Talk:List of DOS commands

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Displays memory usage.

the command is not working in w7 x64.
Olof nord (talk) 18:33, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

The Win64 systems (xp, vista, 7), do not have a DOS subsystem, and therefore do not have the few DOS utilities as in the 32-bit versions: command, debug, edit, edlin, and mem. mem only ever reported on the virtual DOS machine, and not the global windows environment in any case. --Wendy.krieger (talk) 07:34, 20 May 2010 (UTC)


cd or chdir[edit]
cd f:

displays the current working directory on F:.

to actually change partition you need to also write the /d parameter.
Olof nord (talk) 18:28, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

No version of DOS supports cd /d. The method of changing the current drive is eg f: . Something like cd f:\ would change the current drive on f: to the root directory, but would not change the current drive to f:. --Wendy.krieger (talk) 06:27, 23 June 2010 (UTC)


What about Extract? Setver? Sys? Scanreg? Debug? Edit?

Extract, scanreg, is specific to MS-DOS 7. "Edit" is a utility bundled with DOS, different DOS versions have functionally different editors. (cf edlin). Scanreg is a DOS part of Windows 9x. In PC-DOS 7, Extract and Edit are functioanlly replaced by unpack2 (unpack distribution files), and E (text editor). DR-DOS uses even different files.

Setver, sys and debug are indeed parts of DOS. --Wendy.krieger (talk) 06:24, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Dos version for /? help[edit]

In DOS version 5 or later, to get help on a dos command, at the dos prompt, type /? after the command name. 

I have dos version 4.1 and I can still use /? after the command name to get help.


If multiple source files are indicated, the destination must be a directory, or an error will result. in MS-DOS 6.22 it appended the content of the multiple files to the what-can-be-interpreted-as-a-file ?

ver(sion) /?[edit]

Shows the version of MS-DOS you are using.

It have became false since a while: recently, the Windows version is shown, not the DOS one. Ask VER itself (here, it respond in french):

C:\>ver /?
Affiche le numéro de version de Windows XP.

According to some websites (including the previously quoted Computer Hope), this is since Windows 95. Lacrymocéphale 13:22, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

VER variously returns a string from inside COMMAND.COM *eg "IBM DOS Version 5.02 Revision 0", or it might return the underlying DOS version version (eg MS-DOS 6.22, under Windows NT, returns "MS-DOS Version 5.00")--Wendy.krieger (talk) 08:54, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
This article is called "List of DOS commands". The DOS command ver shows the version of MS-DOS you are using. As you know, there is also a Windows command ver. This command shows the version of Windows you are using. We don't have a "List of Windows commands" yet, but I was actually plannig to create it someday. There are certain commands that are available only on DOS and there are certain commands that are available only on Windows. However, many of them exist on both platforms and are almost the same.
In the long run, this article should become a real "list article" with just some basic command info. All the detailed command description and usage examples should then be merged into the articles of the individual commands. See for instance the List of Unix commands.
This way we could avoid that "List of DOS commands" and the new "List of Windows commands" would contain many almost identical command descriptions. Also, both lists would then be much shorter than this list is now.
I already started creating some command articles and copied some of this content into these individual articles. The redlinks indicate that many commands still don't have their own article. There is also still a lot of redundant information in this list and the command articles. I'd appreciate it, if someone was willing to help me with this task. Ghettoblaster (talk) 19:31, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Since there is already a List of Unix commands why is there all these references to Unix in the article - surely it would be better to clean those bits out?  Ronhjones  (Talk) 19:37, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Ver is indeed a DOS command, from version 2.0 onwards. It is intended to return the version of the underlying kernel or emulation, but this is not always the case. MS-DOS versions typically return the underlying DOS kernel version (eg 5.00 for NT). ver in PC-DOS 7, OS/2 and Windows 9x, return a string or strings in, regardless of the underlying kernel.
Ver in of Windows NT, is either fetched from the underlying 32-bit command processor (eg cmd.exe, 4nt.exe), or MS-DOS 5.00.500 (regardless of the NT version).
The command for returning the windows version is "winver". In some versions of Windows, this is a DOS/Windows program.--Wendy.krieger (talk) 07:38, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

ctty article[edit]

Any thoughts on adding a ctty article? Surv1v4l1st (Talk|Contribs) 23:31, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Don't. A useless MS DOS command, not usable for most applications. It's a one-line description here and that's all it needs. --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:49, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

