8 Command Prompt Commands You Can’t Live Without

Posted on February 7, 2010


Ahhh, the Windows Command Prompt. Chances are that if you’re a serious Windows power user you have used the command prompt at one point or another. Maybe you use it on a daily basis? Either way, here are eight commands that you won’t want to live without if you find yourself using the good ‘ol fashioned black box.

1. cd: The famous “cd” command is quite possibly one of the first commands you might use when starting up the command prompt. It stands for “Clear Directory” and it does just that. Typing in a simple “cd\” will bring you to your root directory (in most cases, it’s C:\”). Optionally, you can type cd\Path to go to a specific directory in your hard drive. (Replace “Path” with the path of the directory you want to go to. For example: WINDOWS\System32).

2. cls: Clears the screen. Simple, yet one of the best commands out there.

3. mkdir: Now that you know how to navigate to a directory, you might want to know how to create a directory.¬†Fortunately, the “mkdir” (make directory) command can do that. All you need to do is type “mkdir name_of_directory” and the directory will be created. However, mkdir doesn’t stop there. Want to create a whole directory tree? Just type in “mkdir -p /tmp/a/b/c” (replace /tmp/a/b/c with the tree you want to create). How does this work? Well, the directory “tmp” exists, but the sub-directories “a,b,c” do not. Using the mkdir -p command creates the directory “a” inside of “tmp”, then creates “b” inside of “a” and finally creates “c” inside of “b”.

4. chkdsk: The chkdsk (check disk) command checks a particular volume for errors. This program usually runs automatically when your system suffers a sudden crash, but you can also run it manually by typing “chkdsk”. If you want it to fix the errors that it finds, then type “chkdsk /F”.

5. copy: This command copies files from one directory to another. Example: copy from [directory\file] to [destination]. You can also copy files to devices, such as printers. Example: copy file lpt1. This sends the file “file” to the printer on port LPT1.

6. del: Deletes a file or directory.

7. dir: Shows information about the current drive

8. ipconfig: Typing “ipconfig” alone will show information about your current network configuration, including the IP address and subnet mask. Additionally, if you want to get a new IP address for your computer or network adapter, you can type “ipconfig /release” (which will let go of your current IP address) followed by “ipconfig /renew” (which will assign a new IP address to your system).