List of DOS commands

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This article presents a list of commands used by x86 DOS operating systems. Other DOS operating systems are not part of the scope of this list.

In the PC operating systems MS-DOS and PC DOS, a number of standard system commands were provided for common tasks such as listing files on a disk or moving files. Some commands were built into the command interpreter, others existed as external commands on disk. Over the several generations of DOS, commands were added for the additional functions of the operating system. In the current Microsoft Windows operating system a text-mode command prompt window can still be used.

Command processing[edit]

The command interpreter for DOS runs when no application programs are running. When an application exits, if the transient portion of the command interpreter in memory was overwritten, DOS will reload it from disk. Some commands are internal and built into COMMAND.COM, others are external commands stored on disk. When the user types a line of text at the operating system command prompt, COMMAND.COM will parse the line and attempt to match a command name to a built-in command or to the name of an executable program file or batch file on disk. If no match is found, an error message is printed and the command prompt is refreshed.

External commands were too large to keep in the command processor or were less frequently used. Such utility programs would be stored on disk and loaded just like regular application programs but were distributed with the operating system. Copies of these utility command programs had to be on an accessible disk, either on the current drive or on the command path set in the command interpreter.

In the list below, commands that can accept more than one filename, or a filename including wildcards (* and ?), are said to accept a filespec parameter. Commands that can accept only a single filename are said to accept a filename parameter. Additionally, command line switches, or other parameter strings, can be supplied on the command line. Spaces and symbols such as a "/" or a "-" may be used to allow the command processor to parse the command line into file names, file specifications, and other options.

The command interpreter preserves the case of whatever parameters are passed to commands but the command names themselves and filenames are case-insensitive.

While many commands are the same across many DOS systems (MS-DOS, PC DOS, DR-DOS, FreeDOS, etc.) some differ in command syntax or name.

ACALC[edit]

External - PC DOS 7

Calculates the value of a mathematical expression.
ACALC [/T[:]format] expression

  /T           Specifies the output format type
  format         D=Decimal (default)   B=Binary   O=Octal   X=heXadecimal
                 A=All (decimal, binary, octal, and hexadecimal)
  expression   Specifies a valid numeric expression.

Numbers prefixed with 'b', 'o', and 'x' are assumed to be binary, octal,
and hexadecimal respectively.  Decimal numbers are not prefixed.

APPEND[edit]

External - DOS 3.3 and above

Allows programs to open data files in specified directories as if they were in the current directory.
APPEND [[drive:]path[;...]] [/X[:ON | :OFF]] [/PATH:ON | /PATH:OFF] [/E]
APPEND ;

  [drive:]path Specifies a drive and directory to append.
  /X:ON        Applies appended directories to file searches and
               application execution.
  /X:OFF       Applies appended directories only to requests to open files.
               /X:OFF is the default setting.
  /PATH:ON     Applies appended directories to file requests that already
               specify a path.  /PATH:ON is the default setting.
  /PATH:OFF    Turns off the effect of /PATH:ON.
  /E           Stores a copy of the appended directory list in an environment
               variable named APPEND.  /E may be used only the first time
               you use APPEND after starting your system.

Type APPEND ; to clear the appended directory list.
Type APPEND without parameters to display the appended directory list.

ASSIGN[edit]

External - DOS 2.0 and above

Further information: Drive letter assignment
Redirects requests for disk operations on one drive to a different drive.
ASSIGN [x[:]=y[:][...]]
ASSIGN /STATUS

  x        Specifies the drive letter to reassign.
  y        Specifies the drive that x: will be assigned to.
  /STATUS  Displays current drive assignments.

Type ASSIGN without parameters to reset all drive letters to original
assignments.

ATTRIB[edit]

External - DOS 3.0 and above

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.

+S, -S, +H, and -H are available in DOS 5.0 and above.

BACKUP[edit]

External - DOS 2.0 and above

Backs up one or more files from one disk to another.
BACKUP source destination-drive: [/S] [/M] [/A] [/F[:size]]
  [/D:date[/T:time]] [/L[:[drive:][path]logfile]]

  source             Specifies the file(s), drive, or directory to back up.
  destination-drive: Specifies the drive to save backup copies onto.
  /S                 Backs up contents of subdirectories.
  /M                 Backs up only files that have changed since the last
                     backup.
  /A                 Adds backup files to an existing backup disk.
  /F:[size]          Specifies the size of the disk to be formatted.
  /D:date            Backs up only files changed on or after the specified
                     date.
  /T:time            Backs up only files changed at or after the specified
                     time.
  /L[:[drive:][path]logfile]
                     Creates a log file and entry to record the backup
                     operation.

BASIC, BASICA and GW-BASIC[edit]

External - DOS 1.0 to DOS 4.0

An implementation of the BASIC programming language for PCs.
IBM computers had Cassette BASIC in ROM; BASIC (Disk BASIC) and BASICA (Advanced BASIC) were extensions to the ROM-based Cassette BASIC.
Microsoft released GW-BASIC for IBM compatible PCs which did not have ROM BASIC. GW-BASIC was a complete BASIC interpreter which was compatible with BASICA. Some OEM releases had BASIC.COM and BASICA.COM as loaders for GW-BASIC.EXE. MS-DOS 5.0 and higher included QBasic instead of GW-BASIC.

BREAK[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Sets or clears extended CTRL+C checking.
BREAK [ON | OFF]

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

CALL[edit]

Internal - DOS 3.3 and above

Calls one batch program from another.
CALL [drive:][path]filename [batch-parameters]

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

CHCP[edit]

Internal - DOS 3.3 and above

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.

