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|A component of Microsoft Windows|
Command Prompt in Windows 8
|Included with||Windows NT
Command Prompt (executable name
cmd.exe) is the Microsoft-supplied command-line interpreter on OS/2, Windows CE and on Windows NT-based operating systems (including Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2008 R2 and Server 2012). It is the analog of
COMMAND.COM in MS-DOS and Windows 9x systems (where it is called MS-DOS Prompt), or of the Unix shells used on Unix-like systems.
Therese Stowell developed the initial version of
cmd.exe for Windows NT. Although some old DOS commands are unsupported or have been changed (e.g. the functionality of
deltree was rolled into
rd in the form of the /s parameter),
cmd.exe still has a greater number of built-in commands.
The OS/2 and the Windows NT versions of
cmd.exe have more detailed error messages than the blanket "Bad command or file name" (in the case of malformed commands) of
command.com. In the OS/2 version of
cmd.exe, errors are reported in the current language of the system, their text being taken from the system message files. The "help" command can then be issued with the error message number to obtain further information.
Technical information 
COMMAND.COM, which is a DOS program,
cmd.exe is a native Windows application usually running in Win32 console. This allows it to take advantage of features available to native programs on the platform that are otherwise unavailable to DOS programs. For example, since
cmd.exe is a native text mode application on OS/2, it can use real pipes in command pipelines, allowing both sides of the pipeline to run concurrently. As a result, it is possible to redirect the standard error in
COMMAND.COM uses temporary files, and runs the two sides serially, one after the other.)
cmd.exe is a Windows program that acts as a DOS-like command line interpreter. It is generally compatible, but provides extensions which address some of the limitations of
ENDLOCALcommands limit the scope of changes to the environment
GOTOallow for more complex subroutines to be included in a single file
- filename-parsing extensions to the
SETcommand are comparable to C shell
- expression-evaluation extensions are also provided in the
- an expansion of the
FORcommand to support parsing files and arbitrary sets in addition to filenames.
- use of arrow keys to scroll through command history (
- off-by-default path completion capabilities similar to
- a directory stack accessible with the
IFcan perform case-insensitive comparisons and numeric equality and inequality comparisons in addition to case-sensitive string comparisons
- the ability to escape reserved characters by using the caret character (
- delayed variable expansion, fixing DOS idioms that made using Control structures hard and complex (cmd.exe of Windows 2000 and higher)
The extensions can be disabled, providing a stricter compatibility mode.
See also