Booting to DOS + Cheat sheet for common DOS commands

Booting to DOS:

There are 3 possible scenarios here:

1.) Booting to command prompt when you have Windows 8 (or newer) installed:

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2.) Booting to command prompt when you have Windows 7 (or earlier) installed:

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 3.) Booting to DOS on a HDD without a functional OS:

1.) Download the latest version of rufus from its website. Plug in a USB flash drive. Run rufus as administrator.

2.) Make sure the following options are selected and finally press ‘start’.

rufus20bootable20usb20tool

3.) Reboot your computer, make the the USB drive as the first boot priority device in BIOS/UEFI. You will now boot to FreeDOS setup screen. Follow the simple instructions on screen.

Here’s a cheat sheet of common DOS commands:

Command

Syntax

Comments

APPEND

APPEND ;

APPEND [d:]path[;][d:]path[…]

APPEND [/X:on|off][/path:on|off] [/E]

Displays or sets the search path for data files. DOS will search the specified path(s) if the file is not found in the current path.

ASSIGN

ASSIGN x=y […] /sta

Redirects disk drive requests to a different drive.

ATTRIB

ATTRIB [d:][path]filename [/S]

ATTRIB [+R|-R] [+A|-A] [+S|-S] [+H|-H] [d:][path]filename [/S]

Sets or displays the read-only, archive, system, and hidden attributes of a file or directory.

BACKUP

BACKUP d:[path][filename] d:[/S][/M][/A][/F:(size)] [/P][/D:date] [/T:time] [/L:[path]filename]

Makes a backup copy of one or more files. (In DOS Version 6, this program is stored on the DOS supplemental disk.)

BREAK

BREAK =on|off

Used from the DOS prompt or in a batch file or in the CONFIG.SYS file to set (or display) whether or not DOS should check for a Ctrl + Break key combination.

BUFFERS

BUFFERS=(number),(read-ahead number)

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to set the number of disk buffers (number) that will be available for use during data input. Also used to set a value for the number of sectors to be read in advance (read-ahead) during data input operations.

CALL

CALL [d:][path]batchfilename [options]

Calls another batch file and then returns to current batch file to continue.

CHCP

CHCP (codepage)

Displays the current code page or changes the code page that DOS will use.

CHDIR

CHDIR (CD) [d:]path

CHDIR (CD)[..]

Displays working (current) directory and/or changes to a different directory.

CHKDSK

CHKDSK [d:][path][filename] [/F][/V]

Checks a disk and provides a file and memory status report.

CHOICE

CHOICE [/C[:]keys] [/N][/S][/T[:]c,nn] [text]

Used to provide a prompt so that a user can make a choice while a batch program is running.

CLS (Clear Screen)

CLS

Clears (erases) the screen.

COMMAND

COMMAND [d:][path] [device] [/P][/E:(size)] [/MSG][/Y [/C (command)|/K (command)]

Starts a new version of the DOS command processor (the program that loads the DOS Internal programs).

COMP

COMP [d:][path][filename] [d:][path][filename] [/A][/C][/D][/L][/N:(number)]

Compares two groups of files to find information that does not match. (See FC command).

COPY

COPY [/Y|-Y] [/A][/B] [d:][path]filename [/A][/B] [d:][path][filename] [/V]

or

COPY [/Y|-Y][/A][/B] [d:][path]filename+[d:][path]filename[…][d:][path][filename] [/V]

Copies and appends files.

COUNTRY

COUNTRY=country code,[code language=”page”][/code][,][d:][filename]

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to tell DOS to use country-specific text conventions during processing.

CTTY

CTTY (device)

Changes the standard I/O (Input/Output) device to an auxiliary device.

DATE

DATE mm-dd-yy

Displays and/or sets the system date.

DBLSPACE

DBLSPACE / automount=drives

DBLSPACE /chkdsk [/F] [d:]

DBLSPACE /compress d: [/newdrive=host:] [/reserve=size] [/F]

DBLSPACE /create d: [/newdrive=host:] [/reserve=size] [/size=size]

DBLSPACE /defragment [d:] ]/F]

DBLSPACE /delete d:

DBLSPACE /doubleguard=0|1

DBLSPACE /format d:

DBLSPACE [/info] [d:]

DBLSPACE /list

DBLSPACE /mount[=nnn] host: [/newdrive=d:]

DBLSPACE /ratio[=ratio] [d:] [/all]

DBLSPACE /size[=size] [/reserve=size] d:

DBLSPACE /uncompress d:

DBLSPACE /unmount [d:]

A program available with DOS 6.0 that allows you to compress information on a disk.

DEBUG

DEBUG [pathname] [parameters]

An MS-DOS utility used to test and edit programs.

