article started you off on your trip down the command line
complete with a path. Ouch, sorry for the bad pun on the path
command but if you haven't yet reviewed that article now is a good
time as it has information that will make this month's article less
Navigating Gets More Complex
As we discussed last month you "navigate" between folders using
the CD (change directory) command and that command, like all command
line file and folder operations depends on you supplying good info
on folder locations and names.
In the earlier examples I took the easy way out and used folder
names that had eight character names or less. The complex gets even
more complex when you folder Windows provision for long file names
into the mix.
Until Windows 95 PC’s used eight character filenames with a three
character extension and the command line environment maintains this
standard. Thus when you run into a Windows long filename at the
command line, things get weird as the filename is truncated and
perhaps not like you’d think.
Navigate to the root folder using the CD command:
Now list the files using the dir command.
Look at the list closely and you’ll see some common Window folder
names on the right hand side of the display. For instance you
probably have a \program files folder listed. Look to the left and
you’ll see the eight character version of that folder called
Therefore when you’re at the command prompt you’d use the
progra~1 name. Try it now:
Type dir and you should see a list of the folders in the program
files folder that look familiar. Remember that you can always use
the dir command to display the file or folder name that you need to
use in the command prompt environment.
The command line allows you to copy files from one location to
another. Why would this be important? Recently someone used the SFC
program to update the user.exe file. What they didn’t know is that
the computer vendor had customized user.exe and the version on the
Windows CD-ROM wasn’t compatible. As a result Windows wouldn’t
At this point a complete restore was done but it wasn’t needed,
instead it would have been possible to restore the single file from
the command line.
The copy command looks like this:
copy s:\folder\file.ext d:\folder
Where s:\folder\file.ext is the source drive, \folder is the
source folder and file.ext is the filename and extension and
d:\folder is the destination drive and folder.
So, how does one restore user.exe if Windows won't start? Boot
from the Emergency disk and use the DOS command line:
copy c:\windows\helpdesk\sfc\user.exe c:\windows\system
Copies the file user.exe from the folder \sfc in the helpdesk
folder which is in the windows folder and copies it to the system
folder in the windows folder.
While it may seem complex it’s a lot better than losing all your
personal files that often happens with a recovery restore.
What if you want to delete a file in Windows and it won’t allow
it because Windows is using the file? Easy, do it from the command
prompt. We’ll take that up along with some closing concepts in our
final tutorial next month.
Until then best in computing.
Go to part 1.
Go to part 3.