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Windows Tips & Tricks





Displays or changes file attributes.

ATTRIB [+R | -R] [+A | -A] [+S | -S] [+H | -H] [[drive:][path]filename] [/S]

+ Sets an attribute.

- Clears an attribute.

R Read-only file attribute.

A Archive file attribute.

S System file attribute.

H Hidden file attribute.

/S Processes files in all directories in the specified path.




Sets or clears extended CTRL+C checking.


Type BREAK without a parameter to display the current BREAK setting.



Calls one batch program from another.

CALL [drive:][path]filename [batch-parameters]

batch-parameters Specifies any command-line information required by the

batch program.



Displays the name of or changes the current directory.

CHDIR [drive:][path]


CD [drive:][path]


.. Specifies that you want to change to the parent directory.

Type CD drive: to display the current directory in the specified drive.

Type CD without parameters to display the current drive and directory.



Displays or sets the active code page number.

CHCP [nnn]

nnn Specifies a code page number.

Type CHCP without a parameter to display the active code page number.



Checks a disk and displays a status report.

CHKDSK [drive:][[path]filename] [/F] [/V]

[drive:][path] Specifies the drive and directory to check.

filename Specifies the file(s) to check for fragmentation.

/F Fixes errors on the disk.

/V Displays the full path and name of every file on the disk.

Type CHKDSK without parameters to check the current disk.

Instead of using CHKDSK, try using SCANDISK. SCANDISK can reliably detect

and fix a much wider range of disk problems.



Waits for the user to choose one of a set of choices.

CHOICE [/C[:]choices] [/N] [/S] [/T[:]c,nn] [text]

/C[:]choices Specifies allowable keys. Default is YN

/N Do not display choices and ? at end of prompt string.

/S Treat choice keys as case sensitive.

/T[:]c,nn Default choice to c after nn seconds

text Prompt string to display

ERRORLEVEL is set to offset of key user presses in choices.



Clears the screen.




Starts a new copy of the Windows Command Interpreter.

COMMAND [[drive:]path] [device] [/E:nnnnn] [/L:nnnn] [/U:nnn] [/P] [/MSG]

[/LOW] [/Y [/[C|K] command]]

[drive:]path Specifies the directory containing COMMAND.COM.

device Specifies the device to use for command input and output.

/E:nnnnn Sets the initial environment size to nnnnn bytes.

(nnnnn should be between 256 and 32,768).

/L:nnnn Specifies internal buffers length (requires /P as well).

(nnnn should be between 128 and 1,024).

/U:nnn Specifies the input buffer length (requires /P as well).

(nnn should be between 128 and 255).

/P Makes the new Command Interpreter permanent (can't exit).

/MSG Stores all error messages in memory (requires /P as well).

/LOW Forces COMMAND to keep its resident data in low memory.

/Y Steps through the batch program specified by /C or /K.

/C command Executes the specified command and returns.

/K command Executes the specified command and continues running.



Copies one or more files to another location.

COPY [/A | /B] source [/A | /B] [+ source [/A | /B] [+ ...]] [destination

[/A | /B]] [/V] [/Y | /-Y]

source Specifies the file or files to be copied.

/A Indicates an ASCII text file.

/B Indicates a binary file.

destination Specifies the directory and/or filename for the new file(s).

/V Verifies that new files are written correctly.

/Y Suppresses prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an

existing destination file.

/-Y Causes prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an

existing destination file.

The switch /Y may be preset in the COPYCMD environment variable.

This may be overridden with /-Y on the command line

To append files, specify a single file for destination, but multiple files

for source (using wildcards or file1+file2+file3 format).



Changes the terminal device used to control your system.

CTTY device

device The terminal device you want to use, such as COM1.



Displays or sets the date.

DATE [date]

Type DATE without parameters to display the current date setting and

a prompt for a new one. Press ENTER to keep the same date.



Runs Debug, a program testing and editing tool.

