Windows XP Help

Windows XP Commands

1. How do I type in commands rather than use Explorer?

Windows XP comes with a command prompt. You can access it via Start, Programs, Accessories, Command Prompt. Alternatively, you can quickly access it via Start, Run, cmd.exe or This will bring up a window, similar to below:


The current directory is displayed followed by a flashing underline cursor. To exit this window, type exit or click on the X on top right of the window.

2. What commands are available to use with Windows XP?

Many of the commands are similar to the ones from the old MS-DOS days. Commands can be run from the current directory or those listed in the command path. The command path can be viewed by typing Path and can be edited via the System Control Panel, Advanced, Environmental Variables. Most commands are available in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. To view the parameters of the command you can type either Help <command> or <command> /? (slash, question mark). Commands can be combined using the pipe (|) character e.g. Type file | More.

File System Commands Purpose
append <dir> Add directory to data path when opening files
attrib <file> <attribs> Set or display attribute flags of file(s)
cd <directory> Change directory. To change drive just enter name of drive letter followed by a colon e.g. C:
copy <source> <dest> Copy one or more files (the ? and * wildcards can be used to select files)
del <files> Delete one or more files
erase <files> Erases one or more files
md <directory> Make or create a directory
rd <directory> Remove or delete a directory
ren <orig> <new> Rename file(s)
move <source> <dest> Move file(s) to another folder or drive
type <file> Display contents of a text file
more < file Display contents of a file a screen at a time
edit <file> Change contents of a file
find "string" <file(s)> Search for string in a file
comp <file1> <file2> Compare two files
compact <file> Compact or compress a file
cipher Set or display encryption settings for folders
chkdsk Check disk for errors
convert Convert filesystem to another filesystem e.g. NTFS
defrag Defragment a filesystem
diskpart Disk Partitioning program
edlin <file> Line editor (use ? for help)
expand <file> Expands a compressed file
Other Commands Purpose
mode Settings for serial and parallel ports in DOS mode
print <file> Print file to LPT1 or other device
at Set up scheduled tasks
arp Settings for Address Resolution protocol
bootcfg Set or display boot configuration (boot.ini)
cacls Set or display NTFS permissions
chcp <n> Change code page
cmd Open a command window (see above)
convlog Convert IIS log files
cscript <file> Run a VB or other script
debug Debug programs
diskperf Enable or disable disk performance counters
doskey DOS command history utility
driverquery Display installed drivers
eventcreate Utility to create events in the event log
eventtriggers Utility to create event triggers
exe2bin Converts executable files to binary format
fixmbr Fix Master Boot Record (Recovery Console only)
fixboot Fix boot files (Recovery Console only)
control <cpl file> Load a control panel
dxdiag DirectX Diagnostics
sfc System File Check (check for missing or corrupt system files)

3. Where can I add more commands to my Windows XP system?

You can add more commands from the Windows XP Support Pack (available from the Support folder on your Windows XP CD).

You can add commands from the Windows 2003 Resource Kit for commands such as NTRights, Tail, CDBurn, CmdHere, Delprof,
Diskraid, DnsDiag, RpcPing, Sleep, SrvAny, TimeZone, UsrMgr, Robocopy etc.

You can add commands to manage Internet Information Services with the IIS Resource Kit.

You can add tools from the Sysinternals tools to manage files and folders, processes, security, networking and system information.

4. Can I install the new Windows PowerShell?

The Windows Powershell uses the .NET Framework to provide more powerful commands to Windows XP. So, to use this feature, you
need at least .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 libraries installed and the Windows Powershell 1.0 system.