DEFRAG

DEFRAG [d:] [/F][/S[:]order] [/B][/skiphigh [/LCD|/BW|/GO] [/H]

DEFRAG [d:] [/V][/B][/skiphigh] [/LCD]|/BW|/GO] [/H]

Optimizes disk performance by reorganizing the files on the disk.

DEL (ERASE)

DEL (ERASE) [d:][path]filename [/P]

Deletes (erases) files from disk.

DELOLDOS

DELOLDOS [/B]

Deletes all files from previous versions of DOS after a 5.0 or 6.0 installation.

DELTREE

DELTREE [/Y] [d:]path [d:]path[…]

Deletes (erases) a directory including all files and subdirectories that are in it.

DEVICE

DEVICE=(driver name)

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to tell DOS which device driver to load.

DEVICEHIGH

DEVICEHIGH=(driver name)

Like DEVICE, DEVICEHIGH is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to tell DOS which device driver software to use for devices; however, this option is used to install the device driver into the upper memory area.

DIR

DIR [d:][path][filename] [/A:(attributes)] [/O:(order)] [/B][/C][/CH][/L][/S][/P][/W]

Displays directory of files and directories stored on disk.

DISKCOMP

DISKCOMP [d:] [d:][/1][/8]

Compares the contents of two diskettes.

DISKCOPY

DISKCOPY [d:] [d:][/1][/V][/M]

Makes an exact copy of a diskette.

DOS

DOS=[high|low],[umb|noumb]

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to specify the memory location for DOS. It is used to load DOS into the upper memory area and to specify whether or not the upper memory blocks will be used.

DOSKEY

DOSKEY [reinstall] [/bufsize=size][/macros][/history][/insert|/overstrike] [macroname=[text]]

Loads the Doskey program into memory which can be used to recall DOS commands so that you can edit them.

DOSSHELL

DOSSHELL [/B] [/G:[resolution][n]]|[/T:[resolution][n]]

Initiates the graphic shell program using the specified screen resolution.

DRIVPARM

DRIVPARM= /D:(number) [/C] [/F:(form factor)] [/H:(number)] [/I][ /N][/S:(number)] [/T:(tracks)]

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to set parameters for a disk drive.

ECHO

ECHO on|off

ECHO (message)

Displays messages or turns on or off the display of commands in a batch file.

EDIT

EDIT [d:][path]filename [/B][/G][/H][/NOHI]

Starts the MS-DOS editor, a text editor used to create and edit ASCII text files.

EMM386

EMM386 [on|off|auto] [w=on|off]

Enables or disables EMM386 expanded-memory support on a computer with an 80386 or higher processor.

EXE2BIN

EXE2BIN [d:][path]filename [d:][path]filename

Converts .EXE (executable) files to binary format.

EXIT

EXIT

Exits a secondary command processor.

EXPAND

EXPAND [d:][path]filename [[d:][path]filename[ . . .]]

Expands a compressed file.

FASTHELP

FASTHELP [command][command] /?

Displays a list of DOS commands with a brief explanation of each.

FASTOPEN

FASTOPEN d:[=n][/X]

Keeps track of the locations of files for fast access.

FC

FC [/A][/C][/L][/Lb n][/N][/T][/W][number] [d:][path]filename [d:][path]filename

or (for binary comparisons)

FC [/B][/number] [d:][path]filename [d:][path]filename

Displays the differences between two files or sets of files.

FCBS

FCBS=(number)

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to specify the number of file-control blocks for file sharing.

FDISK

FDISK [/status]

Prepares a fixed disk to accept DOS files for storage.

FILES

FILES=(number)

Used in the CONFIG.Sys file to specify the maximum number of files that can be open at the same time.

FIND

FIND [/V][/C][/I][/N] Ã’stringÓ [d:][path]filename[…]

Finds and reports the location of a specific string of text characters in one or more files.

FOR

FOR %%(variable) IN (set) DO (command)

or (for interactive processing)

FOR %(variable) IN (set) DO (command)

Performs repeated execution of commands (for both batch processing and interactive processing).

FORMAT

FORMAT d:[/1][/4][/8][/F:(size)] [/N:(sectors)] [/T:(tracks)][/B|/S][/C][/V:(label)] [/Q][/U][/V]

Formats a disk to accept DOS files.

GOTO

GOTO (label)

Causes unconditional branch to the specified label.

GRAFTABL

GRAFTABL [(code page)]

GRAFTABL [status]

Loads a table of character data into memory (for use with a color/graphics adapter).

GRAPHICS

GRAPHICS [printer type][profile] [/B][/R][/LCD][/PB:(id)] [/C][/F][/P(port)]

Provides a way to print contents of a graphics screen display.

HELP

HELP [command] [/B][/G][/H][/NOHI]

Displays information about a DOS command.