What is the purpose of this article?[edit]

What are we trying to achieve here? It's a pretty random collection of information and doesn't distinguish between built-in commands and transient commands that may or may not come with any particular version of MS DOS (or PC DOS or whatever rebranded name came with the clone.). --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:49, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

It should also distinguish between commands only useful in a batch file and those that one would actually type at a command line. --Wtshymanski (talk)
Should we be adding all the Windows console commands here? They aren't MS DOS commands. --Wtshymanski (talk) 18:00, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
One should note, that just as there are binary-incompatible Unix/Linux systems, one can still talk of "Unix" as a unified system. Similarly, the DOS user interface flows onto its derivitives OS/2 and Windows. The DOS command line is supposed to behave in a particular way, and many of the commands learnt at DOS are valid under OS/2 and under Windows. Just as one might bring up 'sh' in any unix, and expect a similar layout (eg /usr/bin etc), one can sit at the DOS, OS/2 or Windows command prompt and expect to find commands like xcopy, find, ver, &c, that started in DOS.
Some commands (Sys, Fdisk), belong to DOS as an operating system, and some command line utilities (like OS/2 eautil.exe or windows reg.exe, scanreg), are command-line interfaces to some other operating system. OS/2 has a graphical FDISK, in Windows, this is by way of DISKPART, an interactive command-line utlity.
The break between IBM and Microsoft places some strain on the syntax: IBM's desire to bring all of their operating systems to SAA, meant the inclusion of REXX batches, such appeared in PC-DOS 7.0, although they do have a utility to add this to 3.x and later. EXTPROC, the OS/2 version of /#, spreads by 4OS2 to 4NT and Windows. The PC-DOS editor (E), and the View (IPF) system predates OS/2, but finds alternate homes in DOS and even a Windows viewer is to be found.
One should note further that from DOS 5 onwards, there is a gradual inclusion of 'additional tools', a different set for the big three (DRDOS, PCDOS, MSDOS): DOS 5 = QBASIC, DOSSHELL, INTERLNK; MS-DOS 6: MEMMAKER, MSBACKUP, DRVSPACE, DBLSPACE, SCANDISK, etc. DOS 6: MOVE, DELTREE, CHOICE, PC-DOS 6: SSTOR, E editor, RAMBOOST, PCBACKUP, PEN for DOS, etc. MS-DOS 7: EXTRACT, EDIT2, PC-DOS 7: STACKER, REXX, UNPACK2 Including something like memmaker or scandisk, one would freely wonder where unpack2 or ramboost got to. --Wendy.krieger (talk) 06:51, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
This is going to make for a very rambly article. Should we also include PIP and STAT? Or commands from RSX 11M? It would be nice if this article just focussed on "commands found in the MS DOS operating systems from MS DOS 1.0 through MS DOS 5.0 " or whatever the last free-standing DOS version was.
Also, this article doesn't distinguish between commands that are only useful within batch files and those that are actually used at the command line. Nor does it give any hint of which versions of MS DOS suport a command. --Wtshymanski (talk) 13:14, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
DOS is a computer language, like the UNIX interface. The command processors in OS/2 and Windows NT pretty much emulate the DOS 3.3 or DOS 5 command line, even down to replicating missing commands as downloads (deltree, choice etc). Although DOS derives from CP/M and UNIX, it is pretty much the command set of DOS 5 (from which Windows NT and OS/2 derive), and some dos 6 utilities (choice, deltree), which is replicated throughout. This is the language that should be represented here.Wendy.krieger (talk) 07:59, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
"DOS is a computer language"? Not the way I would have phrased it. What is the criteria for what is in or out of this article? I have a command on my DOS system "PLUGH" that teleports me to a grassy clearing in front of a litle house...clearly not in. Every OEM version of MS DOS had some trivial different-named utility for parking the hard drive or similar they go in? It would be a*huge* help and a big step toward making this an enecyclopedia article instead of a retype of the back of someone's guidebook if the article identified *which* versions of MIcrosoft MS DOS introduced a command, and when it got dropped...we don't see EDLIN much after DOS 4, for example. Presumably NT and OS/2 and UNIX have their own sets of commands, but it would make this rambling list a little more focussed if it just talked about DOS and left these other systems to their own articles.
I look forward to the article on COBOL keywords, a real computer language. --Wtshymanski (talk) 13:14, 16 March 2012 (UTC)
The real test for common language is that could a language manual from one implementation be used with a different binary implementation. Could you use a PC-DOS 6.1 manual to drive the Windows NT 4 command prompt? Most of the PC-DOS 6.1 manual is quite suitable for the NT command prompt, because they use the same commands and switches.
The DOS 5 heritage of both OS/2 and Windows NT means that both have a drive-path convention, like c:\path\file, and that many of the utilities and commands that exist in DOS 5 exist in both OS/2 and NT, and batches will essentially run in all three. Since one can't take OS/2 binaries and drop them into NT, or vice versa, one must assume that it's the language, and not the binary implementation of DOS.
EDLIN, for example, was dropped after DOS 6. Since both NT and OS/2 are DOS 5, they have EDLIN. It is a scriptable editor, all be it what IBM calls well behaved. I used the PC-DOS 6.1 manual to configure a script file under Windows NT.
PARK was pretty much obsolete by the time of DOS 5, and is not part of the DOS language. By DOS 5 and DOS 6, one was pretty much supplying computers bare, or with various OEM crud in the style of additional applications, not programs.
Yes, DOS 6/7, Windows NT and OS/2 have extra commands, but they share the same common command set. XCOPY is common to all of these. START occurs in Win9x, WinNT and OS/2. Some commands make sense in some environments only. DPATH is in OS/2 only, since neither DOS nor Windows support the LIBPATH environment. EXTPROC could have been in NT, (it does what unix /# does), and 4NT supports it. Wendy.krieger (talk) 07:56, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Command line arguments[edit] (talk) 06:37, 7 February 2010 (UTC)How about mentioning spaces between switches effect of 0,1,2+ blanks