CHDIR or CD[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Displays the name of or changes the current directory.
CHDIR [drive:][path]
CHDIR[..]
CD [drive:][path]
CD[..]

  ..   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.

CHKDSK[edit]

External - DOS 1.0 and above

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.

CHKDSK originated as an external command in 86-DOS.

CHOICE[edit]

External - DOS 6.0 and above

Waits for you 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           Does not display choices and ? at end of prompt string.
/S           Treats choice keys as case sensitive.
/T[:]c,nn    Defaults choice to c after <nn> seconds.
text         Prompts string to display.

ERRORLEVEL is set to offset of key you press in choices.

CIPHER[edit]

External - some issues of MS-DOS 2.xx only[1]

Encrypts and decrypts data.
CIPHER key

CIPHER encrypts the data read from standard input using the provided key and sends it to standard output. To decrypt, the data needs to be passed through CIPHER again using the same key.

CLS[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Clears the screen.
CLS

DR-DOS supports a similar function also during CONFIG.SYS processing, see CLS (CONFIG.SYS directive).

In MS-DOS and PC DOS, COMMAND.COM works by directly calling the corresponding BIOS function to clear the screen, thereby violating the hardware abstraction model otherwise maintained.[2] In DOS Plus and DR-DOS, COMMAND.COM will fall back to this method as well, but only when no ANSI.SYS driver could be detected.[2] If so, they will instead send the ANSI control sequence ESC [ 2 J to clear the screen to the attached console.[2] To support other terminal types or control various screen settings after a CLS, the sequence to be sent can be changed by using the reserved environment variable $CLS.[2] Due to the difficulties to define environment variables containing binary data COMMAND.COM accepts a special \nnn notation for octal numbers.[2] For example, to send an alternative control sequence like ESC + (for 1Bh 2Bh as used by ASCII terminals), one could define the variable as follows:

SET $CLS=\033+[2]

This feature is also supported by the command interpreters in Concurrent DOS, Multiuser DOS and REAL/32, with the difference that they have built-in terminal drivers, will never fall back to call BIOS functions, and will default to VT52 rather than ANSI control sequences by default (e.g. ESC E).

COMMAND[edit]

External - DOS 1.0 and above

Starts a new copy of the DOS Command Interpreter.
COMMAND [[drive:]path] [device] [/E:nnnnn] [/P [/MSG]]
        [/H] [/O] [/Y [/C command | /K command]]

  [drive:]path    Specifies the directory containing COMMAND.COM file.
  device          Specifies the device to use for command input and output.
  /E:nnnnn        Sets the initial environment size to nnnnn bytes.
  /P              Makes the new Command Interpreter permanent (can't exit).
  /MSG            Stores all error messages in memory (requires /P).
  /H              Loads the Command Interpreter into a UMB if available.
  /O              Disables overwrite prompt on COPY,XCOPY,and MOVE commands.
  /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.

The /P and /MSG switches may be used only when COMMAND is started by using
the SHELL command in the CONFIG.SYS file.

/O and /Y are only available in DOS 6 and above. /H is only available in PC DOS 7.

COMMAND.COM originated in 86-DOS.

COMP[edit]

External - DOS 1.0 and above

Compares the contents of two files or sets of files.
COMP [data1] [data2] [/D] [/A] [/L] [/N=number] [/C]

  data1     Specifies location and name(s) of first file(s) to compare.
  data2     Specifies location and name(s) of second files to compare.
  /D        Displays differences in decimal format. This is the default
            setting.
  /A        Displays differences in ASCII characters.
  /L        Displays line numbers for differences.
  /N=number Compares only the first specified number of lines in each file.
  /C        Disregards case of ASCII letters when comparing files.

To compare sets of files, use wildcards in data1 and data2 parameters.

COPY[edit]

Internal - DOS 1.0 and above

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. The source can
               also be a device (e.g., CON for console).
  /A           Indicates an ASCII text file.
  /B           Indicates a binary file.
  destination  Specifies the directory and/or file name 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.
To append files, specify a single file for destination, but multiple files
for source (using wildcards or file1+file2+file3 format).

/Y and /-Y are only available in DOS 6 and above.

COPY originated as an internal command in 86-DOS.

CTTY[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Changes the terminal device used to control your system.
CTTY device

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

DATE[edit]

External - DOS 1.0
Internal - DOS 1.1 and above

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.

DEBUG[edit]

External - DOS 1.0 and above

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.

DEFRAG[edit]

External - DOS 6.0 and above

Further information: Defragmentation
Reorganizes files on disks to optimize performance.
DEFRAG [drive:] [/F] [/Sorder] [/B] [/SKIPHIGH] [/LCD | /BW | /G0]
DEFRAG [drive:] [/U] [/B] [/SKIPHIGH] [/LCD | /BW | /G0]

  [drive:]   Drive letter of disk to be optimized.
  /F         Fully optimizes specified disk.
  /U         Unfragments files, leaving space between files.
  /S         Sort files by specified order.
  order      N  By Name (alphabetic)            E  By extension (alphabetic)
             D  By date & time (earliest first) S  By size (smallest first)
             -  Suffix to reverse order
  /B         Restarts your computer after optimization.
  /SKIPHIGH  Prevents Defrag from using extended or upper memory.
  /LCD       Runs Defrag using an LCD color scheme.
  /BW        Runs Defrag using a black and white color scheme.
  /G0        Disable the graphic mouse and graphic character set.

DEFRAG is a licensed version Norton Utilities Speed Disk.

DEL or ERASE[edit]

Internal - DOS 1.0 and above

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.
  /Q                      Quiet mode, do not ask if ok to delete on global wildcard

/P is only available in DOS 5 and above.

