How to get to a MS-DOS prompt.
or the computer is not operating properly, it may be necessary to get to a MS-DOS prompt to diagnose and to perform additional troubleshooting on the computer.
Windows 3.x users
Windows 95, 98 and ME users
Windows NT, 2000 and XP users
Windows Vista users
Other PC Operating System users
If you are running MS-DOS with no other operating systems, the computer should be booting into a MS-DOS prompt automatically unless you have a shell or other program loading automatically.
If the computer is not getting you to a MS-DOS prompt, reboot the computer and as the computer is booting, press the F5 key
when you see the message "Starting MS-DOS" or the MS-DOS version. This will load the default standard MS-DOS.
If you successfully get to a MS-DOS prompt and would like to prevent the computer from loading the program that is preventing you from getting to a MS-DOS prompt, or if you would like to fix possible error messages you may be receiving when booting the computer, edit the autoexec.bat and/or the config.sys
Windows 95, 98, and ME users
If you are able to get into Windows 95, 98 or ME, you can get to a MS-DOS prompt by following the below steps.
- Click Start
- Click Run
- Type "command" and press enter.
This will open a MS-DOS shell
. However, if you are attempting to troubleshoot an issue with the computer and are using Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows 98we suggest you restart the computer into MS-DOS. To do this follow the below steps.
- Click Start
- Click Shutdown
- Choose the option to restart the computer into a MS-DOS prompt.
If you are unable to get into Windows 95 or Windows 98 to get into a MS-DOS prompt, follow the below instructions (Windows ME does not have this option).
- Reboot the computer
- As the computer is booting, press the F8 key when you hear a beep or when you see "Starting Windows 95" or "Starting Windows 98". Windows 98 users sometimes may find it easier to press and hold the left CTRL key as the computer is booting.
- If done properly the user should get to a screen similar to the below screen.
Microsoft Windows 95 Startup Menu
2. Logged (\BOOTLOG.TXT)
3. Safe mode
4. Step-by-step confirmation
5. Command prompt only
6. Safe mode command prompt only
Enter a choice: 1
F5=Safe Mode Shift+F5=Command prompt Shift+F8= Step-by-step confirmation [N]
4. Select the option for Safe mode command prompt only.
Windows NT, 2000, XP, and Vista users
If you're running Windows NT, 2000, or Windows XP and need to get to MS-DOS prompt follow the below steps.
- Click Start
- Click Run or click in the "Start Search" field if you're running Vista
- Type "cmd" or "command" and press enter.
Additional information about the difference between "cmd" and "command" can be found on document CH000395
If you're attempting to get into a MS-DOS prompt to troubleshoot the computer boot the computer into safe mode. Additional information about how to get into safe mode can be found on document CHSAFE
Windows 2000, XP, and Vista users who are unable to boot the computer into Normal Windows mode or Safe mode can also enter the recovery console to manage their computer from a prompt. Additional information about how to do this can be found on document CH000627
Finally, if you are experiencing issues getting into Windows NT, 2000, or XP, it may be necessary to run troubleshooting steps from a MS-DOS prompt. It is recommended that the Network Administrator get into the MS-DOS prompt by using either a standard MS-DOS boot diskette
(note: will not be able to access data using a standard MS-DOS bootable diskette) or the ERD diskettes
created after the installation of Windows NT, or boot from the Windows XP CD.
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