IF

IF [NOT] EXIST filename (command) [parameters]

IF [NOT] (string1)==(string2) (command) [parameters]

IF [NOT] ERRORLEVEL (number) (command) [parameters]

Allows for conditional operations in batch processing.

INCLUDE

INCLUDE= blockname

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to allow you to use the commands from one CONFIG.SYS block within another.

INSTALL

INSTALL=[d: ][path]filename [parameters]

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to load memory-resident programs into conventional memory.

INTERLINK

INTERLINK [client[:]=[server][:]]

Connects two computers via parallel or serial ports so that the computers can share disks and printer ports.

INTERSVR

INTERSVR [d:][…][/X=d:][…] [/LPT:[n|address]] [/COM:[n|address]][/baud:rate] [/B][/V]

INTERSVR /RCOPY

Starts the Interlink server.

JOIN

JOIN d: [d:path]

JOIN d: [/D]

Allows access to the directory structure and files of a drive through a directory on a different drive.

KEYB

KEYB [xx][,][yyy][,][d:][path]filename [/E][/ID:(number)]

Loads a program that replaces the support program for U. S. keyboards.

LABEL

LABEL [d:][volume label]

Creates or changes or deletes a volume label for a disk.

LASTDRIVE

LASTDRIVE=(drive letter)

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to set the maximum number of drives that can be accessed.

LOADFIX

LOADFIX [d:][path]filename [parameters]

Ensures that a program is loaded above the first 64K of conventional memory, and runs the program.

LOADHIGH

LOADHIGH (LH) [d:][path]filename [parameters]

Loads memory resident application into reserved area of memory (between 640K-1M).

MEM

MEM [/program|/debug|/classify|/free|/module(name)] [/page]

Displays amount of installed and available memory, including extended, expanded, and upper memory.

MEMMAKER

MEMMAKER [/B][/batch][/session][/swap:d] [/T][/undo][/W:size1,size2]

Starts the MemMaker program, a program that lets you optimize your computer’s memory.

MENUCOLOR

MENUCOLOR=textcolor,[background]

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to set the colors that will be used by DOS to display text on the screen.

MENUDEFAULT

MENUDEFAULT=blockname, [timeout]

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to set the startup configuration that will be used by DOS if no key is pressed within the specified timeout period.

MENUITEM

MENUITEM=blockname, [menutext]

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to create a start-up menu from which you can select a group of CONFIG.SYS commands to be processed upon reboot.

MIRROR

MIRROR [d:]path [d:] path […]

MIRROR [d1:][d2:][…] [/T(drive)(files)] [/partn][/U][/1]

Saves disk storage information that can be used to recover accidentally erased files.

MKDIR

MKDIR (MD) [d:]path

Creates a new subdirectory.

MODE

MODE n

MODE LPT#[:][n][,][m][,][P][retry]

MODE [n],m[,T]

MODE (displaytype,linetotal)

MODE COMn[:]baud[,][parity][,][databits][,][stopbits][,][retry]

MODE LPT#[:]=COMn [retry]

MODE CON[RATE=(number)][DELAY=(number)]

MODE (device) CODEPAGE PREPARE=(codepage) [d:][path]filename

MODE (device) CODEPAGE PREPARE=(codepage list) [d:][path]filename

MODE (device) CODEPAGE SELECT=(codepage)

MODE (device) CODEPAGE [/STATUS]

MODE (device) CODEPAGE REFRESH

Sets mode of operation for devices or communications.

MORE

MORE < (filename or command)

(name)|MORE

Sends output to console, one screen at a time.

MOVE

MOVE [/Y|/-Y] [d:][path]filename[,[d:][path]filename[…]] destination

Moves one or more files to the location you specify. Can also be used to rename directories.

MSAV

MSAV [d:] [/S|/C][/R][/A][/L][/N][/P][/F][/video][/mouse]

MSAV /video

Scans your computer for known viruses.

MSBACKUP

MSBACKUP [setupfile] [/BW|/LCD|/MDA]

Used to backup or restore one or more files from one disk to another.

MSCDEX

MSCDEX /D:driver [/D:driver2. . .] [/E][/K][/S][/V][/L:letter] [/M:number]

Used to gain access to CD-ROM drives (new with DOS Version 6).

MSD

MSD [/B][/I]

MSD [/I] [/F[d:][path]filename [/P[d:][path]filename [/S[d:][path]filename

Provides detailed technical information about your computer.

NLSFUNC

NLSFUNC [d:][path]filename

Used to load a file with country-specific information.

NUMLOCK

NUMLOCK=on|off

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to specify the state of the NumLock key.

PATH

PATH;

PATH [d:]path[;][d:]path[…]

Sets or displays directories that will be searched for programs not in the current directory.

PAUSE

PAUSE [comment]

Suspends execution of a batch file until a key is pressed.

