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What is the Command Prompt

Back in the earlier days of computing, graphical user interfaces, such as those used since the very first edition of Windows, were not a common feature of computing. Instead, commands had to be entered by typing in text rather than clicking shortcuts, opening menus and moving a mouse cursor around. One of the most common types of operating system from that era was DOS ("disk operating system"). To run programs, perform tasks and to manage files and folders on the computer, it was necessary to type in commands in a command line. Learning all of the different commands was time-consuming and far from user-friendly, especially for those who didn't speak English. In spite of this, it is still sometimes necessary or simply more efficient to enter text commands to carry out certain tasks. For this Windows provides the Administrator Command Prompt, accessible by typing "cmd" into the Windows 7 start menu search box and pressing Enter.

The command prompt works in almost exactly the same way as the oldest, most basic operating systems worked. You can perform various tasks with it simply by typing in the commands. Certain more advanced system tweaks, for example, are best carried out by using the Command Prompt and you'll often hear this feature mentioned in more advanced PC optimization guides.

To familiarize yourself with the basic list of commands, you can simply type "Help" into the command prompt and press Enter. You can scroll up and down the list of commands using the scroll button on your mouse.

If you use the command prompt regularly, you may want to customize its appearance. To do this, right-click on the top of the command prompt window and click "Properties." You can, for example, change the screen background colour, the text colour, the font and font size.

Another feature of the Administrator Command Prompt is that you can use it to bypass any User Account Control restrictions (provided that the Command Prompt is running in administrator mode). You can, for example, use it to open any program or system tool without having a UAC prompt appearing on your screen.


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