Bad command or file name

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Screenshot of the error in MS-DOS

"Bad command or file name" is a common error message in MS-DOS and some other operating systems.[1]

COMMAND.COM produced the message "Bad command or file name" when the first word of a command could not be interpreted. For MS-DOS, the first word of a command was the name of an internal command, executable file or batch file,[2] so the error message provided an accurate description of the problem but easily confused novices. Though the source of the error was often a mistyped command, the wording gave the impression that files named in later words were damaged or had illegal filenames. Later, the wording of the error message was changed for clarity; both OS/2[citation needed] and Windows NT have replaced the message with the following (where "foo" is replaced by the word causing error):[3]

"foo" is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file

Some early Unix shells produced the equally cryptic "foo: no such file or directory" for the same reasons. Most modern shells produce an error message similar to "foo: command not found".[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jim Cooper, (2002). Using MS-DOS 6.22. Que Publishing. ISBN 9780789725738
  2. ^ "Instructions:". MSDN. Microsoft. Retrieved March 8, 2015. 
  3. ^ Harry Phillips, Eric Skagerberg, (2002). "New Perspectives on Microsoft Windows 2000 MS-DOS Command Line, Comprehensive, Windows XP Enhanced". Cengage Learning. ISBN 1285963679