What are Basic Dos Commands? [Internal And External]

In MS-Dos (Disk Operating System) There are two types of Basic dos commands they are internal dos commands and external dos commands which are used separately to perform specific tasks or operations.

Internal dos commands are those commands which are included in the command processor (command.com).

Internal dos commands are built in command.com file and while the computer has been booted this file or commands are loaded in the computer memory and you can use these basic dos commands while computer is ON.

As internal dos commands are loaded in computer memory it does not require any external supporting file to execute themselves, internal dos commands are faster as compared to external dos commands and are really easy to use and execute.

Examples :: ver, time, del, md , cd, copy con, cls, date, vol, ren, copy etc

What are Basic Dos Commands

External Dos Commands

External Dos Commands are those basic dos commands which require external supporting files which may be present on the bootable disk or hard disk, without supporting files you cannot run or execute these commands.

The External Dos Commands are not built-in command.com files. They are present separately on hard disk, they are slow as compared to internal dos commands and require a lot of Computer memory to execute or run

Examples of Basic Dos Commands:: tree, xcopy, diskcopy, more, fdisk, format etc.

Also Read ::

Complete list of Basic Internal Dos Commands and Their Uses

  • Cls
  • Date
  • Time
  • Copycon
  • Type
  • Rename
  • copy
  • Delete
  • Dir
  • MD
  • CD
  • RD
  • Volume
  • Ver
  • echo


This is an Internal dos command which is used to clear the output on the screen obtained when executed any basic dos commands.

These commands clear all the text from the screen and show the user a Command prompt.


C:\>cls (Press Enter)


Date command is an internal basic dos command which is used to display or change current date of the system in the format of mm/dd/yy.


C:\>date (Press Enter)


The time command is used to display or change the current time of the Computer system.

The format which is used by the time command is HH:MM: SS::CC. Where HH stands for hours of the day in 24-hour format, MM for minutes, SS For seconds, and CC For hundreds of a second.


C:\> Time (Press Enter)


This is a very important internal dos command which is used to create text files.The filename used while creating a file using this basic dos command consist of a primary name and a extension which is separated by a dot or commonly called as period.

While creating a File there are some rules, that a primary file name must not be greater then 8 characters and the extension must be not greater then 3 characters. Filename can consist of digits and special symbols such as 0 to 9 or @ # % etc


C:\>copy con abc.com (Press Enter)
Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.

To save the file use CTRL+Z OR F6 OR to cancel use CTRL+C from the keyboard.


Type command is used to view the content of the file.


C:\>type abc.com (Press Enter)
Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.

If the content of the file is large and cannot be entirely viewed on the display device use the following MS-Dos command.


C:\> type abc.com |more (Press Enter)


This Basic Dos Command is used for renaming an existing file or directory.


C:\>Ren (old file name) (new file name) (Press Enter)

For Example, you have a file name abc.com and want to change the file name to computer.xyz .Use the below command.

C:\>Ren abc.com computer.xyx(Press Enter)
Ok now if you need to change the name and extension of files in a group.you need to use wildcards as given below

C:\>Ren *.com *.abc (Press Enter)

Here all the .com extension files will be renamed to .abc


Copy is a Basic internal dos command which is used to copy files from one location to another. while using copy command you have to specify the path or address of the file and location where you need to copy that file.

Do not forget to mention the address of the file and the destination where you need to copy it.


C:\> Copy d:\abc.com E: (Press Enter)

Using wild cards you can copy each and every file present in a directory for example if you need to copy files that are present in d:\songs to e:\newsongs use the following command.

C:\Copy D:\songs\*.* E:\newsongs (Press Enter)

You can use switches present in the copy command to know the various switches use the below-mentioned MS-Dos command.
C:\>copy/? (Press Enter)

The various Switches are::

Source:: specifies the file and files to be copied

  • /A :: Indicates a ASCII texr file
  • /B :: Indicates a Binary file Destination :: Specifies the directory and /or filename for the new file.
  • /V :: Verifies that new files are written correctly
  • /Y :: Suppresses prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an existing destination file.
  • /-Y :: Causes prompting to confirm you want to overwrite an existing destination file.


