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Dated: Feb. 20, 2010

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Directory Command

The DIRECTORY command is like a table of contents in a book. This directory will list the following information:

  • Filenames
  • File extensions
  • Size of each file
  • Date and time the file was last updated.


  1. At the C:\> type: dir and press return.
  2. The list of files will scroll up and off the screen.

NOTE: At the end of the listing, there is a line that shows the number of bytes free on the hard drive.

Scroll Through the Directory Listing

When you type the DIR command and press return, the files begin to scroll vertically on your screen. If you have a lot of files it is difficult to read each one. By holding down the Control Key (CTRL) and the letter S at the same time, you are able to freeze the listing to view your files. When you are finished, press the spacebar for the list to continue.

NOTE: You must return to the C:\> before entering your next command.

Pause a Directory Listing

You can add a PAUSE command to your directory command which will allow you to view your directory one screen at a time.


  1. Type: dir/p and press return.
  2. The screen freezes after it fills the screen with the files that are listed first in the directory.
  3. Press the spacebar to continue listing you files.
  4. Continue to press the spacebar until you return back to the C:\> prompt.

View a Wide Listing of Files

When you need to quickly view your files, you can add a /W to the directory command. This will display your files into five columns on the screen.


  1. Type: dir/w and press return.
  2. DOS will list only the name of you file and the file extension on the screen.

NOTE: Use this command when you are not concerned with looking at the file size or the date it was created.

Recall a DOS Command

The F3 function key can be used to recall the last DOS command you typed in. If you would like to retrieve a previously entered command, you can also press the up arrow key continuously until you reach the desired command you were looking for.

NOTE: You can also type out each letter in your last command by using the right arrow key or the right cursor key. After you use the F3 key to recall a command, you can use the backspace key to edit any part of the command or add to your command.

Print a Directory Listing

You can print a list of your files in your directory by instructing DOS to send the information to your printer.


  1. Type: dir>prn and press return.
  2. The > symbol stands for output. The PRN stands for printer.

NOTE: You can print a wide listing of your files by typing dir/w>prn

Laserjet printers and other sheetfeeder printers will not eject the page after the dir>prn command. You must take the printer off-line and press the form feed button. Remember to press the on-line button when you are done in order to continue using the printer.

Check for a Single File

Instead of using the directory command to look for one particular file, you can type the name of the file after the DIR command at the C:\> prompt.


  1. Make sure that you are at your C:\> prompt.
  2. Type: dir (filename.extension) and press return.
  3. The screen will display a listing of the file or a file not found message.

Check for a Group of Files

The * symbol is referred to as a wildcard and stands for any character or group of characters. This is helpful when you want to list files that start with a particular letter or group.


  1. Type: dir c* and press return.
  2. All filenames that begin with the letter C will be listed.
  3. Press the F3 key.
  4. Backspace twice and replace C* with A* and press return.
  5. All filenames that begin with the letter A are listed.

List Files with the Same Extensions

You can also use the wildcard character * to look for a group of files with the same extension.


  1. Type: dir *.bat and press return.
  2. All files with the .bat extension are listed.
  3. Press the F3 key.
  4. Backspace three times and replace the .bat extension with the .sys extension and press return.
  5. All files with the .sys extension should now be listed.

Clear the Screen

When the screen get full of information, you may want to clear it. To do this, type CLS at the C:\> prompt and press return.

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