Here are the commands that every Windows user will need to know at one time or another. The words that are capitalized should be typed verbatim, the lower case parts should be selected by you.

  1. FORMAT -This command will completely erase anything on your selected drive. To use it type in FORMAT x: /switch, where x is the drive letter. Two very useful switches are /U for unconditional format and /S for install system files and make the disk bootable.

  2. FDISK -This command will create or delete partitions on a hard drive. If you have a major hard drive failure and have already lost all of your data, or you need to set up a new drive, use this cmmand. THe usage is FDISK x:. Replace x with the hard drive to partition. If you have partitions set up, first remove them by following the instructions. Otherwise create a new primary partition by following the directions. After that is done, you must set the active partition (where does it boot from).

  3. EDIT -This command is very useful for creating autoexec.bat and command.com files. Yes, if your computer cannot boot from CD, you'll need this to set up items like your CD drivers and installing MSCDEX, or the Microsoft CD Extensions file. Follow the instructions in accordance with your CD manufacturer.

  4. MSCDEX -Already mentioned, this lets the computer run the CD. Windows has these built in, but you have to get to windows to use it, so you're stuck with the DOS for now.

  5. DIR -The DIRectory, or a listing of what's in your current folder.

  6. MD -Short for MKDIR, or Make Directory. Usage: MD foldername

  7. CD -Short for CHDIR, or Change Directory. Usage: CD foldername

  8. RD -Short for RMDIR, or Remove Directory. Usage: RD foldername

  9. DEL -Short for DELETE. Usage: DELETE filename or DEL foldername

  10. REN -Short for RENAME. Lets you rename a file. Usage: RENAME file1 foo will change the name the file called file1 to foo.