What are the slashes with letters for – as seen in set /p or for /f etc?

  • 1
    Some command even take more than one letter, e.g. Start /max CMD.EXE. There's also a /min option to Start, so /m` would be quite ambiguous.
    – MSalters
    May 3, 2013 at 13:44

2 Answers 2


They are "command line switches", and you use them to give a command more information about what you want it to do.

For example, the dir command lists the files in the working directory, one file per line. If you say dir /w then it lists them in "wide" format, with several files per line. /w is a "command line switch".

To find out information about a particular switch, you need to read the documentation for the command it relates to. For dir, you can type dir /? - the /? switch tells the command to give you help about how it works, including the switches that it accepts.

The two commands you mention, set and for, also accept the /? switch.

  • nearly every command has a "help switch", normally /? . Try for example set /? or for /?
    – Stephan
    May 3, 2013 at 10:32

The slashes are parameters

If you want to know what parameter for, add "/?" in your command

For example :

copy /? --> this will show you all about copy command
  • Yeah, but what i wanted to know was what the letters after the slashes mean.
    – Swillfreat
    May 3, 2013 at 19:42
  • @Swillfreat: As the other answer states, the meaning of the letters is specific to each program/command. Use program_name /? or /h or -? or -h or --help etc.
    – Karan
    May 4, 2013 at 1:14

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