3

When my dad first put me in front of a computer when I was very young, he showed me this wonderful MS-DOS command - "h".

Used as an alternative to "dir", "h" listed the contents of a directory, but automatically put everything in paginated columns (a la "dir /w /p"), and colour-coded every item. From memory I believe .exe & .com files were cyan, subdirectories were violet, etc. It made it so much easier to quickly find what you were looking for.

I'd really like to get this command running in a CMD prompt in Windows 10. Does anyone know the actual name of the "h" command, or where I could download it? I've tried numerous Google searches which have yielded nothing - all I have to go on is the letter H!

4
  • Must be before my time but maybe he really showed you Linux and had an alias setup or something? When he first put you in front of a computer, how old were you? I know Linux terminal can shot directory listing in color coded scheme and you can customize as well. I look forward to hearing what this may be you refer to here though. I assume you're not talking about Linux ls -h by the way. – IT Thug Ninja Feb 27 '18 at 5:52
  • Nope. Your dad wrote a batch program, that he called h.bat that contained commands (prolly including: dir /w /p). I don't know how the color coding was done, but I bet it was a third party program – mcalex Feb 27 '18 at 5:55
  • Definitely wasn't Linux, and definitely wasn't a batch program - it was h.exe or h.com. I would have first seen it when I was maybe 8yo, and used it myself in MS-DOS daily for years. It also gave additional info that "dir /w /p" doesn't provide, so it wasn't just a simple colour coding thing. Wish I could find a screenshot somewhere! – Gareth Jones Feb 27 '18 at 6:19
  • 2
    You might also be interested in our sister site, Retrocomputing – Bob Feb 27 '18 at 7:25
4

Found it! "HotDir" - turns out, as suggested in mcalex's comment, my dad did make a batch file - but only as a straight shortcut to "hdir.exe". Not sure if it will work in CMD.exe nowadays, but at least I know what to try next.

If anyone is interested, here's a link: HotDIR

The screenshot at the above URL doesn't show it properly but I'll see if I can get it to run and will upload a better screenshot if I do.

5
  • 1
    It was most likely 16-bit. If you're lucky, it might run in 32-bit Win10 but not in 64-bit Win10 (which dropped 16-bit support). – Bob Feb 27 '18 at 7:24
  • @Bob that's good to know - I'm on Win10 x64. – Gareth Jones Feb 27 '18 at 7:40
  • 1
    If you want to run it just for the sake of doing so (nostalgia?), look at DOSBox (emulator, runs in Windows) and FreeDOS (full OS, runs in virtual machines and on bare metal hardware). If you want to use it in a practical way, you're better off re-writing it for modern Windows (or using one of the existing similar tools). – Bob Feb 27 '18 at 9:07
  • @Bob I was thinking DOSBox would be a good plan B actually. It looks like someone has been working on a clone which might work in Win10x64 CMD though: github.com/veganaize/HotDIR – Gareth Jones Feb 27 '18 at 9:35
  • @Bob you were right - it's 16-bit, so won't run in Win10x64. I'm going to keep an eye on the clone on GitHub - it doesn't look like it's finished yet. Thanks for the heads-up about Win10x64 dropping 16-bit support. – Gareth Jones Feb 27 '18 at 22:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.