I read from http://www.techonthenet.com/unix/basic/mkdir.php that the mkdir command "creates a single directories or multiple directories." and with option -p "If the parent directories don't exist, this command creates them".

I tried this command in cmd (window operating system) and saw that with -p and without -p, the command just created a file with a file name.

How do you see the effect of "If parent directories don't exist creates them." I am assuming C:\Users\chris> is the parent directory when i run the command (therefore the parent directory exists). Is there a way of seeing the effect of -p?

  • 3
    Why are you assuming that the mkdir from Unix is the same (or has the same parameters) as the one from Windows? – Marcelo Sep 24 '14 at 20:44

The Windows shell (cmd) mkdir command does not support the mkdir syntax of Unix shells.

So on Windows, the -p just creates a directory of that name (+ whatever other directories you ask for).

And cmd's mkdir creates parent directories if they are missing anyway - i.e same behaviour as the Unix command with -p.

  • Windows mkdir only creates any intermediate directories in the path (if needed) if Command Extensions are enabled. See output from mkdir /? – DavidPostill Sep 24 '14 at 21:18
  • it's not the same.. mkdir has errorlevel 1 on Windows if the directory exists, mkdir -p succeeds on nix. – jsj Jan 7 '16 at 5:00

Is there a way of seeing the effect of -p?

Windows mkdir (or md) is not the same as Unix or Linux mkdir.

Windows mkdir has no -p option. Se below for complete details on how to use Windows mkdir.


MD [drive:]path


The path can consist of any valid characters up to the maximum path length available

You should avoid using the following characters in folder names - they are known to cause problems

© ® " - & ' ^ ( ) and @

also many extended characters may not be recognised by older 16 bit windows applications.

The maximum length of a full pathname (folders and filename) under NTFS or FAT is 260 characters.

Folder names are not case sensitive, but only folder names longer than 8 characters will always retain their case, as typed.


    C:\temp> MD MyFolder

Make several folders with one command

    C:\temp> MD Alpha Beta Gamma

will create

    C:\temp\Alpha\ C:\temp\Beta\ C:\temp\Gamma\

Make an entire path MD creates any intermediate directories in the path, if needed (if Command Extensions are enabled)

For example, assuming \utils does not exist then:

    MD \utils\downloads\Editor 

is the same as:

    md \utils     
    cd \utils     
    md downloads     
    cd downloads     
    md Editor 

for long filenames include quotes

    MD "\utils\downloads\Super New Editor"  

You cannot create a folder with the same name as any of the following devices: CON, PRN, LPT1, LPT2 ..LPT9, COM1, COM2 ..COM9 This limitation ensures that redirection to these devices will always work.

If you plan to copy data onto CDROM avoid folder trees more than 8 folders deep.

MKDIR is a synonym for MD

Source md

Further Reading

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