Basic Windows terminal commands list on Windows 10 – CMD, pwsh, WSL

Basic Windows terminal commands list on Windows 10

Are you looking for Windows terminal commands list? If you have been following the new enhancements to Windows 10, you should be aware of the latest improvements announced for the Windows Command line interface. The new interface is referred to as Windows Terminal and will provide you with an app like functionality. For now, the service is in beta and is available for download through Windows Store. The new interface can be used in place of Command Prompt, PowerShell, and WSL command line interfaces.

Windows 10 Terminal – What it is?

Windows Terminal is the new update for the command line interface on Windows 10. In fact, this has been the best update and the first one for the command line prompt in over 30 years. The new version is backward compatible and should work efficiently with all editions in the past.

It is designed to bring an additional layer of security for the console applications. One of the best options that it has brought is the tabbed interface. This can help you undertake the multiple sessions of the terminal in a single window. It also gets the UTF – 8 character support that will help you use emojis and non-English characters in your commands and console applications. You also have access to 24-bit color depth. The new Terminal app brings in the support for transparency effects and other special effects.

Top Windows Terminal commands List on Windows 10

Commands in Windows Terminal are specifically designed to work with computer in explaining it what you are expecting it to do. There are several commands you will be using with your Terminal.

For the sake of this post, we will discuss a few basic Terminal commands and what they do on your Windows installation.

#1 echo Testing currently CMD

The command will display the command you typed. Type echo following by whatever you want to. The terminal will show whatever you have typed in.

# 2 dir

This is the directory command for your system. The DIR command will show all the files in the current folder.

It will list out all the files and subdirectories within a directory.

The syntax of the command would read:

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

That does not mean you will be using all the parameters together in every query. You would only need to use the parameter that you are interested in. The complete information of the directory can be summed up as

[drive:][path][filename] –            Specifies the drive, directory, and/or files to list.

[/A[[:]Attributes]]                          Displays files with specified attributes. Click Attributes for additional information

/P                                                        Pause after each screenful of information. To see the next screen press any key(s).

/Q                                                       Displays file ownership info.

/W                                                      Display the results in a wide list format.

/D                                                       Same as /W but the files are sorted by column.

/L                                                        Displays directory and file names in lowercase (lists are not sorted).

/O[[:]<SortOrder>]  –                       Files will be listed as defined by <SortOrder>

/S                                                        Display all files in the specified directory and all sub-directories

#3 dir/S

This can help you search subdirectories if you are aware of the filename. Of course, you will not have access to the same file structure as in the case of your regular Windows Explorer. It can be helpful in many situations.

#4 dir/S *adc *

You can find a file or directory that has a specific text string. For example, in the above command, you will be searching for a file with the text string adc.

# 5 ping

This can be an excellent option for testing the TCP /IP connectivity of your computer. You will need to specify the IP address suffixed to the ping command after space. If your firewall tends to block any communication, the ping command will break.

#6 System file checker

This is one of the most practical commands you can use on your command prompt or terminal. If you have installed any rogue application by mistake, you will find that the system files are altered and replaced with the altered versions. This can cause unwanted errors on your computer. The sfc command can be helpful enough in addressing the concern.

Sfc /scannow

The ‘system file checker’ will help you scan the entire system directory, and if the system is found to have any altered files, they will get repaired. Even the modified files are replaced with original ones. It will ensure that you have access to the right system without any altered files.

#7 NetDiag

The command can be an excellent option if your system is experiencing networking issues. The command will help you analyze networking difficulties. Besides, it can also help monitor your virtual private networks.

# 8 Help

The command should be self-explanatory. It will help you arrive at the complete information on your command line interface. If you type in HELP without any other parameters, you will have access to every system command available on the Windows Terminal.

The command suffixed with any of the specific commands will help you find information only about the particular command.


Short for Check directory, the command can be used to find the correctness of your files and directories. This command will display the name changes and other changes performance to the current directory if no parameter is added and other lists if you add the specific parameters.

