignores the whole line if it starts with the '#' sign.
When I need to do something with a more complicated algorithm, I tend to write it in a language called Perl. Go to Web Monkey to learn about it.
Article last reviewed: 05/05/2003