DEBUG [[drive:][path]filename [testfile-parameters]]

[drive:][path]filename Specifies the file you want to test.

testfile-parameters Specifies command-line information required by

the file you want to test.

After Debug starts, type ? to display a list of debugging commands.



Deletes one or more files.

DEL [drive:][path]filename [/P]

ERASE [drive:][path]filename [/P]

[drive:][path]filename Specifies the file(s) to delete. Specify multiple

files by using wildcards.

/P Prompts for confirmation before deleting each file.



Deletes a directory and all the subdirectories and files in it.

To delete one or more files and directories:

DELTREE [/Y] [drive:]path [[drive:]path[...]]

/Y Suppresses prompting to confirm you want to delete

the subdirectory.

[drive:]path Specifies the name of the directory you want to delete.

Note: Use DELTREE cautiously. Every file and subdirectory within the

specified directory will be deleted.



Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory.

DIR [drive:][path][filename] [/P] [/W] [/A[[:]attributes]]

[/O[[:]sortorder]] [/S] [/B] [/L] [/V] [/4]


Specifies drive, directory, and/or files to list.

(Could be enhanced file specification or multiple filespecs.)

/P Pauses after each screenful of information.

/W Uses wide list format.

/A Displays files with specified attributes.

attributes D Directories R Read-only files

H Hidden files A Files ready for archiving

S System files - Prefix meaning not

/O List by files in sorted order.

sortorder N By name (alphabetic) S By size (smallest first)

E By extension (alphabetic) D By date & time (earliest first)

G Group directories first - Prefix to reverse order

A By Last Access Date (earliest first)

/S Displays files in specified directory and all subdirectories.

/B Uses bare format (no heading information or summary).

/L Uses lowercase.

/V Verbose mode.

/4 Displays year with 4 digits (ignored if /V also given).

Switches may be preset in the DIRCMD environment variable. Override

preset switches by prefixing any switch with - (hyphen)--for example, /-W.



Copies the contents of one floppy disk to another.

DISKCOPY [drive1: [drive2:]] [/1] [/V] [/M]

/1 Copies only the first side of the disk.

/V Verifies that the information is copied correctly.

/M Force multi-pass copy using memory only.

The two floppy disks must be the same type.

You may specify the same drive for drive1 and drive2.



Edits command lines, recalls command lines, and creates macros

DOSKEY [/switch ...] [macroname=[text]]

/BUFSIZE:size Sets size of macro and command buffer (default:512)

/ECHO:on|off Enables/disables echo of macro expansions (default:on)

/FILE:file Specifies file containing a list of macros

/HISTORY Displays all commands stored in memory

/INSERT Inserts new characters into line when typing

/KEYSIZE:size Sets size of keyboard type-ahead buffer (default:15)

/LINE:size Sets maximum size of line edit buffer (default:128)

/MACROS Displays all DOSKey macros

/OVERSTRIKE Overwrites new characters onto line when typing (default)

/REINSTALL Installs a new copy of DOSKey

macroname Specifies a name for a macro you create

text Specifies commands you want to assign to the macro

UP,DOWN arrows recall commands

Esc clears current command

F7 displays command history

Alt+F7 clears command history

[chars]F8 searches for command beginning with [chars]


F9 selects a command by number

Alt+F10 clears macro definitions

The following are special codes you can use in DOSKey macro definitions:

$T Command separator: allows multiple commands in a macro

$1-$9 Batch parameters: equivalent to %1-%9 in batch programs

$* Symbol replaced by everything following macro name on the command line



Displays messages, or turns command-echoing on or off.


ECHO [message]

Type ECHO without parameters to display the current echo setting.



MS-DOS Editor Version 2.0.026 Copyright (c) Microsoft Corp 1995.

EDIT [/B] [/H] [/R] [/S] [/<nnn>] [/?] [file(s)]

/B - Forces monochrome mode.

/H - Displays the maximum number of lines possible for your hardware.

/R - Load file(s) in read-only mode.

