By Joshua Erdman
DOS is an old operating system that is rarely used anymore.
Here are some helpful hints in using DOS:
1) There is no difference between upper- and lower-case in DOS.
2) The "¿" symbol is shorthand, meaning to press the Enter key (also known as the "Return" key).
The filename is made up of two parts, a prefix and a suffix. For some versions of DOS (6.22 and older) each file is allowed up to 11 characters in its filename. The prefix uses eight characters and the suffix uses 3. The suffix usually tells you what kind of file it is. For example if the suffix is .TXT then you would know that it is a text file.
a. .DOC - Word Document
b. .XLS - Excel file
c. .WAV - Wave sound file
d. .JPG, .BMP, .GIF, and .TIF - graphics files
The 'C:\>' Prompt
Each drive is assigned a letter. The "C:" means that your hard drive, or C: drive, is currently selected. Usually the "C:" drive is the internal drive, or hard disk drive. The "A:" and "B:" drives are usually the external floppy drives. Some computers have only one floppy drive, "'A:."
To change drives simply type the letter of the drive you want to change to, add a colon at the end, and then press Enter. The part between the colon and the ">" tells you what directory that you are in. If it is just a backslash '\' then you are in the root, or main, directory. Anything after the backslash gives you the specific directory information. For example: "C:\DOS>" means that you are in the DOS directory on the 'C' drive. Click here for a tutorial on Folders and Directories.
Common DOS Commands
CD- change directory
CD \¿- change to the main directory.
CD \WINDOWS¿- change to the windows directory.
MD- make directory.
MD \LETTERS¿- make a directory named 'letters' at the root directory.
RD- remove directory.
RD \LETTERS¿- remove the 'letters' directory.
CLS- clear screen.
COPY- copy a file
COPY C:\<DIR>\<FILENAME> <DRIVE>:<DIR>\<FILENAME>¿
Note: The first <DIR> is the source directory and the 2nd is the
MOVE- move a file from one directory to another.
DELETE- deletes a specific file.
DIR- gives you a list of files and directories contained in the directory that you are in.
DIR /W'- gives you a wide, more condensed directory list.
TYPE <file name>- displays the content of the specified file..
*- wild card symbol
?-wildcard character symbol
Article last reviewed: 07/03/2003