5 Most Useful MS-DOS help and commands

By Deepak Saxena October 10, 2016 Tech Tips

Whether it’s a real time emergency or one related to your computer, having an escape plan always comes handy. Like how we’re advised not to use lifts and escalators and rather take stairs in case of fire or emergency, same goes for your computer.

Therefore, in case such unexpected crashes happen on your system, it is always handy to know some basic command line shortcuts (Dos commands) to get usual stuff done and save your data from being lost. Listed below are some extremely useful shortcuts that could be a lifesaver for your dying computer.

See Also: How to fix the Temporary Profile issue in Windows 7

How to Enter Dos Mode?

To open the dos mode or command prompt, simply open the start menu, type cmd and press enter to bring up the console. Alternatively

From here you can manually enter specific commands to perform various tasks on your computer. This eliminates the need of a mouse as all locations can be specified and entered directly from the console.

To view files or folders on a particular drive:

When you reach DOS mode you will be in root of Drive C and you can see your cursor blinking after C:\>. In case you don’t start with the root directory simply type ‘cd.. and enter’ to go back to the root directory (you might have to repeat this step more than once). Once you reach the root directory you can simply specify the folder or drive you want to view. For example, if you want to view files on drive D, the procedure will be as follows:

C:\>D: ←


To copy a particular file from one drive to another:

This command can help you to save your important data in case you operating system experiences a crash. To copy a file from one place to another open cmd.exe and follow these steps.

If you want to copy file name ‘new.txt’ from D drive to E drive the command will be:

C:\>D: ←

D:\> copy new.txt e: ←

Here D: refers to the source drive and e: refers to the destination drive.

To format a drive:

Sometimes you need to format a drive using MS DOS because a corrupt drive can create a hindrance while running windows. Here is how you can format a drive.

C:\>format ‘drive name:

For example, if you want to format D drive using MS DOS you have to type

C:\> format d: ←

It will request for an approval and will format the specified drive once user confirms this action.

To delete a file:

Suppose your operating system has failed and you are handing over your computer for repair. In this case if you do not want any particular file to be there on your hard disk, you can delete it using MS DOS as the operating system is not working.

C:\> del ‘File name with extension’ ←


C:\> del new.txt←

There are various ways how a computer can break down on a user. It could be a bug or virus that doesn’t allow you to view a particular file or media. Problems with operating system can also inhibit basic functions such as copy, paste and delete. Corrupted hard drives can also become difficult to format through conventional methods.

Hence, it is imperative that we must have a basic knowledge of command prompt functions, in case we experience any operating system crashes or failures.



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Deepak Saxena

"Deepak Saxena is a writer and blogger for The Phone Support. He loves to explore hidden features of the devices around him. Many of his articles are helpful to troubleshoot tech relates issues. Being a technical writer he keeps an eye on emerging technical trends and new features or updates releasing on daily basis. His articles are well to do for both tech savvy and non tech savvy audience."