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Computer Basics how to get to a MS Dos Prompt

MS-DOS is Microsoft’s text-based operating system that was used before Windows was created. There is no mouse support from the command line (although certain DOS programs such as Edit can support mouse input) and no graphics or images. Even though Windows is the dominant operating system today, all Windows computers can still provide access to a MS-DOS command prompt.

There are some commands which can be run from the command prompt that can’t be run from Windows (such as Diskpart). If you need to (or want to) access the command prompt in Windows, it is very easy to do.

In most current versions of Windows, you can get to the command prompt through the Start menu. Click the Start button (or the Vista orb, in Windows Vista) then choose All Programs, then Accessories. The command prompt will be listed in the Accessories folder.

You can access it even quicker by using the Run or Search bar. In Windows XP, click Start and then Run, then type “cmd” in the box and press Enter. In Windows Vista, click the Vista orb, then in the Search bar type “cmd” and hit Enter.

If you use the command prompt often, there are two things you can do to make it always accessible with just a mouse click. The first way is to pin it to the Start menu, so that every time you click Start you’ll have the ability to go straight to the command prompt by clicking its shortcut. To pin it to the Start menu, go to the Accessories folder as described above, then right click on the Command Prompt shortcut and from the context menu that pops up, choose “Pin to Start Menu.”

To make it even easier to get to, you can pin it to your quick launch bar. The quick launch bar is the area just to the right of the Start button (or Vista orb) where shortcuts can be pasted for one-click access. To pin the command prompt to the quick launch bar, locate its icon in the Start menu, then drag it down to the quick launch bar and release the mouse button. If you have other icons already in the quick launch bar, you can reorder them by dragging and releasing them.

If you drag the command prompt icon down to the quick launch bar and it doesn’t show up, you may have too many programs located there to display them all. If there is a small double arrow to the right of the last program, click it to bring up the other shortcuts that there isn’t room to show. You can drag the command prompt to the left of one of the visible programs to make it always accessible, or leave it where it is.

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