/S - Forces the use of short filenames.

/<nnn> - Load binary file(s), wrapping lines to <nnn> characters wide.

/? - Displays this help screen.

[file] - Specifies initial files(s) to load. Wildcards and multiple

filespecs can be given.



Turns on or off EMM386 expanded memory support.

EMM386 [ON | OFF | AUTO] [W=ON | W=OFF]

ON | OFF | AUTO Activates or suspends EMM386.EXE device driver,

or places it in auto mode.

W=ON | OFF Turns on or off Weitek coprocessor support.



Deletes one or more files.

DEL [drive:][path]filename [/P]

ERASE [drive:][path]filename [/P]

[drive:][path]filename Specifies the file(s) to delete. Specify multiple

files by using wildcards.

/P Prompts for confirmation before deleting each file.



Quits the COMMAND.COM program (command interpreter).




Microsoft (R) Cabinet Extraction Tool - Version (16) 1.00.603.0 (08/14/97)

Copyright (c) Microsoft Corp 1994-1997. All rights reserved.

EXTRACT [/Y] [/A] [/D | /E] [/L dir] cabinet [filename ...]

EXTRACT [/Y] source [newname]

EXTRACT [/Y] /C source destination

cabinet - Cabinet file (contains two or more files).

filename - Name of the file to extract from the cabinet.

Wild cards and multiple filenames (separated by

blanks) may be used.

source - Compressed file (a cabinet with only one file).

newname - New filename to give the extracted file.

If not supplied, the original name is used.

/A Process ALL cabinets. Follows cabinet chain

starting in first cabinet mentioned.

/C Copy source file to destination (to copy from DMF disks).

/D Display cabinet directory (use with filename to avoid extract).

/E Extract (use instead of *.* to extract all files).

/L dir Location to place extracted files (default is current directory).

/Y Do not prompt before overwriting an existing file.



Compares two files or sets of files and displays the differences between


FC [/A] [/C] [/L] [/LBn] [/N] [/T] [/W] [/nnnn] [drive1:][path1]filename1


FC /B [drive1:][path1]filename1 [drive2:][path2]filename2

/A Displays only first and last lines for each set of differences.

/B Performs a binary comparison.

/C Disregards the case of letters.

/L Compares files as ASCII text.

/LBn Sets the maximum consecutive mismatches to the specified number of


/N Displays the line numbers on an ASCII comparison.

/T Does not expand tabs to spaces.

/W Compresses white space (tabs and spaces) for comparison.

/nnnn Specifies the number of consecutive lines that must match after a




Configures a hard disk for use with MS-DOS.


/STATUS Displays partition information.

/X Ignores extended disk-access support. Use this switch if you

receive disk access or stack overflow messages.



Searches for a text string in a file or files.

FIND [/V] [/C] [/N] [/I] "string" [[drive:][path]filename[ ...]]

/V Displays all lines NOT containing the specified string.

/C Displays only the count of lines containing the string.

/N Displays line numbers with the displayed lines.

/I Ignores the case of characters when searching for the string.

"string" Specifies the text string to find.


Specifies a file or files to search.

If a pathname is not specified, FIND searches the text typed at the prompt

or piped from another command.



Runs a specified command for each file in a set of files.

FOR %variable IN (set) DO command [command-parameters]

%variable Specifies a replaceable parameter.

(set) Specifies a set of one or more files. Wildcards may be used.

command Specifies the command to carry out for each file.


Specifies parameters or switches for the specified command.

To use the FOR command in a batch program, specify %%variable instead of




Formats a disk for use with MS-DOS.

FORMAT drive: [/V[:label]] [/Q] [/F:size] [/B | /S] [/C]

FORMAT drive: [/V[:label]] [/Q] [/T:tracks /N:sectors] [/B | /S] [/C]

FORMAT drive: [/V[:label]] [/Q] [/1] [/4] [/B | /S] [/C]

FORMAT drive: [/Q] [/1] [/4] [/8] [/B | /S] [/C]

/V[:label] Specifies the volume label.

