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Ten Best Windows 7 Command Line "CMD Prompt" Commands to Get You Started


The Best Windows 7 cmd's (via the command console) are usually dodged by PC users. Maybe they don’t know how to get to them, what they are, or what they can do. Perhaps they don’t know the best Windows 7 cmd (commands) to use or how useful these simple Windows cmd's can be. (Hey, job security for me right?).

If you're one of these people, this article is for you. In this brief article, I'll showcase the ten best Windows 7 cmd's to get you started.

Ready? Grab that energy drink and let's get to it!

First, from the Windows 7 desktop, click the Windows icon in the bottom left corner of your screen. See where it says "search programs and files"? (your Windows search), type "cmd" (without the quotes). You'll see a black screen. This is your Windows 7 cmd prompt.

TIP: You can also get to the Windows cmd prompt by using the "Run" console. Open the console by pressing the "Windows" + "R" keys at the same time. Then type "cmd" (without the quotes) and you'll see the black screen, your Windows 7 cmd console.

Here are my ten best Windows 7 cmd's to get you started:

  1. XCOPY. Very useful Windows cmd for copying files. Say you want to copy your photos from your C drive to your external drive (always a good idea to backup), type XCOPY c:\photos f:\photos /s /e (where f is your external drive). For more detail on usage and syntax, a link to my XCOPY blog can be found at the end of this list or here.
  2. IPCONFIG. Probably one of the best Windows 7 cmd's available, and most used. Very useful Windows cmd to see your PC's network connections. See PIC below: The first set of numbers (IPv4 Address), is your computer's IP address on your local network. The last set of numbers shown is your gateway. The gateway is the address of your router. This information comes in handy with the next Windows cmd—Ping.
Windows 7 Command Line - ipconfig. Use this CMD to see what your local network looks like.

Windows 7 Command Line - ipconfig. Use this CMD to see what your local network looks like.

3. PING. As a network admin, I literally used the ping command on a daily basis. It's probably the simplest and one of the best Windows 7 cmd's to use. It's very useful in determining if your computer is connected to the network\internet or not. Say your internet is down, try to ping the gateway address found above. You should see four responses. If you see “Destination host unreachable”, you lost the connection somewhere. TIP—check your cables.

4. /?. The command line "options" switch is a great Windows switch to get familiar with. It will show you the syntax and available options for a given Windows cmd. For example ipconfig.

Ipconfig /? will show you options such as /flushdns. (sometimes I will use /flushdns on computers (especially laptops) when I want to clear the local dns information (cache). (DNS translates numbers into words—for example is also TIP—I found that out by using the ping command, ping

5. Copy from command line window. Ok, not really a “Windows 7 cmd", but a really handy method to help you master the Windows 7 cmd console. Say you're lazy (like me), and don’t feel like writing down the ipaddress information you just got from your ipconfig command you just entered. No problem, just right-click the top bar, go to edit, "select all". Then select copy (right-click the bar again, edit, select "copy"). You may paste (CTRL + V) into Microsoft Word, or really any text editor that you prefer.

6. Copy to the command line window. Now, say that you want (need) to use the Windows 7 cmd prompt in a specific Windows directory,..... that happens to be 5 folders deep. (It happens all of the time, trust me). Being lazy (me not you...), I will simply highlight the address in Windows Explorer (in Windows 7 click once to get the physical path—see pic), copy (CTRL + C), and then paste into the Windows 7 cmd console by right clicking into the command line window and selecting paste. TIP: (Use this command with the command I’m about to show you "CD".

You can paste the directory path right into your CMD console

You can paste the directory path right into your CMD console

7. CD. (short for chdir). This command will let you change to another directory. For example, I am lost and just want to get back to the C drive. I will type cd c:\. (Being lazy, I almost actually pasted c:\ ).

8. DIR. This command will show you the contents of a directory. Sometimes it's good to know what's on your pc without having to navigate through windows explorer.

9. Help. This easily made the best Windows 7 cmd list. Unless you have a photographic memory, You can't possibly memorize all of the Windows 7 cmd's that are available. The "Help" cmd is your best friend. Feeling comfortable with the Windows 7 cmd console? Type help to get a larger list of options available. TIP—be sure to read up on a specific Windows cmd before you start typing away. Experiment, but never guess.

10. EXIT. This command will close the window so you don’t have to lift your hand and move the mouse to that little red x in the corner.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

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© 2012 Jeff Boettner


Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on May 24, 2014:

@WestelCS, Yep, much thanks to TheKYFireman for that tip, I use that one almost daily :) , appreciate the nice comments, thanks for stopping by!

Tim Anthony on May 23, 2014:

A really nice and very well explained hub. Probably, it is very much useful for the beginners. I liked the "copy from and to command line window" option, but as TheKyFireman mentioned, Shift + right click is a pretty good alternative. Thank you for this informative article though.

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on April 03, 2014:

Hi Bob, Glad to be of service, always glad to hear someone was able to use one of my articles. Only writing on HubPages at the moment, but maybe someday?

Bob King on April 01, 2014:

I am new to to the WIN 7 OS and certainly appreciate

your command Of the inner workings of the system.

Have you published a book?


Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on July 20, 2013:

@TheKyFireman, that sir is an awesome tip. Never knew that. Just tested, shift right click and I did see the option. Very nice, Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the Tip! Sincerely appreciated. Will be using that one.

TheKyFireman on July 20, 2013:

The following has saved me so much headache:

Instead of copying the location and changing directory, hold the right shift key while right clicking in a folder. It will add the option in the menu for "Open command window here"

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on June 10, 2013:

@Regulator Reviews, check out netstat with the switch ano as well -- i.e., netstat -ano. (or, netstat /? to see the options). Then check out if you want to see your PC's connections. Thanks for the comments. Super simple list to warm people up to the cmd line. Glad you stopped by -- J

Regulator Reviews on June 07, 2013:

These are great. The only one I currently use is IPCONFIG, and only when I need to find out my IP address.

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on September 12, 2012:

Thanks psdwpintegration. It is meant as a "starter", realistic everyday uses of the cmd prompt. Glad you like it :), thanks for stopping by.

Jeff Boettner (author) from Tampa, FL on September 03, 2012:

Thanks chefmancave :), I'll check your hub out.

Robert Loescher from Michigan on September 03, 2012:

Good Starter List. I have been troubleshooting computers for 15 years and still use those commands almost daily. If you are a command line geek like myself, you will love my article about Windows Scripting Host and AutoIt.

BritInTexas from San Antonio, Texas on May 15, 2012:

Excellent tips! I knew of a few of them, but I'm definitely going to be giving the others a try!

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