Earlier computers used a text-based operating system as opposed to the kind of graphical operating system(s) we use today. What this means is that instead of clicking on icons with predefined functions users had to be able to navigate their computers using a string of commands. These are referred to as command prompts. Command prompts allow more flexibility and versatility where computer usage is concerned however many if not most of the options those command prompts allow cannot be accessed on the average computer without acquiring software from a third party.


  1. Computer with an operating system that matches the command prompt being used.
  2. Knowledge/list of the prompts being used.
  3. Simply put, command prompt is a referred to as a “text-driven interface”. Your running a command prompt will depend on the operating system (OS) you are using. Other names used to refer to a command prompt are:
  4. A shell.
  5. A console window.
  6. A cmd prompt.
  7. DOS



  1. Using a command prompt from OS Windows 3.1,.3.11, 95, 98 and ME the prompt used is command.com
  2. Using a command prompt from OS Windows NT, 2000, XP, 2003, vista, 7 the prompt used is cmd.exe
  3. For Windows NT, 2000, XP or 2003 the command prompt is command.com (use only if you have no choice)

To use

  1. Click the “˜Start’ button.
  2. Select “˜Run’.
  3. Enter the necessary command prompt.
  4. Click “˜OK’
  5. Here a box or window pops up showing the location of the folder you are in. At the end of what is pre-programmed to show up in the window is a blinking line or cursor, to add you command start typing here.
  6. The only way to proceed is to know the commands needed for the command prompt you are using. Since most computers no longer come with a detailed manual loaded with these then it’s advisable to get a good, comprehensive guide. These can be acquired at general book stores, specialist stores and even online.
  7. Also, knowing the “˜Help’ command can prove very useful since this lists all the commands built into the command prompt. Prompts like command.com and cmd.exe have commands that are pre-programmed that users should know. “˜Help’ is just one of them. Among the most useful are “˜Exit’, “˜CD’, “˜DIR’, “˜Copy’ and “˜Move’ prompts.


  1. Bear in mind that the purpose command prompts is to gain more efficiency out of your computer by manipulating its operating system so try to get a good understanding for what you are doing (i.e. how the changes will affect your computer) before it’s done.
  2. Do not attempt to complete this task without understanding what each command does based on the operating system being used.
  3. Make sure that the list of commands you acquire is from a trusted source.
  4. Always double check before you finalizes any changes to make sure you type the right thing.
  5. Try creating a shortcut to the desktop that you can easily double click on to open:
  6. Go to “˜Start’.
  7. Scroll over or click on “˜Accessories’.
  8. Locate and right click on “˜Command Prompt’.
  9. Scroll over “˜Sent to’.
  10. Select “˜Send to Desktop’.


Charlie is a freelancer writer and content builder of many Technology sites and he is currently learning and sharing experience on how to use the command prompt.

By Techwacky

Editor-in-Chef of TechWacky.com