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Chapter 2. Using Windows XP > The Command Line

2.9. The Command Line

Many of those who are new to computers will never have heard of thecommand line, also known as the command prompt or the Disk Operating System (DOS) prompt. (DOS was the operating system used by most PCs before Windows became ubiquitous. The command line in DOS was the only way to start programs and manage files.) Those who might have used older PCs may remember the command line, but may be under the impression that it's purely a thing of the past. Advanced users, on the other hand, whether they remember the old days of the DOS command line or not, have probably learned the advantages of the command-line interface, even when using Windows XP on a day-to-day basis.

Many tasks can be performed more quickly by typing one or more commands into the command prompt window. In addition, many of the programs listed in Chapter 4 are command-line based tools, and some familiarity with the command prompt is necessary if you plan to use them.


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