Here are answers to some common questions about Command Prompt.

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What is Command Prompt?

Command Prompt is a feature of Windows that provides an entry point for typing MS‑DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) commands and other computer commands. The most important thing to know is that by typing commands, you can perform tasks on your computer without using the Windows graphical interface. Command Prompt is typically only used by advanced users.

When you're using Command Prompt, the term command prompt also refers to the right angle bracket (>, also known as the greater than character) that indicates the command line interface can accept commands. Other important information, such as the current working directory (or location) where the command will be run, can be included as part of the command prompt. For example, if you open the Command Prompt window and see the C:\> command prompt with a blinking cursor to the right of the right angle bracket character (>), the command you enter will be run on the entire C drive of your computer.

How do I get to a command prompt?

Open the Command Prompt window by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type Command Prompt, and then, in the list of results, click Command Prompt.

What commands can I run using Command Prompt?

You can run MS‑DOS commands and other computer commands.

To view a list of common commands, type help at the command prompt, and then press Enter.

To view more information about each of these commands, type helpcommand name, where command name is the name of the command you want more information about.

How do I change the Command Prompt window?

You can change the appearance of the Command Prompt window by setting Command Prompt options.

To set Command Prompt options

  1. Open the Command Prompt window by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type Command Prompt, and then, in the list of results, click Command Prompt.

  2. Right-click the title bar and do one of the following:

    • To change the settings for all Command Prompt windows, click Defaults.

    • To change the settings for the current Command Prompt window, click Properties.

  3. Select the options you want, and then click OK when you're done.

How do I run a command with elevated privileges?

Some commands that you can run using Command Prompt might require elevated or administrative privileges. To run these commands, you can use the Run as administrator command.

To run Command Prompt as an administrator

  1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button.
  2. In the search box, type command prompt.

  3. In the list of results, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.