Del is a Basic internal dos command which is used to delete specifically mentioned file.


C:\del abc.com (Press Enter)

To delete files in a group use wild cards.
C:\>del * .abc (Press Enter)

In the above command, all the files which have an extension .abc will be deleted.


DIR Command Is used to display all the files and directories along with the filename, extension, creation date, and modified date.


C:\>Dir (Press Enter)

Switches Used in DIR Command

  • /P :: uses to Displays the result in page wise format c:\dir/p
  • /W :: It Displays the result in widthwise format c:\dir/w
  • /A :: is used to display file or directory with specific Attributes
  • /O :: It is used to display list in sorted order
  • /L :: Displays result in lowercase
  • /B :: Displays result in bare format
  • /S :: Displays all files in computer system Combination Switches
  • Dir/AH :: Displays all files and directories which are hidden in computer system
  • Dir/A-H :: Displays all hidden files and directories
  • Dir/AS :: Displays all system files
  • Dir/A-S :: Displays all files which are not system files
  • Dir/AR :: for all readonly files
  • Dir/A-R :: for all files except readonly
  • Dir/AA :: for displaying all archive files present in computer system
  • Dir/A-A :: All files except archive files
  • Dir/AD :: Displays all directories present in computer system
  • Dir/A-D :: Displays are files except Directories
  • Dir/O :: Displays in sorted order directories first and than files
  • Dir/ON :: Displays result in alphabetic order
  • Dir/OE :: Displays list in Ascending Order
  • Dir/O-E :: Diplays list in Decending order
  • Dir/OD :: List is Displayed in date,time and smallest first
  • Dir/O-D :: List is Displayed in date,time and largest first
  • Dir/OS :: List is Displayed by size Smallest first
  • Dir/O-S :: List is Displayed by size Largest first


MD or MKDIR command is an internal dos command which is used to create directories and subdirectories.


C:\>md (directory name) (Press Enter)

For example, if you need to create a directory named movies follow the below dos command.
C:\> MD movies (Press Enter)


CD OR CHDIR is an internal dos command which is used to create a subdirectory or to enter within a parent directory.


C:\>cd movies (Press Enter)
Here in the above example, we can enter into a parent directory named movies by using CD Command.


CD.. command is used to change the directory from parent to child..

For Example::

C:\movies>cd.. (Press Enter)



CD\ COMMAND is used to change the path from current directory to the root directory.


It is used to remove or erase an empty subdirectory.


C:\>RD movies (Press Enter)
To use the following command you should see that the subdirectory should not contain any files or subdirectory.


The Version or Ver command is used to display the version of your operating system .

C:\> Ver (Press Enter)


VOLUME COMMAND is another Basic internal dos command which is used to display the information of your current drive.

C:\>Vol (Press Enter)

Also Read ::

Basic External Dos Commands & Uses

External Dos Commands are those commands which are not embedded into the command.com file, this command requires external supporting files for execution.

For example, to run fdisk command you will need a fdisk.exe or fdisk.com file inside your computer system or bootable drives.


Format command is a external command and to run format command you need a supporting file named format.com.Format command deletes or erase all the data present in the drives.

which can be any flash drives, hard drives, or floppy disk. The format command creates a new allocation table and root directory and makes the drive useable.

The command also checks for bad areas of drives commonly called bad sectors.


C:\> format (drive name) (Press Enter)

C:\>format A: (Press Enter)

Switches used in the format command.

• /Q :: is used for quick formatting of hard drives
• /U :: is used for unconditional format
• /S :: is used to transfer system files to the destination drive, and hence the destination drives become bootable or startup.


DISKCOPY is a basic dos command which comes in a category of external dos command which is used to copy entire content of one drive to another.

The disk copy command works only with a floppy disk.


C:\>Diskcopy A: B: (Press Enter)


XCOPY DOS COMMAND is used to copy entire files,directories and subdirectories from one location to another.