Article needs to be overhauled[edit]

This article is a mess and needs a complete overhaul. Problems:

  • command syntax listings are inconsistent
  • some commands show usage while others do not
  • some commands show options which were added in Windows but don't mention this
  • a few commands listed are from OS/2 or are third-party utilities
  • a few commands are lumped together which should not be (e.g. comp and fc, date and time)

What should be listed:

  • command syntax obtained by running "command /?" in DOS 5 or above
  • whether command is internal to COMMAND.COM or an external program
  • DOS versions the command is available for
  • if new options were added in versions of Windows then they should be listed separately

What should not be listed:

  • commands which are not in MS-DOS or PC DOS
  • Unix equivalents (why is this needed ?)
  • examples (why is this needed ? this is what reference links are for)

Asmpgmr (talk) 00:16, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

The article has been overhauled:

  • all commands now have consistent descriptions and syntax listings taken from the actual DOS command help syntax using /?
  • all standard MS-DOS and PC DOS commands are listed
  • indications of whether each command is internal or external and the DOS versions available
  • commands are no longer lumped together unless they are synonyms (i.e. del or erase)
  • syntax specific to Windows or OS/2 cmd.exe has been removed
  • tutorial style examples have been removed

Asmpgmr (talk) 20:51, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

I very much agree with you that this article is a mess and needs a significant overhaul, and I appreciate your work and dedication to improve it. Unfortunately, we cannot simply copy the original text of the DOS help screens into here, since they are copyrighted material by Microsoft and IBM. The fact, that MS-DOS and PC DOS are abandoned products doesn't change that. Perhaps you could use the parameter line, but you would still have to re-word all the explanations in your own words. Please try to address this as soon as possible, as COPYVIOs are a serious threat to WP and we cannot leave it in this state for much longer. Otherwise, I'm afraid, we'd have to revert back to the older version.
Perhaps, the extra parameters and features supported in some newer command line processors could be discussed in Notes sections at the bottom of each command section to give the readers some context and outlook. In order to avoid actual OS/2 and NT commands to be added into this article again, it might be useful to create similar articles for them as well. At present, they don't have separate entries, probably a reason why people feel tempted to add newer stuff into this article as well (also not knowing the sometimes subtle differences). The three articles could be crosslinked, but at least we'd keep the stuff separated in the first place.
Don't know about you, but although I type them in lower case I very much prefer to see DOS commands written in all-uppercase (as represented in most DOS help texts and on disk in SFN notation), also to make them stand out in normal text. Perhaps this would be a good time to change the spelling of DOS commands to upper-case in the section headers (and subsequent articles -- for as long as they are only DOS specific). What do you think?
I'm quite sure there is a WP MOS policy against links in section headers, so those links would have to be moved into the section bodies.
I don't want to interfere with your editing right now, but I might add the DR-DOS extra commands, command line options and features at a (much) later stage (although the title should be changed from "MS-DOS" to "DOS" before this).
--Matthiaspaul (talk) 11:58, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
All of the command names have been uppercased.
Using command help syntax (/?) is not a copyright violation, distributing the DOS executables themselves is. Anyway the older version had some of the actual help syntax also.
Any commands added from OS/2 and Windows should be removed with a comment stating as much.
The section header command links aren't really needed and can be removed.
How many DR-DOS specific commands are there ? Right now there are 90 DOS commands listed which makes for a rather large table of contents. I suppose the table of contents should be changed to horizontal format.
Asmpgmr (talk) 15:24, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Regarding uppercased commands: If you ask me, it looks nice this way. Let's hope the others will prefer it this way as well.
Regarding copyright violations: I see your point, but this view is not backed up by US or European copyright laws, nor by Wikipedia's rather strict view on copyrights. These help texts are clearly copyrighted material, even if they are (re)produced as message output of programs and then captured using output redirection. Even screenshots of messages of copyrighted software often get deleted here for potential copyright reasons (unless from free software). The problem is that for as long as the help screens will not have been reworded, this puts the whole article at risk to be reverted into its prior state - and since new edits often cannot be preserved over such a revert, this will also put all future contributions at risk. It is really something that must be addressed very soon (independent of personal views on copyrights).
