DOS Tips


Creating a DOS Prompt to the Root of the C:\ Drive – Added 10/16/09
Showing Long and Short Filenames – Added 1/8/00
DOS Command History
 – Added 12/21/99
Changing a File’s Date and Time Stamp
 – Added 12/21/99
Removing the Microsoft Copyright from a DOS Prompt
 – Added 10/16/98
Setting the Number of Lines in a DOS Window – Submitted 9/19/98
Starting DOS Fast 
– Submitted 6/7/98
Using Long Filenames in a DOS Box – Updated 4/12/98
Expanding Full Path or File Name – Submitted 8/30/97
Adding DOSKEY to your DOS Window – Added 4/6/97
Showing DOS Error Codes – Added 4/6/97
Changing Directories in DOS – Added 1/26/97
Entering Long Paths in a DOS Window – Added 1/26/97
Having DOS Programs Prompt for Input – Added 1/26/97
Verbose Directory Listing – Submitted 10/24/96
Easy way to open up DOS prompt in a specific directory – Added 6/20/96

Creating a DOS Prompt to the Root of the C:\ Drive

Added 10/16/09

To open a Command window at a simple C:\ prompt:

Create a Windows shortcut using the following syntax:
Target: %SystemRoot%\system32\cmd.exe /k “cd\”

Tip submitted by Barry Conner

Showing Long and Short Filenames

Added 1/8/00

There are two additional switches that can be used when doing a DIR

  1. /B – Shows only the long filename, no details
  2. /Z – Shows the short filename, with details
  3. /B /Z – Shows only short filename, with no details

DOS Command History

Added 12/21/99

If you use DOSKEY in either your AUTOEXEC.BAT file or as part of the properties of your DOS Window,
you can show and recall the history of commands you enter and the DOS prompt.

  • To recall previous commands, use the up arrow key.
  • A complete list of previous commands can be shown if you press the F7 key
  • To use one, press F9 and the number of the command you want to use
  • To clear the cache, press Alt+F7

Changing a File’s Date and Time Stamp

Added 12/21/99

You can change the Date and Time stamp of a file to the current setting.

COPY filename /B + ,, /Y

Removing the Microsoft Copyright from a DOS Prompt

Added 10/16/98

By default, when you open a DOS window, the Microsoft Copyright notice shows.
To disable it, add the /K switch in the Program tab

For example: C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND.COM /k

Setting the Number of Lines in a DOS Window

Submitted 9/19/98

To set the number of lines displayed when you open up a DOS window:

  1. Create a shortcut for the MS-DOS Prompt
  2. Right click on it
  3. Select Properties
  4. Click on the Program tab
  5. In the Batch file:, line enter mode con: lines=xx (where xx is the number of lines you want displayed)
  6. Valid numbers for xx are 25 or 43

Submitted by John Karwoski

Starting DOS Fast

Want to start DOS fast outside of the START button? Drag it to your desktop.

Want to start it even FASTER without the mouse?

  1. Change the shortcut properties of the DOS icon to something unique, like Ctrl-Alt-Z.
  2. Then to start DOS from within Win95/98?/NT just enter C-A-Z and poof! it’s there.
  3. If you toggle away, and hit the shortcut sequence again, you’ll get the “old” DOS box, not a new one.

Submitted by Carra Bussa

Long Filenames in a DOS Box

Submitted 4/12/98

More long filenames in DOS paths…

You don’t need the close double quote when entering long folder names in DOS.

CD “\program files
works as well as
CD “\program files”

Submitted by Patrick Knoll

Submitted 2/19/96

You can use long file names in a MS DOS Box.
All you have to do is pu the long file name in quotes.

Example: cd “program files”

Submitted by Simon Story
[email protected]

Expanding Full Path or File Name

NT 4.0 Only

Submitted 8/30/97

Expand full path/file name with defined char using Command Prompt in Win NT 4.0

You can expand the full name of a file or directory using a character of your choice.

  1. Close all Command Prompts
  2. Start the Registry Editor
  3. Open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor
  4. If not present, add Key: CompletionChar
  5. If you like to use TAB-Key for expand: set value (REG_SZ): “9”

You can test it:

  1. Open up a DOS window
  2. Type: CD (followed by TAB)
  3. The first available directory will appear
  4. Press TAB again, the next one will appear
  5. The same can be done with the DIR command

Submitted by Uwe Beierlein

Adding DOSKEY to your DOS Window

Added 4/6/97

One way to have DOSKEY available when you open a DOS window would be to have it in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
This takes away conventional memory, even when you don’t have a DOS window open.
To only use DOSKEY when you open a DOS window:

  • Right click on your DOS shortcut
  • Select Properties
  • Click on the Program tab
  • Add DOSKEY > NUL to the Batch File field
  • You can also add /INSERT if you prefer

Showing DOS Error Codes

Added 4/6/97

If you want to see what error codes are being generated by DOS programs,
start your DOS session with the addition of a /Z parameter to the COMMAND.COM program.

Changing Directories in DOS

Added 1/26/97

Normally, you can move up one directory level by typing CD ..
The DOS with Windows95 allows you to continue moving up beyond the first directory by simply adding more periods
For example, to move up two levels, type CD …

Entering Long Paths in a DOS Window

Added 1/26/97

If you have to enter a long path and program name in a DOS window,

  1. Open up the Explorer
  2. Go to the folder you want
  3. Drag it to the DOS window
  4. The path will be inserted into the window

This can come is useful with the long path names and all the ~’s you would normally need to type.
If you need to change directories, type in the CD before you drag the directory.

Having DOS Programs Prompt for Input

Added 1/26/97

When you normally create a shortcut for a DOS program, it does not prompt you for any input and just runs the program
To change that, simply add a ? after the program name in the CMD field.

For example:
will start the DOS editor and prompt you for a file name to edit.

Verbose Directory Listing

Submitted 10/24/96

To see your free memory and other useful info in detail:

  1. Open a DOS box
  2. Go to the directory that you want to get specific info about, or if you just want to see memory info go to any directory (I use the root).
  3. Type DIR /V
  4. The /v argument stands for “verbose”.
  5. All sorts of good information comes up.

Submitted by Brian Cohen
[email protected]

Easy way to open up DOS prompt in a specific directory

Added 6/20/96

With the advent of long directory names, it can be difficult to open up a DOS box and CD to the directory you want
particularly if it is several layers of long names deep.

An easy way is to:

  1. Open up Explorer and highlight the directory you want to be in
  2. Select Run / Command from the Start Menu
  3. Your DOS prompt will now be in the directory you highlighted in Explorer

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