/Q Performs a quick format.

/F:size Specifies the size of the floppy disk to format (such

as 160, 180, 320, 360, 720, 1.2, 1.44, 2.88).

/B Allocates space on the formatted disk for system files.

/S Copies system files to the formatted disk.

/T:tracks Specifies the number of tracks per disk side.

/N:sectors Specifies the number of sectors per track.

/1 Formats a single side of a floppy disk.

/4 Formats a 5.25-inch 360K floppy disk in a high-density drive.

/8 Formats eight sectors per track.

/C Tests clusters that are currently marked "bad."



Directs Windows to a labelled line in a batch program.

GOTO label

label Specifies a text string used in the batch program as a label.

You type a label on a line by itself, beginning with a colon.



Performs conditional processing in batch programs.

IF [NOT] ERRORLEVEL number command

IF [NOT] string1==string2 command

IF [NOT] EXIST filename command

NOT Specifies that Windows should carry out the command only

if the condition is false.

ERRORLEVEL number Specifies a true condition if the last program run returned

an exit code equal to or greater than the number specified.

command Specifies the command to carry out if the condition is


string1==string2 Specifies a true condition if the specified text strings


EXIST filename Specifies a true condition if the specified filename




Configures a keyboard for a specific language.

KEYB [xx[,[yyy][,[drive:][path]filename]]] [/E] [/ID:nnn]

xx Specifies a two-letter keyboard code.

yyy Specifies the code page for the character set.

[drive:][path]filename Specifies the keyboard definition file.

/E Specifies that an enhanced keyboard is installed.

/ID:nnn Specifies the keyboard in use.



Creates, changes, or deletes the volume label of a disk.

LABEL [drive:][label]



Loads a program into the upper memory area.

LOADHIGH [drive:][path]filename [parameters]

LOADHIGH [/L:region1[,minsize1][;region2[,minsize2]...] [/S]]

[drive:][path]filename [parameters]


Specifies the region(s) of memory into which to load

the program. Region1 specifies the number of the first

memory region; minsize1 specifies the minimum size, if

any, for region1. Region2 and minsize2 specify the

number and minimum size of the second region, if any.

You can specify as many regions as you want.

/S Shrinks a UMB to its minimum size while the program

is loading.


Specifies the location and name of the program.



Creates a directory.

MKDIR [drive:]path

MD [drive:]path



Displays the amount of used and free memory in your system.

MEM [/CLASSIFY | /DEBUG | /FREE | /MODULE modulename] [/PAGE]

/CLASSIFY or /C Classifies programs by memory usage. Lists the size of

programs, provides a summary of memory in use, and lists

largest memory block available.

/DEBUG or /D Displays status of all modules in memory, internal drivers,

and other information.

/FREE or /F Displays information about the amount of free memory left

in both conventional and upper memory.

/MODULE or /M Displays a detailed listing of a module's memory use.

This option must be followed by the name of a module,

optionally separated from /M by a colon.

/PAGE or /P Pauses after each screenful of information.



Configures system devices.

Printer port: MODE LPTn[:] [COLS=c] [LINES=l] [RETRY=r]

Serial port: MODE COMm[:] [BAUD=b] [PARITY=p] [DATA=d] [STOP=s] [RETRY=r]

Device Status: MODE [device] [/STATUS]

Redirect printing: MODE LPTn[:]=COMm[:]

Prepare code page: MODE device CP PREPARE=((yyy[...]) [drive:][path]filename)

Select code page: MODE device CP SELECT=yyy

Refresh code page: MODE device CP REFRESH

Code page status: MODE device CP [/STATUS]

Display mode: MODE [display-adapter][,n]


Typematic rate: MODE CON[:] [RATE=r DELAY=d]



Displays output one screen at a time.