--Matthiaspaul (talk) 02:51, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Uppercase commands look much better. Moving the links out of the section header names looks messy and inconsistent as some commands have links while others do not. I checked WP:MOS and saw nothing for or against having links in header names so I would really prefer to put it back the way it was or find a more consistent means of linking. Also it looks better with the version info immediately after the command names.
Copyrights are meant to protect intellectual property, I don't see how listing command syntax hurts that. I really think this falls under fair use. Obviously distributing the executables, source code or disk images would clearly violate copyright but simply listing command syntax, even if from the commands does not. Does saying "file not found" violate copyright ? That string is in many commands. Another example: does listing the "Space, the final frontier ..." intro text in the Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation articles violate copyright ? There is a concept of fair use. I suppose copying detailed explanations from one of the official command references would violate copyright but not simple syntax. Programs can be copyrighted, program output cannot. Anyway if by some unlikely chance Microsoft and/or IBM makes a complaint about the syntax listings for DOS commands, something that neither have cared about in over a decade then worry about it. Asmpgmr (talk) 03:13, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
Regarding links in section titles: Wikipedia:Manual of Style#Section headings: "Headings should not normally contain links". (When I mentioned this a number of days back I was remembering a different MOS section, explaining this in more details. It's probably in one of the MOS sub-articles.) I agree, that the usage of the { { main } } template makes it look inconsistent, but that's how the template should be used as per MOS. I think, there is no requirement for the { { see } } template to be listed immediately following the heading; it can occur even at the bottom of a section. Still, I moved them a line further up to at least make all templated sections consistent. Do you think they were better placed at the bottom of the section or only one style of template be used? Hopefully, in the long run (years), we will have extra articles for all commands so that it will look more consistent again.
Regarding copyrights: "File not found" would probably not be copyrighted, and the list of parameters themselves aren't as well. There is basically only one possible representation for them in sort of BNF. However, the explanations next to the parameters are long enough to represent creative work. It can be quite difficult to melt down descriptions of sometimes complex functions into limited space using clear, concise and consistent vocabulary across a wide set of commands. There are many possible ways to express something, but most of them would not meet all criteria at the same time, so this is clearly a copyrightable work. Regarding fair use (a concept which exists only in the US, not in Europe), AFAIK this allows usage of longer quotes (or copies) if there is no way to avoid it, for example in critical commenting. However, I don't think this applies here, as a major percentage of the article is just copied from the help texts, something, which could be easily avoided (except for the raw parameter lists) by using our own words. There is also no critical commenting of these copies. So, I'm not convinced, but it is not me who needs to be convinced here, anyway, but the WP community. I'm just bringing this to your attention now in order to avoid frustration on all sides and valuable work being "trashed" later on. --Matthiaspaul (talk) 13:32, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
This simply does not look good, MOS says "headings should not normally contain links". Well this isn't a typical article, it is a reference list and it looks better the way it was. I would prefer no links except for the command index at the bottom to the way it is now. Also some of the links (e.g. ctty, mode) lead to redirects which point back here. Finally some of the commands (e.g. ver, vol) really don't need separate articles.
The reason I used the /? output is this leaves no room for error or interpretation. The information is from the primary source and indisputable. Also using /? for all commands makes the list consistent. Previously some commands had syntax, some didn't, some were listed in a different format and worst of all, some of the information was wrong. Asmpgmr (talk) 15:53, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
There are list articles in which the section headings are links:
Since these exist then there is no reason that this article shouldn't be put back the way it was as it looks better that way.Asmpgmr (talk) 16:29, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