Xcopy command is executed when the xcopy.exe file is present in hard disk or bootable drive.


C:\>xcopy (source) (destination) (Press Enter)

C:\>xcopy/s/e c:\movies d:\new (Press Enter)

In the above Example, xcopy will copy all files and directories from c:\movies to d:\new .where /s is used for copying nonempty subdirectories.
And /e is used for copying directories and subdirectories including empty ones. Switches used in XCOPY COMMAND.use xcopy/? To know all the switches used.

  • /A :: Copy all the files with archive
  • /P :: Prompt you before creating each destination file
  • /S :: Copies Directories and subdirectories except empty ones
  • /E :: Copies Directories and subdirectories including ones
  • /V :: Verifies each new file
  • /W :: Prompts you to press a key before copying
  • /H :: Copy hidden and system files
  • /U :: Copy only files that already exist in destination
  • /P :: Prompts you before creating each destination file
  • /Q :: Doesnot display file name while copying
  • /F :: Displays full source and destination while copying

And many more SYS COMMAND ::

SYS COMMAND is another external dos command which is used to transfer system files into destination drive and make the drive bootable.

Usually, sys commands copy three files namely command.com,io.sys and msdos.sys.

C:\> sys a: (Press Enter)
A:\> sys c: (Press Enter)


CHECKDISK COMMAND OR CHKDSK is an external dos command which is used to check file allocation table, directories structure it displays a summary of disk usage size of the disk, free space, and used space.


C:\>chkdsk A: (Press Enter)


DOSKEY COMMAND is used to recall or remember commands which are previously used by users. You need to use arrow keys to access the previously used basic dos commands.


C:\>Doskey (Press Enter)


EDIT COMMAND is an external dos command which is used to create or edit the existing file present in the computer system.

When used edit command it allows the user to edit the information or text in a file using a text editor. to run or execute the edit command you need to have a supporting file named edit.com


C:\> edit (filename) (Press Enter)

For example, if you want to edit a file named abc.com use the following syntax.
C:\> edit abc.com (Press Enter)

After editing the text inside the file do not forget to save the file using the menu.


ATTRIB COMMAND is an external dos command which is used to change the characteristics of any file and directory.

  • +A is used to set archive attribute to a file.
  • +S is used to set system attribute to a file.
  • +R is used to set readonly attribute to a file.
  • +h is used to set hidden attribute to a file.

For Example if you want to hide a file or a directory use the following command.

C:\>attrib +h abc.com (Press Enter)

Now the file abc.com is hidden and you can not view the file using dir command perhaps if used dir/ah you can see the file as the file is hidden and dir/ah is used to view the hidden file in computer system. Lets say if you need to unhide the file or want to view the file without using dir/ah


C:\>attrib –h abc.com (Press Enter)
Other switches used in attrib command are ::

  • -A :: To deactive archive attribute.
  • -H :: To deactive hidden attribute set to a file or directory.
  • -R :: To reset readonly attribute set to a file.
  • -S :: To reset system attribute to a file.


MODE COMMAND is used to display the characters viewed on a display device
• Co80 :: It is used to display 80 character in a single line.
• Co40 :: It is used to display 40 characters in a single line.
• MONO ::It is used in black and white monitors.


DELTREE COMMAND is an important external dos command where deltree.exe is a supporting file which is used for executing the command.

Deltree command delete the entire directory as well as subdirectories containing files.deltree command prompts the user whether to proceed or not.


C:\>Deltree abc (Press Enter)

Here all the subdirectory and files will be deleted and a warning message will appear if you press Y It will delete and if you press N it will stop executing the command.

There are some switches used in deltree command to know them use deltree/?.


This is a Basic external dos command which requires a label.exe file for execution. Using a label you can change, create or delete the existing label for your hard drives and floppy disk.


C:\>Label c: (Press Enter)


It is also an external dos command which requires scandisk.exe file for execution.This file is used instead of chkdsk.

ScanDisk performs a surface scan and diagnosis a bad cluster of the hard drives.


C:\>scandisk A: (Press Enter)

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