POWER

POWER [adv:max|reg|min]|std|off]

Used to turn power management on and off, report the status of power management, and set levels of power conservation.

PRINT

PRINT [/B:(buffersize)] [/D:(device)] [/M:(maxtick)] [/Q:(value] [/S:(timeslice)][/U:(busytick)] [/C][/P][/T] [d:][path][filename] […]

Queues and prints data files.

PROMPT

PROMPT [prompt text] [options]

Changes the DOS command prompt.

RECOVER

RECOVER [d:][path]filename

RECOVER d:

Resolves sector problems on a file or a disk. (Beginning with DOS Version 6, RECOVER is no longer available ).

REM

REM [comment]

Used in batch files and in the CONFIG.SYS file to insert remarks (that will not be acted on).

RENAME (REN)

RENAME (REN) [d:][path]filename [d:][path]filename

Changes the filename under which a file is stored.

REPLACE

REPLACE [d:][path]filename [d:][path] [/A][/P][/R][/S][/U][/W]

Replaces stored files with files of the same name from a different storage location.

RESTORE

RESTORE d: [d:][path]filename [/P][/S][/B:mm-dd-yy] [/A:mm-dd-yy][/E:hh:mm:ss] [/L:hh:mm:ss] [/M][/N][/D]

Restores to standard disk storage format files previously stored using the BACKUP command.

RMDIR (RD)

RMDIR (RD) [d:]path

Removes a subdirectory.

SCANDISK

SCANDISK [d: [d: . . .]|/all][/checkonly|/autofix[/nosave]|/custom][/surface][/mono][/nosummay]

SCANDISK volume-name[/checkonly|/autofix[/nosave]|/custom][/mono][/nosummary]

SCANDISK /fragment [d:][path]filename

SCANDISK /undo [undo-d:][/mono]

Starts the Microsoft ScanDisk program which is a disk analysis and repair tool used to check a drive for errors and correct any problems that it finds.

SELECT

SELECT [d:] [d:][path] [country code][keyboard code]

Formats a disk and installs country-specific information and keyboard codes (starting with DOS Version 6, this command is no longer available).

SET

SET (string1)=(string2)

Inserts strings into the command environment. The set values can be used later by programs.

SETVER

SETVER [d:]:path][filename (number)][/delete][/quiet]

Displays the version table and sets the version of DOS that is reported to programs.

SHARE

SHARE [/F:space] [/L:locks]

Installs support for file sharing and file locking.

SHELL

SHELL=[d:][path]filename [parameters]

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to specify the command interpreter that DOS should use.

SHIFT

SHIFT

Increases number of replaceable parameters to more than the standard ten for use in batch files.

SORT

SORT [/R][/+n] < (filename)

SORT [/R][/+n] > (filename2)

Sorts input and sends it to the screen or to a file.

STACKS

STACKS=(number),(size)

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to set the number of stack frames and the size of each stack frame.

SUBMENU

SUBMENU=blockname, [menutext]

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to create a multilevel menu from which you can select start-up options.

SUBST

SUBST d: d:path

SUBST d: /D

Substitutes a virtual drive letter for a path designation.

SWITCHES

SWITCHES= [/K][/F][/N][/W]

Used in the CONFIG.SYS file to configure DOS in a special way; for example, to tell DOS to emulate different hardware configurations.

SYS

SYS [source][/source] d:

Transfers the operating system files to another disk.

TIME

TIME hh:mm[:ss][.cc][A|P]

Displays current time setting of system clock and provides a way for you to reset the time.

TREE

TREE [d:][path] [/A][/F]

Displays directory paths and (optionally) files in each subdirectory.

TYPE

TYPE [d:][path]filename

Displays the contents of a file.

UNDELETE

UNDELETE [d:][path][filename] [/DT|/DS|/DOS]

UNDELETE [/list|/all|/purge[d:]|/status|/load|/U|/S[d:]|/Td:[-entries]]

Restores files deleted with the DELETE command.

UNFORMAT

UNFORMAT d: [/J][/L][/test][/partn][/P][/U]

Used to undo the effects of formatting a disk.

VER

VER

Displays the DOS version number.

VERIFY

VERIFY on|off

Turns on the verify mode; the program checks all copying operations to assure that files are copied correctly.

VOL

VOL [d:]

Displays a disk’s volume label.

VSAFE

VSAFE [/option[+|-]…] [/NE][/NX][Ax|/Cx] [/N][/D][/U]

VSAFE is a memory-resident program that continuously monitors your computer for viruses and displays a warning when it finds one.

XCOPY

XCOPY [d:][path]filename [d:][path][filename] [/A][/D:(date)] [/E][/M][/P][/S][/V][/W][Y-Y]

Copies directories, subdirectories, and files.

 

 

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