CP/M references[edit]

Why are references to CP/M needed in a reference list of DOS commands ? This really seems like unnecessary information. CP/M commands should be put in a List of CP/M commands article. I'm mixed on the 86-DOS stuff even though DOS is of course based upon it. This is a List of MS-DOS commands so it should start with PC DOS 1.0 which was the first release of DOS and go up to MS-DOS 6.22 and PC DOS 2000 (a.k.a. PC DOS 7 revision 1). Asmpgmr (talk) 16:29, 11 July 2012 (UTC)


MEMMAKER redirects here but there is no content on this page regarding MEMMAKER. It looks like its entry was removed because it wasn't considered a core DOS command or something. The redirection should probably be removed or changed to something more relevant. (talk) 06:08, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

I noticed the same thing, it was removed with this edit. I could copy that content, create a stand-alone article, then in a couple years some joker will probably slap a "merge to this article" tag on it. haha, too much deck chair rearranging. Wbm1058 (talk) 20:40, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Oh my. Endzeit Bunkertracks and IVardensphere link to Memmaker. Looks like we need to disambiguate. Who would call themselves Memmaker? Wbm1058 (talk) 20:50, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Memmaker (band), that's who ;} – a couple more articles link to that. Wbm1058 (talk) 20:56, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
We have three redirects:
Discussion of MemMaker should be added to DOS memory management, since that's what that tool is for. Wbm1058 (talk) 13:17, 27 October 2013 (UTC)
Probably should check all the redirects to this page to ensure that they are still valid, given that someone mucked around with the content. Wbm1058 (talk) 21:15, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I think, we should readd the MEMMAKER info for now. While the command wasn't supported in all versions of DOS, it is clearly a MS-DOS command, so it belongs here (despite the title, PC DOS and DR-DOS commands belong here as well per previous discussion). Once we have collected enough material to satisfy a separate article, we can move the info into an article of its own and only leave a small "stub" here to satisfy the list character of *this* article.
At present we have several DOS command redirects pointing here even if we have separate articles about them (and then pointed to the article from here). I see this "chaining" as a temporary measure for as long as the dedicated articles lack the information presented here, so that the reader will find both.
--Matthiaspaul (talk) 14:19, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

Prior content in this article copied content straight from various MS-DOS manuals, which Microsoft owns the copyright to. Copied or closely paraphrased material has been rewritten or removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a compatible license. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, and according to fair use may copy sentences and phrases, provided they are included in quotation marks and referenced properly. The material may also be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Therefore such paraphrased portions must provide their source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 10:03, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

Article layout[edit]

As discussed in a withdrawn AfD nomination, this article might benefit from further compaction into something similar to the List of Unix commands. However, Mark viking did a great job by removing howto-like content from the article, what makes me no longer sure whether a further compaction would be appropriate from the readability standpoint. Thoughts? — Dsimic (talk | contribs) 05:28, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the kind words. For my part, I am flexible on what format the content should take. Except for replacing wikilinks in subsection headers with {{main}} templates and condensing single sentence paragraphs into combined paragraphs, I did not change the formatting. There are a lot of commands and a table would be more compact, with less vertical space taken up by subsection headers and main links. As long as the table allowed for multi-line descriptions, it would be fine by me. But leaving the formatting as is would be fine, too--I don't have a strong preference. --Mark viking (talk) 20:03, 4 October 2014 (UTC)