Network Administration: Windows Command Basics

Command prompts are even older than video monitors. Computers at one time used a teletype machine as its terminal, so the command prompt was printed on paper rather than displayed onscreen. The concept of the command prompt hasn’t changed much since those days.

The system displays a prompt to let you know it’s waiting for a command. When you type the command and press the Enter key, the system reads your command, interprets it, executes it, displays the results, and then displays the prompt again so that you can enter another command.

  1. Choose Start→Run.

    The Run dialog box appears.

  2. Type cmd.

    The name of the command processor for Windows NT and Windows Server is cmd.exe.

    If you type Command instead, you get Command.com, the old MS-DOS command processor, which is considerably less powerful than cmd.exe.

  3. Click OK.

    The command prompt window appears, as shown in the following figure.

    image0.jpg

You can now type any commands that you want in the window.

To exit the command prompt, type Exit and press Enter. This properly terminates cmd.exe and closes the command prompt window. If you try to close the command prompt window by clicking its Close button, Windows is forced to shut down cmd.exe.

The process will work, but you’ll have to click your way through an intervening dialog box and wait a few seconds while Windows terminates cmd.exe. Entering the Exit command is a much faster method.