Useful MS-DOS® Commands

If you're like most of us, long forgotten are those Dos commands that are very useful in preparing computers for installation, make command line changes as well as a myriad of other things. Hopefully you will find some use for the following.

At the MS-DOS prompt, type fasthelp /?<enter>

This will bring up the correct commands and their syntax

echo y | format %drive%: /q /u /s /v:""

/v: label

Specifies the volume label. A volume label identifies the disk and can be a maximum of 11 characters. If you omit the /v switch or use it without specifying a volume label, MS-DOS prompts you for the volume label after the formatting is completed. If you format more than one disk by using one format command, all of the disks will be given the same volume label. The /v switch is not compatible with the /8 switch. For more information about disk volume labels, see the dir, label, and vol commands.

/q

Specifies a quick format of a disk. With this switch, format deletes the file allocation table (FAT) and the root directory of a previously formatted disk, but does not scan the disk for bad areas. Use the /q switch to format only previously formatted disks that you know are in good condition.

/u

Specifies an unconditional format of a disk. Unconditional formatting destroys all existing data on a disk and prevents you from later “unformatting” the disk. You should use /u switch if you have received read and write errors during use of a disk. For information about unformatting a disk, see the unformat command.

/f: size

Specifies the size of the floppy disk to format. When possible, use this switch instead of the /t and /n switches. Use one of the following values for size:

/b

Reserves space for the system files IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS (as hidden files) on a newly formatted disk. In previous versions of MS-DOS, it was necessary to reserve this space before using the sys command to copy the system files to the disk. This switch is maintained in MS-DOS version 6.0 for compatibility reasons only.

/s

Copies the operating system files IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS, and COMMAND.COM from your system’s startup drive to a newly formatted disk that you can use as a system disk. If format cannot find the operating system files, it prompts you to insert a system disk.

/t: tracks

Specifies the number of tracks on the disk. When possible, use the /f switch instead of this switch. If you use the /t switch, you must also use the /n switch. These two switches provide an alternative method of specifying the size of the disk being formatted. You cannot use the /f switch with the /t switch.

/n: sectors

Specifies the number of sectors per track. When possible, use the /f switch instead of this switch. If you use the /n switch, you must also use the /t switch. These two switches provide an alternative method of specifying the size of the disk being formatted. You cannot use the /f switch with the /n switch

Instead of starting FDISK, type "Fdisk /status" at the command line.

This will display an overview of the partition information of your computer’s hard disk(s), without starting the Fdisk program.

 

 

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