An Introduction to Command Prompt

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    Command prompt in Windows is like the terminal in Linux. It is Line User Interface (LUI). A LUI is where everything is controlled with commands that must be typed out on a keyboard. These commands tell the computer what to do. You type the command and then press enter. The computer then does what it should do (hopefully). Command prompt is quite similar to DOS; it shares the commands. The list of commands is quite long. Command prompt is also called cmd.exe (the executable file for command prompt). To open command prompt, search for cmd.exe. Right click and run as an administrator if you have the administrative permissions (it is handy if you would like to actually administrate a computer from cmd.exe); if you do not have administrative permissions, then just left click.

    When command prompt opens, you should see something like the image above. All you should see is a blinking cursor just blinking (menacingly) at you. You can type “color 0a” (without quotes) and press enter. You should see that the text in command prompt turns green. This command is used to control the color of command prompt. To turn the text back to white type “color”. 0a is a code that means the background should be black and the text should be green. To get help on a command type with a ” /?”.

    To clear the screen of all the commands on the screen type “cls”, clear screen. You can even change the title on the top of the command prompt window by typing “title” with a space, and what you would like to rename it. This is cool, but changing the color of text is not very important, so on to the real commands. You can also ping another computer or internet connected device using an IP address or website using the ping command and then typing the IP address. Pinging something is like asking if it is there; if it is, then it will send a response. If you get problems when you ping something, then the connection between your computer and the other device is not working properly (or pinging has been disabled, probably for security reasons so it cannot be flooded with pings and then crash). You can see how long it took, (assuming that your ping request succeeded) to ping something as a measurement of the speed of your internet connection. You should know that the IP address always goes back to the computer it came from. If your computer were to ping you would be pinging your own computer.

    Another cool command is the tree command. Just type “tree”, press enter, and watch. The tree command shows all of the files and folders on the hard drive in a big scrolling list. To stop any command, just press the control and c keys. You can also change another account’s password (just like in control panel) if, and only if, you have administrative permissions and opened command prompt as administrator, by typing “net user”, a space, the user name, another space and then an asterisk (*). You then will be prompted for the new password, as you type no characters will appear and the backspace will not work. You can also surf your hard drive files with cd (change directory) command by either choosing a folder in your current folder or starting from the c: drive. You can see folders and files in the current directory by using the “dir” command.

    This is only a short introduction to command prompt and a few of its uses. There are many more applications.


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  1. Geek Brain July 3, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Wow… someone else knows the term LUI..! I thought I was the only one…

  2. johan blomm July 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

    So you see. I have 25 years of IT experience, yet you still learn something new every day. Yes, DOS many of us will still know far little or no DOS commands. Nevertheless, it is sometimes useful that you can fall back on these DOS commands.

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