The Command Prompt: What It Is and How to Use It on a Dell System

Summary: This article provides information on opening and using the Command Prompt in Windows.

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This article provides information about some commonly used commands for Command Prompt and How to Open the Command Prompt and Other Related Helpful Information.


Table of Contents:

  1. What is the Command Prompt
  2. How to Access Command Prompt
  3. Commonly Used Commands
  4. Frequently Asked Question's and Links

1. What is the Command Prompt

In Windows operating systems, the Command Prompt is a program that emulates the input field in a text-based user interface screen with the Windows graphical user interface (GUI).

It can be used to execute entered commands and perform advanced administrative functions. It can also be used to troubleshoot and solve certain kinds of Windows issues.

Figure 1: Command Prompt Window

SLN265940_en_US__1win10_cmd_window

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2. How to Open the Command Prompt

Dependent on which operating system you have installed, please select the Tab that corresponds to your version of Windows.

SLN265940_en_US__2icon Note: The examples below show how to open an "Elevated" Command Prompt. This means opening the Command Prompt with administrator rights.

 

 

 

Open Command Prompt in Windows 7

  1. Click the Windows Start Button

  2. In the search box type "cmd"

  3. In the search results, Right-Click on cmd and select "Run as administrator" (Figure 2)

Figure 2: Run as administrator

SLN265940_en_US__3elevated_cmd_win7

  1. This will open the Command Prompt window (Figure 3)

Figure 3: Windows 7 Command Prompt

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  1. To change to the Root directory type "cd\" and hit Enter (Figure 4)

Figure 4: Command Prompt at Root directory

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SLN265940_en_US__2icon Note: The Root directory is the best place to enter any required commands or instructions.

 

 

Open Command Prompt in Windows 8 / 8.1

  1. Move the mouse pointer to the bottom-left corner of the screen and Right-click, or press Windows key + X

  2. In the power user task menu, select Command Prompt (Admin) (Figure 2)

Figure 2: Power user task menu

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  1. This will open the Command Prompt window (Figure 3)

Figure 3: Windows 8 Command Prompt

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  1. To change to the Root directory type "cd\" and hit Enter (Figure 4)

Figure 4: Command Prompt at Root directory

SLN265940_en_US__9win8_cmd_window_cd

SLN265940_en_US__2icon Note: The Root directory is the best place to enter any required commands or instructions.

 

 

Open Command Prompt in Windows 10

  1. Move the mouse pointer to the bottom-left corner of the screen and Right-click, or press Windows key + X

  2. In the power user task menu, select Command Prompt (Admin) (Figure 2)

Figure 2: Power user task menu

SLN265940_en_US__11power_menu_10

  1. This will open the Command Prompt window (Figure 3)

Figure 3: Windows 10 Command Prompt

SLN265940_en_US__12win10_cmd_window_2

  1. To change to the Root directory type "cd\" and hit Enter (Figure 4)

Figure 4: Command Prompt at Root directory

SLN265940_en_US__13win10_cmd_window_cd

SLN265940_en_US__2icon Note: The Root directory is the best place to enter any required commands or instructions.

 

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3. Commonly Used Commands

  • cd (change directory)
    Command used to switch the directory (path) in which you are working.

    Example: cd\windows\system32 Will move the prompt to the system32 folder path located in the Windows folder.
     

  • dir (Directory)
    Allows you to see available files and folders within the selected directory. Also provides details on the modification date and size of files.

    Several additional switches can be used with the command to perform additional actions. (see the Microsoft guide SLN265940_en_US__15iC_External_Link_BD_v1 below for further info on the available commands)

    Example: C:\> dir
    This will display the contents of the C: directory or drive

 

  • ipconfig
    This command will display the current network information for your adapters including IP Address, Default Gateway, Subnet Mask etc.
     
  • ping
    This command is used as a troubleshooting tool to resolve network issues. It will send a data packet to another system on the network and will await a reply - outputting the results.

    Example: ping 192.168.0.2
    This will ping the computer with the address 192.168.0.2 and output any response.
     
  • Help ( /?)
    The help command provides information about another command including available switches to perform additional tasks.

    Example: ipconfig /help

A list of commands can be found at the following link:

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3. FAQs

  • How do I cancel a command?
    Use Ctrl + C to stop a command from running. (note: this is not an undo command will only stop the current command during its process)

  • How can I shut down or restart the computer from Command Prompt screen?
    The commands below can also be used to shutdown or restart computers on your network. This can be handy when applying updates that require restarts to take effect.

    shutdown /s command will shut down the system you are working on.

    shutdown / i from the command prompt will open the Remote Shutdown Dialog window, this will provide options available via an easy to use interface including networked systems.

  • How do I access previous commands that I have used?
    You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to cycle through the previously executed commands. For example, the UP and DOWN arrows will show the most recently used commands. The RIGHT and LEFT arrows will display the commands letter by letter.

  • Where do I find a comprehensive list of commands available?
    Microsoft Command-Line Reference A-Z  SLN265940_en_US__15iC_External_Link_BD_v1

  • What tools are available?
    Command-Line Tools (Microsoft) SLN265940_en_US__15iC_External_Link_BD_v1

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Article Properties


Affected Product

Desktops & All-in-Ones, Laptops

Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021

Version

3

Article Type

Solution

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