MORE [drive:][path]filename

MORE < [drive:][path]filename

command-name | MORE [drive:][path][filename]

[drive:][path]filename Specifies file(s) to display one screen at a time

command-name Specifies a command whose output will be displayed.



Moves files and renames files and directories.

To move one or more files:

MOVE [/Y | /-Y] [drive:][path]filename1[,...] destination

To rename a directory:

MOVE [/Y | /-Y] [drive:][path]dirname1 dirname2

[drive:][path]filename1 Specifies the location and name of the file

or files you want to move.

destination Specifies the new location of the file. Destination

can consist of a drive letter and colon, a directory

name, or a combination. If you are moving only one

file, you can also include a filename if you want

to rename the file when you move it.

[drive:][path]dirname1 Specifies the directory you want to rename.

dirname2 Specifies the new name of the directory.

/Y Suppresses prompting to confirm creation of a directory

or overwriting of the destination.

/-Y Causes prompting to confirm creation of a directory or

overwriting of the destination.

The switch /Y may be present in the COPYCMD environment variable.

This may be overridden with /-Y on the command line.



Illegal option '?' usage: MSCDEX [/E/K/S/V] [/D:<driver> ... ] [/L:<letter>] [/M:<buffers>]



Loads country-specific information.

NLSFUNC [[drive:][path]filename]

[drive:][path]filename Specifies the file containing country-specific




Displays or sets a search path for executable files.

PATH [[drive:]path[;...]]


Type PATH ; to clear all search-path settings and direct Windows to search

only in the current directory.

Type PATH without parameters to display the current path.



Suspends processing of a batch program and displays the message:

Press any key to continue....




Changes the Windows command prompt.

PROMPT [text]

text Specifies a new command prompt.

Prompt can be made up of normal characters and the following special codes:

$Q = (equal sign)

$$ $ (dollar sign)

$T Current time

$D Current date

$P Current drive and path

$V Windows version number

$N Current drive

$G > (greater-than sign)

$L < (less-than sign)

$B | (pipe)

$H Backspace (erases previous character)

$E Escape code (ASCII code 27)

$_ Carriage return and linefeed

Type PROMPT without parameters to reset the prompt to the default setting.



Removes (deletes) a directory.

RMDIR [drive:]path

RD [drive:]path



Records comments (remarks) in a batch file or CONFIG.SYS.

REM [comment]



Renames a file/directory or files/directories.

RENAME [drive:][path][directoryname1 | filename1] [directoryname2 | filename2]

REN [drive:][path][directoryname1 | filename1] [directoryname2 | filename2]

Note that you cannot specify a new drive or path for your destination.



For information about the command-line parameters supported by

ScanDisk for Windows, look up 'checking for errors, in disks' in

the Windows Help index. Then view the topic 'Checking your disk

for errors every time your computer starts.'



Displays, sets, or removes Windows environment variables.

SET [variable=[string]]

variable Specifies the environment-variable name.

string Specifies a series of characters to assign to the variable.

Type SET without parameters to display the current environment variables.



Sets the MS-DOS version number that Windows reports to a program.

Display current version table: SETVER [drive:path]

Add entry: SETVER [drive:path] filename n.nn

Delete entry: SETVER [drive:path] filename /DELETE [/QUIET]

[drive:path] Specifies location of the SETVER.EXE file.

filename Specifies the filename of the program.

n.nn Specifies the MS-DOS version to be reported to the program.

/DELETE or /D Deletes the version-table entry for the specified program.

/QUIET or /Q Hides the message typically displayed during deletion of

version-table entry.




Changes the position of replaceable parameters in a batch file.




Installs and configures the SMARTDrive disk-caching utility.

SMARTDRV [/X] [[drive[+|-]]...] [/U] [/C | /R] [/F | /N] [/L] [/V | /Q | /S]

[InitCacheSize [WinCacheSize]] [/E:ElementSize] [/B:BufferSize]

/X Disables write-behind caching for all drives.

drive Sets caching options on specific drive(s). The specified

drive(s) will have write-caching disabled unless you add +.

