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Basic DOS Commands for BIOS Pens and Window Preinstallation (PE) Environment

Article ID: 307
Last updated: 17 Apr, 2014
Article ID: 307
Last updated: 17 Apr, 2014
Revision: 4
Views: 4027
Posted: 30 Mar, 2014
by --
Updated: 17 Apr, 2014
by Andrew Sharrad

Command Prompt Type Summary

The command prompt is a useful environment to perform tasks such as updating BIOSes, retrieving log files or performing other diagnostic routines. There are four main types of command prompt:

  • Command Prompt in Windows - no rights to make significant changes, no direct hardware access
  • Administrative Command Prompt in Windows - ability to make changes, but with limited direct hardware access unless you are using specialised tools designed to run from within Windows
  • Windows 98 "true DOS" command prompt - access using a bootable USB key. Useful for direct hardware access but requires specalised tools and utilities that can locate the hardware
  • Windows Pre-Installation Environment - PE  - command prompt. This command prompt has administrative rights by default and a greater level of hardware access is possible due to the minimal Windows operating system that is running. However, there are restrictions on the applications and programs that can be run inside PE. Often, the utilities have to directly match the PE environment being used - for example, 64-bit utilities have to be used on a 64-bit PE.

Before running any diagnostic utilities or BIOS updates, you need to find out which one of the four command prompt types is required.

Basic Command Introduction

The commands below will help you to navigate and perform tasks in these situations.

Command Example
Table Of Commands


Change to C: drive; similary A: D:



Change Directory. Thie will take you between folders.

CD\ will take you to the top of the directory

CD <directory name> takes you to that directory.

To change to another path, type the full path with slashes. e.g.

Displays the contents of a directory (folder)

DIR *.LOG Will show all .log files in folder

Rename a file. You must use the full file name.
Make directory. Creates a new directory below the current one.
MD <NEWDIR> creates a new directory called Newdir


The copy command allows you to copy from one location to another



Displays DOS Help. For help on an individual command, type HELP then the command for which you want more information.
HELP DIR displays information on the DIR command.

Note: Commands inside the command prompt are almost always not case sensitive, which means that they can be typed lower or uppercase or even a combination.

Applies to:

  • All systems capable of running Microsoft Windows

This article was:  
Article ID: 307
Last updated: 17 Apr, 2014
Revision: 4
Views: 4027
Posted: 30 Mar, 2014 by --
Updated: 17 Apr, 2014 by Andrew Sharrad
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