ERASE (but not its alias DEL) originated as an internal command in 86-DOS. All versions of DR-DOS support the ERA command as an alias to ERASE / DEL and add ERAQ / DELQ shortcuts identical to the DR-DOS ERA / ERASE / DEL command with the /Q (Query) option given to prompt the user for confirmation.

DELTREE[edit]

External - DOS 6.0 and above

Deletes a directory and all the subdirectories and files within it.
To Delete one or more directories:
DELTREE [/Y] [drive:]path [[drive:]path[...]]

  /Y              Suppresses prompting to confirm whether you want to
                  delete the subdirectory.
  [drive:]path    Specifies the name of the directory you want to delete.

Note: Use DELTREE with caution. Every file and subdirectory within the
specified directory will be deleted.

DIR[edit]

Internal - DOS 1.0 and above

Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory.
DIR [drive:][path][filename] [/P] [/W] [/A[[:]attribs]] [/O[[:]sortord]]
    [/S] [/B] [/L]

  [drive:][path][filename]   Specifies drive, directory, and files to list.
  /P      Pauses after each full screen of information.
  /W      Uses wide list format.
  /A      Displays files with specified attributes.
  attribs   D  Directories   R  Read-only files         H  Hidden files
            S  System files  A  Files ready to archive  -  Prefix meaning "not"
  /O      Lists by files in sorted order.
  sortord   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
  /S      Displays system files in specified directory and all subdirectories.
  /B      Uses bare format (no heading information or summary).
  /L      Uses lowercase.

Switches may be preset in the DIRCMD environment variable.  Override
preset switches by prefixing any switch with - (hyphen)--for example, /-W.
To remove the commas from the DIR output, use the NO_SEP environment variable.

Only /P and /W are available prior to DOS 5.

DIR originated as an internal command in 86-DOS.

DISKCOMP[edit]

External - DOS 1.0 and above

Compares the contents of two floppy disks.
DISKCOMP [drive1: [drive2:]] [/1] [/8]

  /1   Compares the first side of the disks.
  /8   Compares only the first eight sectors of each track.

DISKCOPY[edit]

External - DOS 1.0 and above

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.

DOSKEY[edit]

External - DOS 5.0 and above

Edits command lines, recalls DOS commands, and creates macros.
DOSKEY [/REINSTALL] [/BUFSIZE=size] [/MACROS] [/HISTORY]
  [/INSERT | /OVERSTRIKE] [macroname=[text]]

  /REINSTALL    Installs a new copy of Doskey.
  /BUFSIZE=size Sets size of command history buffer.
  /MACROS       Displays all Doskey macros.
  /HISTORY      Displays all commands stored in memory.
  /INSERT       Specifies that new text you type is inserted in old text.
  /OVERSTRIKE   Specifies that new text overwrites old text.
  macroname     Specifies a name for a macro you create.
  text          Specifies commands you want to record.

UP and DOWN ARROWS recall commands; ESC clears command line; F7 displays
command history; ALT+F7 clears command history; F8 searches command
history; F9 selects a command by number; ALT+F10 clears macro definitions.

The following are some special codes 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 command line.

DRVLOCK[edit]

External - PC DOS 5.02 and above

Locks the drive or socket so that media cannot be removed.
DRVLOCK [drive: | socket:] [/ON | /OFF]

        /ON     Sets the lock on.
        /OFF    Sets the lock off.

DRVLOCK is only included with PC DOS versions.

DYNALOAD[edit]

External - PC DOS 7

Load a device driver after system startup.
DYNALOAD filename [parameters]

  filename    Specifies the name of the device driver to load.
  parameters  Specifies any parameters for the device driver.

E[edit]

External - PC DOS 6.1 and above

Starts PC DOS editor, which creates and changes ASCII files.
E [/Q] [/B] [/S] [/D] [/I] [/C] [/A] [/DM] [/80 |/132] [d:][path][filespec]
  [=filespec] ['command']

  /Q        Turns off display of "Loading .." message.
  /B        Displays files in browse (read-only) mode.
  /S        Uses EMS (or hardfile if no EMS is available) to edit files
            too large for conventional memory.
  /D        Forces file to be loaded from disk.
  /I        Edits STACKER.INI file.
  /C        Edits CONFIG.SYS file.
  /A        Edits AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
  /DM       Disables Mouse.
  /80       Enables 80 column, 16 color text video (CGA/EGA/MCGA/VGA/SVGA/XGA).
  /132      Enables 132 column, 16 color text video (XGA).
 [d:][path][filespec]  Specifies drive, directory, and file to edit.
  =         Is shorthand for "same path as last specified" at the DOS
            prompt, or "same as current file's" at the editor commandline.
            For example, E \PAS\LANG\FOO.PAS =FOO.BAK will load the two
            files FOO.PAS and FOO.BAK, both from the directory \PAS\LANG.
 'command'  Specifies a startup command.  For example, E \FOO.PAS 'ALL /IF'
            will load the file FOO.PAS and then execute the ALL command
            on this file.

Switches may be preset in the E environment variable.

E is only included with PC DOS versions and replaces the MS-DOS editor EDIT.

ECHO[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Displays messages, or turns command-echoing on or off.
  ECHO [ON | OFF]
  ECHO [message]

Type ECHO without parameters to display the current echo setting.

EDIT[edit]

External - MS-DOS 5.0 and above

Starts the MS-DOS editor, which creates and changes ASCII files.
EDIT [[drive:][path]filename] [/B] [/G] [/H] [/NOHI]

  [drive:][path]filename  Specifies the ASCII file to edit.
  /B          Allows use of a monochrome monitor with a color graphics card.
  /G          Provides the fastest update of a CGA screen.
  /H          Displays the maximum number of lines possible for your hardware.
  /NOHI       Allows the use of a monitor without high-intensity support.

