The 30 most useful Command Prompt commands for editing files and managing your PC

typing on computer with spreadsheets
If you're going to use the Command Prompt, you need to know its commands.

Command Prompt commands let you manage your computer just by typing.
Some Command Prompt commands let you move files, while others let you change your internet settings.
Here are some of the most useful Command Prompt commands, and what they do.
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The Command Prompt isn't pretty, but it's one of the most powerful apps on your PC. With it, you can move or delete files, change your Wi-Fi settings, lock your hard drive, and even shut down the computer.

But to use Command Prompt, you'll need to know the commands for it. Here are some of the most useful commands, along with explanations of what they'll do.

The essential Command Prompt commands

We'll sort these commands into a few different groups, based on what they're used for.

Important: This is a list of base commands, some of which will work right away, some of which only work in specific situations, and most of which will only work if you add more text or commands afterwards.

It would be impossible to list every use case for each command, so if a certain command doesn't work right away, carefully read the error that Command Prompt gives you or do more research online for your specific use case. You can also type the command and then add a space and /? for examples of how to use it.

hands typing on laptop keyboard PC
Basic commands include closing apps and moving files.

Managing your appsCommandWhat it doesAtLets you schedule apps or other commands to run at a specific date and timeMsiexecStarts Windows Installer, an app that helps you properly install softwareTaskkillEnds a program or process that you specifyTasklistShows you every app, service, and process currently running on your computerEditing filesCommandWhat it doesAssocLets you change which programs are used to open different types of filesCompCompares two or more files, or sets of filesDelDeletes a specified fileMakecabCreates a CAB file, which can compress and store data just like a ZIP fileMoveLets you move files from one folder to anotherPrintSends a specified text file to a specified printerRecoverScans a specified disk and retrieves all the readable data on it – great for recovering files from corrupted hard drivesRobocopyLets you copy files, folders, and more from one location to anotherTreeShows you the folder structure for a specified drive or location
businesswoman using desktop PC computer at office
Some Command Prompt commands let you troubleshoot computer or internet issues.

Managing WindowsCommandWhat it doesChdirTells you the name of the directory you're currently working from, and lets you change itChkdskScans your hard drive for errors and tries to fix themCmdkeyLets you view, create, or delete stored usernames and passwordsDefragDefragments the hard drive, reorganizing the files to make data retrieval faster and more efficientDriverqueryGives you a list of all the drivers installed on your computerFormatFormats a specified drive, erasing all the data on itIpconfigShows details about your internet connections, and lets you refresh your IP addressesNetLets you view and edit network settingsRegLets you manage the Windows Registry by adding keys, exporting data, and moreSfcScans, verifies, and replaces important Windows system filesShutdownLets you shut down or restart your computerVerShows the current Windows version numberVolTells you the volume label and serial number of a specified hard driveMiscellaneousCommandWhat it doesClipAutomatically copies the output of any command to the clipboardClsResets the Command Prompt and clears all the textColorLets you change the Command Prompt's text and background colorsHelpGenerates a list of example commands, just like this oneHow to zip and unzip files in Windows 10Alt + F4: The Windows keyboard shortcut for closing applications, explainedWhat is Secure Boot? A guide to your PC's security check during startupHow to check the power supply on your PC, a crucial step before upgrading itRead the original article on Business Insider

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