Command Prompt is a command line interpreter application available in most Windows operating systems. It is used to execute entered commands. Most of those commands automate tasks via scripts and batch files, perform advanced administrative functions, and troubleshoot or solve certain kinds of Windows issues.

Command Prompt is officially called Windows Command Processor, but it is also sometimes referred to as ​the command shell or cmd prompt or even by its filename, cmd.exe.
Command Prompt is sometimes incorrectly referred to as "the DOS prompt" or as MS-DOS itself. Command Prompt is a Windows program that emulates many of the command line abilities available in MS-DOS, but it is not MS-DOS.

The command prompt (cmd.exe) is a native Windows application meant to act as a command-line interpreter. It was created by Microsoft for the OS/2, Windows CE and Windows NT-based operating systems, which includes Windows 2000, XP and currently Windows 8 as well as various server versions of Windows. 

It is not a DOS program but a real executable application. As the name suggests, the command prompt is used to issue various commands to the system, like file management commands such as copy and delete. It also acts as a user interface..

How to Access Command Prompt

You open Command Prompt via the Command Prompt shortcut located in the Start menu or on the Apps screen, depending on your version of Windows.
Another way to access Command Prompt is via the cmd Run command or at its original location at C:\Windows\system32\cmd.exe, but using the shortcut is faster.

How to Use Command Prompt

To use Command Prompt, you enter a valid Command Prompt command along with any optional parameters. Command Prompt then executes the command as entered and performs the task or function it's designed to perform in Windows.
A large number of commands exist in Command Prompt, but their availability differs from operating system to operating system. You can view which Command Prompt commands are compatible with a specific operating system here:

Command Prompt Availability

Command Prompt is available on every Windows NT-based operating system which includes Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000, as well as Windows Server 2012, 2008, and 2003.
Windows PowerShell, an advanced command line interpreter available in recent Windows versions, supplements the command executing abilities available in Command Prompt. Windows PowerShell may eventually replace the Command Prompt in a future version of Windows.

SOME OF CMD Commands Every Windows User Should Know

1. Assoc

Most files in Windows are associated with a specific program that is assigned to open the file by default. At times, remembering these associations can become confusing. You can remind yourself by entering the command “assoc” to display a full list of file name extensions and program associations.
You can also extend the command to change file associations. For example, “assoc .txt=” will change the file association for text files to whatever program you enter after the equal sign. The “Assoc” command itself will reveal both the extension names and program names, which will help you properly use this command. You can probably do this more easily in the GUI, but the command line interface is a perfectly functional alternative.

2. Cipher

Deleting files on a mechanical hard drive doesn’t really delete them at all. Instead, it marks the files as no longer accessible and the space they took up as free. The files remain recoverable until the system overwrites them with new data, which can take some time.
The cipher command, however, wipes a directory by writing random data to it. To wipe your C drive, for example, you’d use the command “cipher /w:c”, which will wipe free space on the drive. The command does not overwrite undeleted data, so you will not wipe out files you need by running this command.
You can use a host of other cipher commands, however, they are generally redundant with BitLocker enabled versions of Windows.

3. Driverquery

Drivers remain among the most important software installed on a PC. Improperly configured or missing drivers can cause all sorts of trouble, so its good to have access to a list of what’s on your PC. That’s exactly what the “driverquery” command does. You can extend it to “driverquery -v” to obtain more information, including the directory in which the driver is installed.

4. File Compare

You can use this command to identify differences in text between two files. It’s particularly useful for writers and programmers trying to find small changes between two versions of a file. Simply type “fc” and then the directory path and file name of the two files you want to compare.
You can also extend the command in several ways. Typing “/b” compares only binary output, “/c” disregards the case of text in the comparison, and “/l” only compares ASCII text

5. Ipconfig

This command relays the IP address that your computer is currently using. However, if you’re behind a router (like most computers today), you’ll instead receive the local network address of the router.
Still, ipconfig is useful because of its extensions. “ipconfig /release” followed by “ipconfig /renew” can force your Windows PC into asking for a new IP address, which is useful if your computer claims one isn’t available. You can also use “ipconfig /flushdns” to refresh your DNS address. These commands are great if the Windows network troubleshooter chokes, which does happen on occasion.

6. Netstat

Entering the command “netstat -an” will provide you with a list of currently open ports and related IP addresses. This command will also tell you what state the port is in – listening, established or closed.
This is a great command for when you’re trying to troubleshoot devices connected to your PC or when you fear a Trojan infected your system and you’re trying to locate a malicious connection.

7. Ping

Sometimes, you need to know whether or not packets are making it to a specific networked device. That’s where ping comes in handy.
Typing “ping” followed by an IP address or web domain will send a series of test packets to the specified address. If they arrive and are returned, you know the device is capable of communicating with your PC; if it fails, you know that there’s something blocking communication between the device and your computer. This can help you decide if the root of the issue is an improper configuration or a failure of network hardware.


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