PC DOS 6.1 and later use the E editor.

EDLIN[edit]

External - DOS 0.2 and above

Line-oriented text editor.
EDLIN [:][path]filename [/B]

  /B   Ignores end-of-file (CTRL+Z) characters.

EDLIN originated as an external command in QDOS.

EJECT[edit]

External - PC DOS 5.02 and above

Ejects the media from a drive.
EJECT [drive:]

EJECT is only included with PC DOS versions.

EMM386[edit]

External - DOS 5.0 and above

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.

EMM386.EXE must be loaded as a device driver in CONFIG.SYS in order to use this command.

EXE2BIN[edit]

External - DOS 1.0 and above

Converts .EXE (executable) files to binary format.
EXE2BIN [drive1:][path1]input-file [[drive2:][path2]output-file]

  input-file   Specifies the .EXE file to be converted.
  output-file  Specifies the binary file to be created.

EXIT[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Quits the COMMAND.COM program (command interpreter).
EXIT

FASTOPEN[edit]

External - DOS 3.3 to DOS 6.3

Decreases the amount of time needed to open frequently used files and directories.
FASTOPEN drive:[[=]n] [drive:[[=]n][ ...]] [/X]

  drive:  Specifies the hard disk drive you want Fastopen to work with.
  n       Specifies the maximum number of file locations Fastopen retains
          in its filename cache.
  /X      Creates the filename cache in expanded memory.

FC[edit]

External - DOS 3.3 and above

Compares two files or sets of files and displays the differences between them.
FC [/A] [/C] [/L] [/LBn] [/N] [/T] [/W] [/nnnn] [drive1:][path1]filename1
  [drive2:][path2]filename2
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
         lines.
  /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
         mismatch.

This command was named FILCOM in some issues of MS-DOS 2.xx.[1]

FDISK[edit]

External - DOS 2.0 and above

Configures a hard disk for use with DOS.
FDISK [/STATUS]

    /STATUS     Displays the status of the fixed disk drive

The undocumented /MBR switch replaces the Master Boot Record. The partition entries in it will remain intact.

FIND[edit]

External - DOS 2.0 and above

Searches for a text string in a file or files.
FIND [/V] [/C] [/N] [/I] [/S] "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.
  /S        Search subdirectories also.
  "string"  Specifies the text string to find.
  [drive:][path]filename
            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.

/S is only available in PC DOS 7. Also PC DOS 7 allows the use of wildcards in filenames while prior versions do not.

This command was named FGREP in some issues of MS-DOS 2.xx. Options /I and /S were not available in them.[1]

FOR[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Runs a specified command for each file in a set of files.
FOR [drive:\][directory] %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.
  command-parameters
             Specifies parameters or switches for the specified command.

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

FORMAT[edit]

External - DOS 1.0 and above

Formats a disk for use with DOS.
FORMAT drive: [/V[:label]] [/Q] [/U] [/F:size] [/B | /S] [/C]
FORMAT drive: [/V[:label]] [/Q] [/U] [/T:tracks /N:sectors] [/B | /S] [/C]
FORMAT drive: [/V[:label]] [/Q] [/U] [/1] [/4] [/B | /S] [/C]
FORMAT drive: [/Q] [/U] [/1] [/4] [/8] [/B | /S] [/C]

  /V[:label]  Specifies the volume label.
  /Q          Performs a quick format.
  /U          Performs an unconditional 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          Revert to less conservative handling of bad blocks.

/Q and /U are only available in DOS 5 and above. /C is only available in DOS 6 and above.

FORMAT replaced the internal command CLEAR in 86-DOS.

GOTO[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Directs DOS 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.

GRAFTABL[edit]

External - DOS 3.0 and above

Enables DOS to display an extended character set in graphics mode.
GRAFTABL [xxx]
GRAFTABL /STATUS

  xxx      Specifies a code page number.
  /STATUS  Displays the current code page selected for use with GRAFTABL.

GRAPHICS[edit]

External - DOS 2.0 and above

Loads a program that can print graphics.
GRAPHICS [type] [[drive:][path]filename] [/R] [/B] [/LCD]
  [/PRINTBOX:STD | /PRINTBOX:LCD]

  type         Specifies a printer type.
  [drive:][path]filename
               Specifies the file containing information on supported printers.
  /R           Prints white on black as seen on the screen.
  /B           Prints the background in color for COLOR4 and COLOR8 printers.
  /LCD         Prints using LCD aspect ratio.
  /PRINTBOX:STD | /PRINTBOX:LCD
               Specifies the print-box size, either STD or LCD.

This command uses the file GRAPHICS.PRO which contains information about the supported printer types.

HELP[edit]

External - DOS 5.0 and above

Displays command help.
HELP [topic]
  • MS-DOS versions use QBASIC.EXE and QuickHelp files for its help system.
  • PC DOS versions use VIEW.EXE and Information Presentation Facility files for its help system.

IF[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Performs conditional processing in batch programs.
IF [NOT] ERRORLEVEL number command
IF [NOT] string1==string2 command
IF [NOT] EXIST filename command

  NOT               Specifies that DOS 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
                    met.
  string1==string2  Specifies a true condition if the specified text strings
                    match.
  EXIST filename    Specifies a true condition if the specified filename
                    exists.

INTERLNK[edit]

External - DOS 5.02 and above

Displays status of INTERLNK-INTERSVR redirected drives.
INTERLNK [client=[server]]

    client         Specifies a client drive to redirect to a server drive.
                   Cancels redirection if no server drive is specified.
    server         Specifies a server drive to redirect to a client drive.

