Definition of COMMAND.COM

COMMAND.COM is the default command line interpreter for the MS-DOS, IBM OS/2, and Microsoft Windows (up to Windows 98 and Windows ME) operating systems. It processes commands entered by the user and executes programs and batch files. As a key component of these systems, COMMAND.COM provides a user interface for managing files, directories, and basic system utilities.


The phonetics of the keyword “COMMAND.COM” using the NATO phonetic alphabet are: Charlie Oscar Mike Mike Alpha November Delta (period) Charlie Oscar Mike

Key Takeaways

  1. COMMAND.COM is the primary command-line interface and default operating system shell for MS-DOS and Windows 9x series.
  2. It is responsible for executing built-in commands, running batch files, and launching executable programs (.COM, .EXE).
  3. COMMAND.COM provides basic functionality for file and directory operations, such as copy, move, delete, and rename.

Importance of COMMAND.COM

The technology term COMMAND.COM is important as it refers to the primary command-line interface and default system shell for MS-DOS and earlier versions of Microsoft Windows operating systems.

It played a crucial role in managing and executing various tasks such as starting applications, copying and moving files, and managing the computer’s file systems.

As a command interpreter, COMMAND.COM processed and executed a diverse range of user commands, facilitating user-access and management of essential system resources.

Its significance lies in its role as a foundational aspect of early personal computing, and while modern interfaces have evolved, COMMAND.COM remains an integral part of computing history.

Explanation serves as the command-line interpreter in the DOS operating system, playing a crucial role in how users interface with their computer. More specifically, it is the default shell for DOS, which listens to commands that users input and translates them into a series of instructions the operating system can execute.

As the primary medium for users to operate with their system, provides a textual interface for initiating and managing computer processes, navigating file systems, and interacting with hardware. As an essential part of the user experience, simplifies tasks by offering essential file management commands like COPY, MOVE, and DELETE.

These commands facilitate file manipulation, letting users undertake a wide range of actions from standard file operations to running programs – all within a shell environment. Moreover, supports batch processing, allowing users to group commands into batch files and automatically run sequential steps, thereby enhancing efficiency.

Overall,’s functionality contributes to streamlining user-system interactions and empowering users with access to tools that address their computing needs.

Examples of COMMAND.COM

MS-DOS Operating System: In the early days of personal computing, Microsoft’s MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) was the dominant operating system. COMMAND.COM served as the command interpreter and primary user interface for MS-DOS, allowing users to input and execute various system commands. It provided essential functionalities such as file management, program execution, and disk formatting.

IBM PC DOS: IBM PC DOS was an operating & system developed and sold by IBM Corporation in conjunction with Microsoft. COMMAND.COM was an integral part of IBM PC DOS, as it allowed users to interact with the operating system by entering differentcommands. As an operating system, IBM PC DOS was widely used in IBM-compatible personal computers in the 1980s and early 1990s.

FreeDOS: FreeDOS is an open source operating system designed to be fully compatible with MS-DOS and other DOS-based systems. It includes a COMMAND.COM command interpreter that provides similar functionality to that of MS-DOS and IBM PC DOS. FreeDOS is still maintained and used today by a community of enthusiasts, and it is often utilized on legacy systems, embedded systems, or for running older software on modern hardware.



COMMAND.COM is the command interpreter for the MS-DOS, IBM OS/2, and DR-DOS operating systems. It provides users with a command-line interface to run commands, navigate directories, and manage files on a computer system.

What can COMMAND.COM do?

COMMAND.COM can execute various commands related to file operations, system operations, and batch scripting. Users can run in-built commands like COPY, RENAME, DEL, and others to perform tasks like copying files, renaming files, and deleting files. It also supports creating and running batch files (.bat) to automate repetitive tasks.

How can I access COMMAND.COM?

If you are running an MS-DOS or compatible operating system, you can access COMMAND.COM by simply launching a command prompt window. To do this, click on “Start,” then “Run,” and type “command” or “cmd” in the “Open” field. Hit “Enter,” and the COMMAND.COM window should open.

What are some common COMMAND.COM commands?

Some commonly used COMMAND.COM commands include:

  • DIR: Lists the contents of a directory.
  • COPY: Copies one or more files from one location to another.
  • RENAME: Renames a file or directory.
  • MKDIR (or MD): Creates a new directory.
  • DEL (or ERASE): Deletes one or more files.

How do I exit COMMAND.COM?

You can exit COMMAND.COM by typing the “exit” command and pressing “Enter”. This will return you to the regular operating system environment.

Related Technology Terms

  • DOS Shell
  • Command Interpreter
  • Batch File Execution
  • System Boot Process
  • Internal Commands

Sources for More Information


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