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Introduction to Windows Command Line: Getting Started

The Windows Command Prompt (CMD) is a powerful tool that allows users to interact with their computer’s operating system through a text-based interface. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced user, understanding the basics of the Command Prompt can significantly enhance your ability to manage files, navigate directories, and perform various tasks more efficiently.

Getting Acquainted with the Command Prompt

To open the Command Prompt, press the Windows key on your keyboard, type “cmd”, and press Enter. Alternatively, you can use the Run dialog by pressing Windows + R and then entering “cmd”. This will launch the Command Prompt application.

Once the Command Prompt is open, you’ll find yourself in a specific directory. You can view the current directory using the dir (directory) command. This command displays a list of files and subdirectories within the current directory.

To navigate to a different directory, use the cd (change directory) command followed by the desired directory’s path. For instance, if you want to move to the “Documents” folder on your C: drive, you would type:

cd C:\Users\YourUsername\Documents

To move up one directory level, you can use:

cd ..

Managing Directories

Creating and managing directories is another fundamental aspect of working with the Command Prompt. You can use the mkdir (make directory) command to create a new folder. For example:

mkdir NewFolder

Conversely, if you want to remove a directory, the rmdir (remove directory) command comes in handy. Note that this command only works for empty directories. For instance:

rmdir EmptyFolder

Displaying Text

The echo command allows you to display text on the Command Prompt. This can be useful for creating scripts, batch files, or simply printing messages. To display text, use the following syntax:

echo YourMessageHere

You can also display text from a file using the type command. For instance, if you have a file named “info.txt,” you can display its contents like so:

type info.txt

Practical Examples

Let’s put these commands into action with some practical examples:

  1. Creating a Directory Structure: Suppose you want to create a new project folder named “MyProject” on your desktop and subdirectories for “Assets” and “Documents” within it:
cd C:\Users\YourUsername\Desktop
mkdir MyProject
cd MyProject
mkdir Assets
mkdir Documents
  1. Navigating and Displaying Content: To navigate to the “Assets” directory and list its contents:
cd Assets
  1. Deleting Unneeded Directories: If you decide you no longer need the “Documents” directory:
cd ..
rmdir Documents


Mastering the basics of the Windows Command Prompt opens up a world of possibilities for efficient file management and system interaction. The cd, dir, mkdir, rmdir, and echo commands are just the tip of the iceberg. As you delve deeper into the Command Prompt’s capabilities, you’ll find yourself performing tasks more swiftly and becoming a more empowered user.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Experiment with these commands, explore more advanced options, and soon you’ll be navigating your system like a pro.