    Type INTERLNK with no parameters to show INTERLNK status.

INTERLNK.EXE must be loaded as a device driver in CONFIG.SYS in order to use this command.

INTERSVR[edit]

External - DOS 5.02 and above

Provides serial or parallel file transfer and printing capabilities via redirected drives.
INTERSVR [drive:[...]] [/X=drive:[...]] [/LPT[:][n | address]]
    [/COM[:][n | address]] [/baud:rate] [/v] [/b]

    drive:        Specifies the drive(s) to redirect
                  (by default, all drives are redirected).
    /X=drive:     Specifies the drive(s) to exclude.
    /LPT[n]       Specifies a port to scan. (/LPT scans all LPT ports).
    /LPT[address] Specifies a port address to scan.
    /COM[n]       Specifies a port to scan. (/COM scans all COM ports).
    /COM[address] Specifies a port address to scan.
    /BAUD:rate    Set a maximum serial baud rate.
    /B            Displays the INTERLNK server screen in black and white.
    /V            Prevents conflicts with a computer's timer.  Specify this
                  switch if you have a serial connection between computers and
                  one of them stops running when you use INTERLNK.

INTERSVR /RCOPY

Copies INTERLNK files from one computer to another, provided that the
computers' serial ports are connected with a 7-wire null-modem cable.

JOIN[edit]

External - DOS 3.1 and above

Joins a disk drive to a directory on another drive.
JOIN [drive1: [drive2:]path]
JOIN drive1: /D

  drive1:        Specifies a disk drive that will appear as a directory on
                 drive2.
  drive2:        Specifies a drive to which you want to join drive1.
  path           Specifies the directory to which you want to join drive1. It
                 must be empty and cannot be the root directory.
  /D             Cancels any previous JOIN commands for the specified drive.

Type JOIN without parameters to list currently joined drives.

KEYB[edit]

External - DOS 3.3 and above

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.

KEYB replaces the commands KEYBFR, KEYBGR, KEYBIT, KEYBSP and KEYBUK from DOS 3.0 to 3.2.

LABEL[edit]

External - DOS 3.0 and above

Creates, changes, or deletes the volume label of a disk.
LABEL [drive:][label]

LOADFIX[edit]

External - DOS 5.0 and above

Loads a program above the first 64K of memory, and runs the program.
LOADFIX [drive:][path]filename

Use LOADFIX to load a program if you have received the message
"Packed file corrupt" when trying to load it in low memory.

LOADHIGH or LH[edit]

Internal - DOS 5.0 and above

Loads a program into the upper memory area.
LOADHIGH [drive:][path]filename [parameters]
LOADHIGH [/L:region1[,minsize1][;region2[,minsize2]...]]
         [drive:][path]filename [parameters]

/L:region1[,minsize1][;region2[,minsize2]]...
            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.
[drive:][path]filename
            Specifies the location and name of the program.

parameters  Specifies any command-line information required by
            the program.

/L is only available in DOS 6 and above.

MEM[edit]

External - DOS 4.0 and above

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
                   the 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 full screen of information.

MEMMAKER[edit]

External - DOS 6.0 and above

MemMaker is used to free system memory (especially conventional memory) by automatically reconfiguring the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files. This was usually done by moving TSR programs to the upper memory. The whole process required three system restarts. Before the first restart the user was asked whether he/she wanted to enable EMS Memory.
The use of MemMaker was popular among gamers who wanted to enable or disable expanded memory in order to run a game.

Options:

  • /BATCH Runs MemMaker in batch (unattended) mode. In batch mode, MemMaker takes the default action at all prompts.
  • /UNDO Instructs MemMaker to undo its most recent changes.
PC DOS uses another program RamBoost to optimize memory, either the HIMEM/EMM386 or a third-party memory manager.

MIRROR[edit]

External - DOS 5.0 and above

Records information about one or more disks.
MIRROR [drive:[ ...]] [/1] [/Tdrive[-entries][ ...]]
MIRROR [/U]
MIRROR [/PARTN]

  drive:       Specifies the drive for which you want to save information.
  /1           Saves only the latest disk information (does not back up
               previous information).
  /Tdrive      Loads the deletion-tracking program for the specified drive.
  -entries     Specifies maximum number of entries in the deletion-tracking
               file.
  /U           Unloads the deletion-tracking program.
  /PARTN       Saves hard disk partition information to a floppy diskette.

MIRROR is licensed from Central Point Software PC Tools

MKDIR or MD[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Creates a directory.
MKDIR [drive:]path
MD [drive:]path

MODE[edit]

External - DOS 1.0 and above

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]
                   MODE CON[:] [COLS=c] [LINES=n]
Typematic rate:    MODE CON[:] [RATE=r DELAY=d]

MORE[edit]

External - DOS 2.0 and above

Displays output one screen at a time.
MORE < [drive:][path]filename
command-name | MORE

  [drive:][path]filename  Specifies a file to display one screen at a time.
  command-name            Specifies a command whose output will be displayed.

MOVE[edit]

External - DOS 6.0 and above

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 [drive:][path]dirname1 dirname2

  /Y        Suppresses prompting to confirm overwriting of the destination.
  /-Y       Causes prompting to confirm 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.

  [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.

