Command Reference Guide

This document lists the Command Prompt commands discussed in these articles, along with their arguments and what they do. Arguments contained in square brackets are optional. Several of these commands accept more than three optional arguments, but only up to three are listed.

The roughly equivalent Bash command is also listed in the table, for reference.

A full listing of Windows commands can be found here.

Basic File Commands

Command Argument1 Argument2 Argument3 Bash Equivalent Task
cls none none none clear Clear all text from the console
notepad file none none nano Open file for editing, if it exists. If it doesn’t exist, then create it.
type file [file2] [file3] cat Write the contents of a file to stdout. If multiple files are specified, write them all, in order.
copy source target none cp Create an exact copy of source, called target.
move source target none mv Move source to target.
del file [file2] [file3] rm Delete the specified files.
fc file1 file2 none diff Do a line by line comparison of file1 and file2, writing the differences to stdout.

Basic Directory Commands

Command Argument1 Argument2 Argument3 Bash Equivalent Task
cd none none none pwd Write the working directory to stdout.
cd directory none none cd Change the working directory.
dir [directory] none none ls Write a listing of the contents of the specified directory, or the working directory if one is not specified, to stdout.
mkdir directory none none mkdir Create a new directory of the specified name.
rmdir directory none none rmdir Delete the specified empty directory.

Environment Variables

Command Argument1 Argument2 Argument3 Bash Equivalent Task
echo arg1 [arg2] [arg3] echo Write the value of all arguments, in order, to stdout.
set none none none export Write a list of all environment variables, and their values, to stdout.
set variable=string none none export Set the value of a variable to string. If the variable exists already, it is updated. Otherwise it is created. Note the syntax, it’s one argument (no spaces) with the variable name and value seperated by an =.
setx variable string none export Set the value of variable to string, and update it in the user registry. This makes the variable persistant.