The syntax for the command reads as

CHDIR [/D] [drive:] [path]

The parameters on the directory will read

Parameters What they do
/D Indicates the changes to the current drive and any other drive.
[drive:] You can specify the drive you want to check
[path] The specific path that you would want to check
[..] This will change the current directory to parent directory

Command Prompts for Managing Disks

Apart from the basic commands above, here are the commands specifically designed for managing your drives, disks, and partitions. These commands can help let you resolve the issues with your drives and disks.

Here are a few commands that should be helpful enough for you in the proper management of your drives and disks.


Short for Check Disk, the command is used for checking the integrity of your disks and drives. The command can check the file system metadata. It can also find information about the logical and physical errors if any.

The syntax for the command will read

CHKDSK [volume[[path]filename]]] [/F] [/R] [/X] [/B] [/SCAN]

The parameters in the above syntax have been explained in a finer detail here –


What they do

<volume> It is used to specify the volume, mount point, or volume name.
[<Path>] <filename> Specifies the specific filename or path
/F This parameter fixes the errors. Also, do note that you will not be able to use the disk while the checking is in progress. If you do, checking will be shifted to the next boot
/R The parameter finds the bad sectors recover any information
/X It works with the less vigorous checks on the disk under question.
/B It re-evaluates the bad sectors
[/SCAN] This runs an online scan of the disk


This is one of the most ignored commands on Windows terminal. It is a command most important and provides you access to exceptional functionality. The CHKNTFS performs the checking at the time of boot, while the CHKDSK is a command that can run even while your operating system is running.

The CHKNTFS commands can have the following parameters –

Parameters What they do
volume This would specify the local volume.
/D It takes the system to default status. It checks every drive.
/T:time Changes the autocheck functionality
/X Exclude the drives that you would not want to be checked
/C Schedules the drives to be checked at the bootup

#2 DiskPart

Manage your disks, partitions, or even virtual hard disks with this command. DiskPart will load in its interface from within Terminal. You may not find it working in the same manner as your other Terminal commands. It has its own set of commands, and these have nothing to with the Terminal commands.

#3 Format

The command is used for formatting a disk within Windows 10. This is not ideally i=used for formatting your drives unless you need it. The disk formatting is normally handled through disk management. However, if you are a system administrator, using the Format command may be necessary for your needs.

The syntax for the command will be as here below –

FORMAT volume [/FS:file-system] [/V:label] [/Q]

The parameters you would use with the command can be

Parameters What they do
volume Specify the drive volume
/FS:filesystem Specifies the file types like  FAT, FAT32, exFAT, NTFS, UDF and ReFS.
/V:label Indicate the volume label.
/Q Take up a quick format

Commands for Copying Your files and folders

As a final part of this compilation, here are a few commands that can be helpful enough for copying your files and folders.

#1 Copy

The use of the command is quite simple and easy to understand. It is used for copying files from one location to another.

The syntax for the command reads

COPY [/D] [/V] [/N] [/Y | /-Y] [/Z] [/L] [/A | /B ] source [/A | /B] [+ source [/A | /B] [+ …]] [destination [/A | /B]]

All these parameters may not be useful for most of us. The important parameters would include

Parameters What they do
<Source> Indicates the files you would want to copy from
<destination> Specify the destination to copy the files to
/Y No prompt to confirm whether you would want to overwrite an existing file
/-Y This prompts to confirm whether you want to overwrite an existing file


The command is more advanced than the COPY command. It is used for copying files, directories, and subdirectories. It provides you with better control than the previous command.

The syntax would be as follows:

XCOPY source [destination] [/A | /M] [/D[:date]] [/P] [/S [/E]] [/V] [/W] [/C] [/I] [/Q] [/F] [/L] [/G] [/H] [/R] [/T] [/U] [/K] [/N] [/O] [/X] [/Y] [/-Y] [/Z] [/B] [/J] [/EXCLUDE:file1[+file2][+file3]…]

Once again, not all those parameters are practical and used for the function.

In Conclusion

Those were just a few basic commands that should be helpful and practical for all your needs in controlling your system. Not that this list is complete in any way. We have just attempted listing out the best options available at your disposal. There is a vast number of commands designed to handle everything on your Windows device.

We assume that with those commands and the explanations, we have been able to teach a kind of interest in your mind about Windows Terminal and the commands you can use with it.

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