MSCDEX[edit]

External - DOS 6.0 and above

Loads the CD-ROM support utility.
MSCDEX /D:driver ... [/E] [/K] [/L:letter] [/M:buffers] [/S] [/V]

  /D:driver   Specifies name of CD-ROM driver
  /E          Load buffers in expanded memory (EMS)
  /K          Load Kanji support
  /L:letter   Specifies first drive letter to use
  /M:buffers  Specifies number of sector buffers
  /S          Load server environment support
  /V          Display verbose memory usage statistics

MSD[edit]

External - MS-DOS 6.0 and above

Provides detailed technical information about your computer.
MSD [/I] [/F[drive:][path]filename] [/P[drive:][path]filename]
    [/S[drive:][path][filename]]

MSD [/B][/I]

  /B                         Runs MSD using a black and white color scheme.
  /I                         Bypasses initial hardware detection.
  /F[drive:][path]filename   Requests input and writes an MSD report to the
                             specified file.
  /P[drive:][path]filename   Writes an MSD report to the specified file
                             without first requesting input.
  /S[drive:][path][filename] Writes a summary MSD report to the specified
                             file. If no filename is specified, output is to
                             the screen.

MSD is only included with MS-DOS versions, PC DOS uses QCONFIG.

NLSFUNC[edit]

External - DOS 3.3 and above

Loads country-specific information.
NLSFUNC [[drive:][path]filename]

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

PATH[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Displays or sets a search path for executable files.
PATH [[drive:]path[;...]]
PATH ;
SET PATH=[[drive:]path[;...]]

Executing the PATH command modifies the PATH environment variable, and vice versa.

Enter the command 'PATH ;' to clear all search-path settings and direct DOS to search only in the current directory. Enter the command 'SET PATH=' to clear the path settings entirely. Enter the 'PATH' command without parameters to display the current path.

PAUSE[edit]

Internal - DOS 1.0 and above

Suspends processing of a batch program and displays the message "Press any key to continue...." (For DOS 4.01 and above) or "Strike a key when ready..." (For DOS 4.0 and below).
PAUSE
also : /p (ex.: dir /p)

PAUSE originated as an internal command in 86-DOS.

POWER[edit]

External - DOS 5.02 and above

Controls power management.
POWER [ADV[:MAX | REG | MIN] | STD | OFF]

  ADV[:MAX | REG | MIN] --  Reduces power by  monitoring applications
      and hardware devices. MAX provides the most power conservation,
      REG  provides average power conservation,  and MIN provides the
      least conservation.
  STD -- Reduces power by monitoring hardware devices.
  OFF -- Turns off power management.

POWER.EXE must be loaded as a device driver in CONFIG.SYS in order to use this command.

PRINT[edit]

External - DOS 2.0 and above

Prints a text file while you are using other DOS commands.
PRINT [/D:device] [/B:size] [/U:ticks1] [/M:ticks2] [/S:ticks3]
      [/Q:qsize] [/T] [[drive:][path]filename[ ...]] [/C] [/P]

  /D:device   Specifies a print device.
  /B:size     Sets the internal buffer size, in bytes.
  /U:ticks1   Waits the specified maximum number of clock ticks for the printer
              to be available.
  /M:ticks2   Specifies the maximum number of clock ticks it takes to print a
              character.
  /S:ticks3   Allocates the scheduler the specified number of clock ticks for
              background printing.
  /Q:qsize    Specifies the maximum number of files allowed in the print queue.
  /T          Removes all files from the print queue.
  /C          Cancels printing of the preceding filename and subsequent
              filenames.
  /P          Adds the preceding filename and subsequent filenames to the print
              queue.

Type PRINT without parameters to display the contents of the print queue.

PROMPT[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Changes the DOS 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   DOS 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.

QBASIC[edit]

External - MS-DOS 5.0 and above

Further information: QBASIC
Starts the MS-DOS QBasic programming environment.
QBASIC [/B] [/EDITOR] [/G] [/H] [/MBF] [/NOHI] [[/RUN] [drive:][path]filename]

  /B          Allows use of a monochrome monitor with a color graphics card.
  /EDITOR     Starts the MS-DOS editor.
  /G          Provides the fastest update of a CGA screen.
  /H          Displays the maximum number of lines possible for your hardware.
  /MBF        Converts the built-in functions MKS$, MKD$, CVS, and CVD to
              MKSMBF$, MKDMBF$, CVSMBF, and CVDMBF, respectively.
  /NOHI       Allows the use of a monitor without high-intensity support.
  /RUN        Runs the specified Basic program before displaying it.
  [[drive:][path]filename] Specifies the program file to load or run.

QBASIC replaces GW-BASIC from earlier versions of DOS.

QCONFIG[edit]

External - PC DOS 6.1 and above

Displays detailed technical information about your computer.
QCONFIG [/?][/A][/C][/D][/E][/I][/O[file]][/P][/Q] [key="text"]

   /?      Displays this help information.
   /A      Displays all Micro Channel adapters supported by QCONFIG.
   /C      Displays additional detail on async ports.
   /D      Displays a detailed listing of hardware.
   /E      Displays current environment.
   /I      Displays CONFIG.SYS & AUTOEXEC.BAT.
   /O      Redirects output to file QCONFIG.OUT.
   /Ofile  Redirects output to file (anyname).
   /P      Pauses the output between screens.
   /Q      Does not display redirect message.
key="text" Defines key with text to appear in output (must be last option).

QCONFIG is only included with PC DOS versions and replaces the Microsoft MSD utility.

RECOVER[edit]

External - DOS 2.0 to DOS 5.0

Recovers readable information from a bad or defective disk.
RECOVER [drive:][path]filename
RECOVER drive:

REM[edit]

Internal - DOS 1.0 and above

Records comments (remarks) in a batch file or CONFIG.SYS.
REM [comment]

RENAME or REN[edit]

Internal - DOS 1.0 and above

Renames a file or files.
RENAME [drive:][path]filename1 filename2
REN [drive:][path]filename1 filename2

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

Use MOVE to move files from one directory to another, or to rename a directory.

