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DOS Commands

There are three main types of DOS (Disk Operating System) commands: transient, resident, and batch. Transient, or external commands, are commands that are stored on disk until you use them. Then they are moved into memory. Transient commands are usually in the \DOS directory. Resident, or internal commands, are loaded into memory when you boot up DOS. Resident commands are compiled into COMMAND.COM. Batch commands are commands used in batch file programming, such as ECHO, REM, and GOTO.

Here are some commonly used DOS commands, what DOS versions support the command, what type they are, and its syntax:

COMMAND

VERSION

Resident or Transient

Description

DIR

1.0 - 6.22

Resident

Displays a list of a directory’s files and subdirectories

PRINT

2.0 – 6.22

Transient

Prints a text file while you use other DOS commands

TYPE

1.0 – 6.22

Resident

Displays the contents of a text file

COPY

1.0 – 6.22

Resident

Copies one or more files to somewhere else

XCOPY

3.2 – 6.22

Transient

Copies files (not hidden or system files) and directories and their subdirectories

ATTRIB

3.0 – 6.22

Transient

Displays or changes file attributes. Attributes can be one or a combination of hidden, system, read-only, and archive

ERASE

1.0 – 6.22

Resident

Can also use DEL. Deletes/erases specified files

Each command has special switches. Switches are specifications on what kind of action you want the command to perform, and to which files. Switches can sometimes include wildcards, the * or ? character. An asterisk represents any number of characters, and a question mark represents any one character. These can be used along with the command. For example, this command displays all files with one character and any extension by page using the dir command: dir ?.* /p

 

Bibliography

Microsoft MS-DOS User’s Guide and Reference

Upgrading and Repairing PCs by Scott Mueller

Internet- Ask Jeeves.