Use the Command Prompt s Online Help

Use the Command Prompt's Online Help

Here's probably the most valuable lesson I can give when using the command line: remember how to get help. There are just too many commands, switches, and arguments that can be combined in literally countless ways, and as I mentioned, the command line insists that you get the typing just right.

Fortunately, it's not that hard to access a command utility's built-in help. All you have to do is type /? at the end of any command. For example, say you want to convert the file system on one of your partitions from FAT to NTFS, but you can't quite remember the syntax of the convert.exe utility. To get the exact syntax, type the following at the Command Prompt:

 convert /? 

(And in case the printed page doesn't make this clear, there's a space between the t and the /.)

An online help tutorial then stampedes down your command environment. This help file should include all switches available and the proper syntax for each. If you're a Command Prompt junkie (I'm addressing both of you), you've used this help feature dozens of times and are probably not even bothering with this chapter.

So, What If You Just Type Help?

You can also type help with no arguments to display a list of all the internal commands and utilities provided with XP. With "help", you could learn, for example, that you can use either Ren or Rename to rename a file, and that Convert could be used to convert a FAT partition into the NTFS file system.

But be warnedthe "help" list is long; you might consider using some of the switches (which I'll discuss later in this chapter) that control how the output is printed to the screen when issuing this command. Also, it doesn't list all the possible tools available in the command environment. For example, you can use the Ntbackup utility to script backup operations, but you wouldn't know it by looking through this help list.

Spring Into Windows XP Service Pack 2
Spring Into Windows XP Service Pack 2
ISBN: 013167983X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 275
Authors: Brian Culp © 2008-2017.
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