RENAME (but not its alias REN) originated as an internal command in 86-DOS.

REPLACE[edit]

External - DOS 3.2 and above

Replaces files.
REPLACE [drive1:][path1]filename [drive2:][path2] [/A] [/P] [/R] [/W]
REPLACE [drive1:][path1]filename [drive2:][path2] [/P] [/R] [/S] [/W] [/U]

  [drive1:][path1]filename Specifies the source file or files.
  [drive2:][path2]         Specifies the directory where files are to be
                           replaced.
  /A                       Adds new files to destination directory. Cannot
                           use with /S or /U switches.
  /P                       Prompts for confirmation before replacing a file or
                           adding a source file.
  /R                       Replaces read-only files as well as unprotected
                           files.
  /S                       Replaces files in all subdirectories of the
                           destination directory. Cannot use with the /A
                           switch.
  /W                       Waits for you to insert a disk before beginning.
  /U                       Replaces (updates) only files that are older than
                           source files. Cannot use with the /A switch.

RESTORE[edit]

External - DOS 2.0 and above

Restores files that were backed up by using the BACKUP command.
RESTORE drive1: drive2:[path[filename]] [/S] [/P] [/B:date] [/A:date] [/E:time]
  [/L:time] [/M] [/N] [/D]

  drive1:  Specifies the drive on which the backup files are stored.
  drive2:[path[filename]]
           Specifies the file(s) to restore.
  /S       Restores files in all subdirectories in the path.
  /P       Prompts before restoring read-only files or files changed since
           the last backup (if appropriate attributes are set).
  /B       Restores only files last changed on or before the specified date.
  /A       Restores only files changed on or after the specified date.
  /E       Restores only files last changed at or earlier than the specified
           time.
  /L       Restores only files changed at or later than the specified time.
  /M       Restores only files changed since the last backup.
  /N       Restores only files that no longer exist on the destination disk.
  /D       Displays files on the backup disk that match specifications.

REXX[edit]

External - PC DOS 7

Further information: REXX
Execute a REXX program.
REXX filename [parameters]

  filename    Specifies the name of the REXX program to execute.
  parameters  Specifies any parameters for the REXX program.

REXXDUMP[edit]

External - PC DOS 7

Dump the variables of an active REXX procedure.
REXXDUMP

RMDIR or RD[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Removes (deletes) a directory.
RMDIR [drive:]path
RD [drive:]path

SCANDISK[edit]

External - MS-DOS 6.2 and above

Runs the ScanDisk disk-repair program.
To check and repair a drive, use the following syntax:
   SCANDISK [drive: | /ALL] [/CHECKONLY | /AUTOFIX [/NOSAVE]] [/SURFACE]
To check and repair an unmounted DriveSpace compressed volume file, use:
   SCANDISK drive:\DRVSPACE.nnn [/CHECKONLY | /AUTOFIX[/NOSAVE]]
To examine a file for fragmentation, use the following syntax:
   SCANDISK /FRAGMENT [drive:][path]filename
To undo repairs you made previously, use the following syntax:
   SCANDISK /UNDO [drive:]
For [drive:], specify the drive containing your Undo disk.

/ALL         Checks and repairs all local drives.
/AUTOFIX     Fixes damage without prompting.
/CHECKONLY   Checks a drive, but does not repair any damage.
/CUSTOM      Configures and runs ScanDisk according to SCANDISK.INI settings.
/NOSAVE      With /AUTOFIX, deletes lost clusters rather than saving as files.
/NOSUMMARY   With /CHECKONLY or /AUTOFIX, prevents ScanDisk from stopping at
                    summary screens.
/SURFACE     Performs a surface scan after other checks.
/MONO        Configures ScanDisk for use with a monochrome display.

To check and repair the current drive, type SCANDISK without parameters.

Scandisk is only included with MS-DOS versions.

SET[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Displays, sets, or removes DOS 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.

SETVER[edit]

External - DOS 5.0 and above

Sets the version number that DOS 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 DOS version to be reported to the program.
  /DELETE or /D   Deletes the version-table entry for the specified program.
  /QUIET          Hides the message typically displayed during deletion of
                  version-table entry.

SETVER.EXE must be loaded as a device driver in CONFIG.SYS in order to use this command. While the internal version setting functionality was present in DOS 4, the SETVER command did not appear until DOS 5.

SHARE[edit]

External - DOS 3.0 and above

Installs file-sharing and locking capabilities on your hard disk.
SHARE [/F:space] [/L:locks] [/NOHMA]

  /F:space   Allocates file space (in bytes) for file-sharing information.
  /L:locks   Sets the number of files that can be locked at one time.
  /NOHMA     Don't load code into the HMA.

/NOHMA is only available in PC DOS 7.

SHIFT[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Changes the position of replaceable parameters in a batch file.
SHIFT

SMARTDRV[edit]

External - DOS 6.0 and above

Installs and configures the SMARTDrive disk-caching utility.
SMARTDRV [/X] [[drive[+|-]]...] [/U] [/C | /R] [/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.
/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.

SORT[edit]

External - DOS 2.0 and above

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 a file to be sorted.
  [drive2:][path2]filename2  Specifies a file where the sorted input is to be
                             stored.
  command                    Specifies a command whose output is to be sorted.

SUBST[edit]

External - DOS 3.1 and above

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.

SYS[edit]

External - DOS 1.0 and above

Copies DOS system files and command interpreter to a disk you specify.
SYS [drive1:][path] drive2:

  [drive1:][path] Specifies the location of the system files.
  drive2:         Specifies the drive the files are to be copied to.