+ Enables write-behind caching for the specified drive.

- Disables all caching for the specified drive.

/U Do not load CD-ROM caching module.

/C Writes all information currently in write-cache to hard disk.

/R Clears the cache and restarts SMARTDrive.

/F Writes cached data before command prompt returns (default).

/N Doesn't write cached data before command prompt returns.

/L Prevents SMARTDrive from loading itself into upper memory.

/V Displays SMARTDrive status messages when loading.

/Q Does not display status information.

/S Displays additional information about SMARTDrive's status.

InitCacheSize Specifies XMS memory (KB) for the cache.

WinCacheSize Specifies XMS memory (KB) for the cache with Windows.

/E:ElementSize Specifies how many bytes of information to move at one time.

/B:BufferSize Specifies the size of the read-ahead buffer.



Sorts input and writes results to the screen, a file, or another device

SORT [/R] [/+n] [[drive1:][path1]filename1] [> [drive2:][path2]filename2]

[command |] SORT [/R] [/+n] [> [drive2:][path2]filename2]

/R Reverses the sort order; that is, sorts Z to A,

then 9 to 0.

/+n Sorts the file according to characters in

column n.

[drive1:][path1]filename1 Specifies file(s) to be sorted

[drive2:][path2]filename2 Specifies a file where the sorted input is to be


command Specifies a command whose output is to be sorted.



Runs a Windows program or an MS-DOS program.

START [options] program [arg...]

START [options] document.ext

/m[inimized] Run the new program minimized (in the background).

/max[imized] Run the new program maximized (in the foreground).

/r[estored] Run the new program restored (in the foreground). [default]

/w[ait] Does not return until the other program exits.



Associates a path with a drive letter.

SUBST [drive1: [drive2:]path]

SUBST drive1: /D

drive1: Specifies a virtual drive to which you want to assign a path.

[drive2:]path Specifies a physical drive and path you want to assign to

a virtual drive.

/D Deletes a substituted (virtual) drive.

Type SUBST with no parameters to display a list of current virtual drives.



Displays or sets the system time.

TIME [time]

Type TIME with no parameters to display the current time setting and a prompt

for a new one. Press ENTER to keep the same time.



Displays the contents of text files.

TYPE [drive:][path]filename



Displays the Windows version.




Tells Windows whether to verify that your files are written correctly to a



Type VERIFY without a parameter to display the current VERIFY setting.



Displays the disk volume label and serial number, if they exist.

VOL [drive:]



Copies files and directory trees.

XCOPY source [destination] [/A | /M] [/D[:date]] [/P] [/S [/E]] [/W]

[/C] [/I] [/Q] [/F] [/L] [/H] [/R] [/T] [/U]

[/K] [/N]

source Specifies the file(s) to copy.

destination Specifies the location and/or name of new files.

/A Copies files with the archive attribute set,

doesn't change the attribute.

/M Copies files with the archive attribute set,

turns off the archive attribute.

/D:date Copies files changed on or after the specified date.

If no date is given, copies only those files whose

source time is newer than the destination time.

/P Prompts you before creating each destination file.

/S Copies directories and subdirectories except empty ones.

/E Copies directories and subdirectories, including empty ones.

Same as /S /E. May be used to modify /T.

/W Prompts you to press a key before copying.

/C Continues copying even if errors occur.

/I If destination does not exist and copying more than one file,

assumes that destination must be a directory.

/Q Does not display file names while copying.

/F Displays full source and destination file names while copying.

/L Displays files that would be copied.

/H Copies hidden and system files also.

/R Overwrites read-only files.

/T Creates directory structure, but does not copy files. Does not

include empty directories or subdirectories. /T /E includes

empty directories and subdirectories.

/U Updates the files that already exist in destination.

/K Copies attributes. Normal Xcopy will reset read-only attributes.

/Y Overwrites existing files without prompting.

/-Y Prompts you before overwriting existing files.

/N Copy using the generated short names.