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I wanted to know how to get help when using for a command in cmd.exe on windows 7.

A friend told me that I just type help after the command and it'll give me some help. That doesn't work for me though.

I get the error "The system cannot find the file specified." image of what goes wrong

How do I get help?

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Could you truncate the image to something more reasonable? – Al E. Nov 27 '11 at 17:57
Yes, could you +1 my question now? – wizlog Nov 27 '11 at 18:01
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Command prompt help in Windows is traditionally the /? switch.

ie: C:\> Dir /? produces:

Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory.

DIR [drive:][path][filename] [/A[[:]attributes]] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/L] [/N]
  [/O[[:]sortorder]] [/P] [/Q] [/R] [/S] [/T[[:]timefield]] [/W] [/X] [/4]

              Specifies drive, directory, and/or files to list.

  /A          Displays files with specified attributes.
  attributes   D  Directories                R  Read-only files
               H  Hidden files               A  Files ready for archiving
               S  System files               I  Not content indexed files
               L  Reparse Points             -  Prefix meaning not
  /B          Uses bare format (no heading information or summary).
  /C          Display the thousand separator in file sizes.  This is the
              default.  Use /-C to disable display of separator.
  /D          Same as wide but files are list sorted by column.
  /L          Uses lowercase.
  /N          New long list format where filenames are on the far right.
  /O          List by files in sorted order.
  sortorder    N  By name (alphabetic)       S  By size (smallest first)
               E  By extension (alphabetic)  D  By date/time (oldest first)
               G  Group directories first    -  Prefix to reverse order
  /P          Pauses after each screenful of information.
  /Q          Display the owner of the file.
  /R          Display alternate data streams of the file.
  /S          Displays files in specified directory and all subdirectories.
  /T          Controls which time field displayed or used for sorting
  timefield   C  Creation
              A  Last Access
              W  Last Written
  /W          Uses wide list format.
  /X          This displays the short names generated for non-8dot3 file
              names.  The format is that of /N with the short name inserted
              before the long name. If no short name is present, blanks are
              displayed in its place.
  /4          Displays four-digit years

Switches may be preset in the DIRCMD environment variable.  Override
preset switches by prefixing any switch with - (hyphen)--for example, /-W.

You could also use help <command>; ie: C:\> help dir.

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This is very helpful thanks. (+1) – wizlog Nov 27 '11 at 17:04

You want help copy instead.


For more information on a specific command, type HELP command-name

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This is very helpful thanks. (+1) – wizlog Nov 27 '11 at 17:05

is one way to get help.

The other is to use the help switch, typically /?, but other times, -?. And sometimes both work.


HELP by itself will show you all the basic commands.

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