SYS originated as an external command in 86-DOS.

TIME[edit]

External - DOS 1.0
Internal - DOS 1.1 and above

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.

TREE[edit]

External - DOS 2.0 and above

Graphically displays the directory structure of a drive or path.
TREE [drive:][path] [/F] [/A]

  /F   Displays the names of the files in each directory.
  /A   Uses ASCII instead of extended characters.

TRUENAME[edit]

Internal - DOS 4.0 and above

If the argument is the name, without necessarily having full path or extension, of an executable file found via the PATH environment variable or through SUBST, JOIN and ASSIGN filesystem mappings, returns the fully qualified filename, with path.
TRUENAME [drive:][path]filename

This command was undocumented in DOS 3.x.

TYPE[edit]

Internal - DOS 1.0 and above

Displays the contents of a text file.
TYPE [drive:][path]filename

TYPE originated as an internal command in 86-DOS.

UNDELETE[edit]

External - DOS 5.0 and above

Restores files previously deleted with the DEL command.
UNDELETE [[drive:][path]filename] [/DT | /DS | /DOS]
UNDELETE [/LIST | /ALL | /PURGE[DRIVE] | /STATUS | /LOAD | /UNLOAD
          /S[DRIVE] | /T[DRIVE]-entrys ]]

  /LIST                Lists the deleted files available to be recovered.
  /ALL                 Recovers files without prompting for confirmation.
  /DOS                 Recovers files listed as deleted by MS-DOS.
  /DT                  Recovers files protected by Delete Tracker.
  /DS                  Recovers files protected by Delete Sentry.
  /LOAD                Loads Undelete into memory for delete protection.
  /UNLOAD              Unloads Undelete from memory.
  /PURGE[drive]        Purges all files in the Delete Sentry directory.
  /STATUS              Display the protection method in effect for each drive.
  /S[drive]            Enables Delete Sentry method of protection.
  /T[drive][-entrys]   Enables Delete Tracking method of protection.

UNDELETE is licensed from Central Point Software PC Tools

UNFORMAT[edit]

External - DOS 5.0 and above

Restores a disk erased by the FORMAT command.
UNFORMAT drive: [/J]
UNFORMAT drive: [/U] [/L] [/TEST] [/P]
UNFORMAT /PARTN [/L]

  drive:   Specifies the drive to unformat.
  /J       Verifies that the mirror files agree with the system information
           on the disk.
  /U       Unformats without using MIRROR files.
  /L       Lists all file and directory names found, or, when used with the
           /PARTN switch, displays current partition tables.
  /TEST    Displays information but does not write changes to disk.
  /P       Sends output messages to printer connected to LPT1.
  /PARTN   Restores disk partition tables.

UNFORMAT is licensed from Central Point Software PC Tools

VER[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Displays the DOS version.
VER

The undocumented /R switch displays the revision level and where DOS is loaded (low, HMA or ROM) in DOS 5 and above.

Version returned:

  • MS-DOS up to 6.22, typically derive the DOS version from the DOS kernel. This may be different from the string it prints when it starts.
  • PC DOS typically derive the version from an internal string in COMMAND.COM (so PC DOS 6.1 COMMAND.COM reports the version as 6.10, although the kernel version is 6.00.)
  • DR-DOS reports whatever value the reserved environment variable VER holds.

VERIFY[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Tells DOS whether to verify that your files are written correctly to a disk.
VERIFY [ON | OFF]

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

VOL[edit]

Internal - DOS 2.0 and above

Displays the disk volume label and serial number, if they exist.
VOL [drive:]

XCOPY[edit]

External - DOS 3.2 and above

Copy entire directory trees.
XCOPY [/Y|/-Y] source [destination] [/A|/M] [/D:date] [/P] [/S] [/E] [/V] [/W]
  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.
  /C           Ignores errors.
  /D:date      Copies files changed on or after the specified date.
  /P           Prompts you before creating each destination file.
  /S           Copies directories and subdirectories except empty ones.
  /E           Copies any subdirectories, even if empty.
  /V           Verifies each new file.
  /W           Prompts you to press a key before copying.
  /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

/Y and /-Y are only available in DOS 6 and above.

/C is only available under MS-DOS 7.0-8.0 (provided by XCOPY32).

Renaming the XCOPY program file to MCOPY under MS-DOS 3.2, the command will no longer ask for confirmation if the target was meant as file or directory. Instead, it will then automatically assume the target to be an directory, if the source was given as a directory or as multiple files or was ending on "\".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Paterson, Tim; Microsoft (2013-12-19) [1983]. "Microsoft DOS V1.1 and V2.0: /msdos/msdos/v20source/UTILITY.txt". Computer History Museum, Microsoft. Retrieved 2014-03-25.  (NB. While the publishers claim this would be MS-DOS 1.1 and 2.0, it actually is SCP MS-DOS 1.25 and a mixture of Altos MS-DOS 2.11 and TeleVideo PC DOS 2.11.)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Paul, Matthias (1997-07-30). "NWDOS-TIPs — Tips & Tricks rund um Novell DOS 7, mit Blick auf undokumentierte Details, Bugs und Workarounds" (e-book). MPDOSTIP (in German) (3, release 157 ed.). Retrieved 2012-01-11.  NWDOSTIP.TXT is a comprehensive work on Novell DOS 7 and OpenDOS 7.01, including the description of many undocumented features and internals. It is part of the author's yet larger MPDOSTIP.ZIP collection maintained up to 2001 and distributed on many sites at the time. The provided link points to a HTML-converted older version of the NWDOSTIP.TXT file.

External links[edit]

There are several guides to DOS commands available that are licenced under the GNU Free Documentation License: