Basic DOS command to show contents of a folder or sub-folder


I'm trying to understand a few of the very most basic DOS commands. I found a list of Basic DOS Commands but I keep getting the response:

" not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file."

For example, I changed drives by typing "e:" which gave me:




displayed a list of the folders and files in E:, one of which is the standard Windows folder called "Libraries." Next, I wanted to display a similar list of the contents of the Libraries folder. However, that's where I got hung up. I tried each of the following but obviously I'm doing something wrong:

    E:\>libraries dir

If someone could straighten me out on this, I'd appreciate it.

Also, what is the general DOS input for displaying contents of any sub-folder, e.g. in which the directory is, say:

    E:\Libraries\My Documents\FolderName1\FolderName2

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pony10usConnect With a Mentor Commented:
1. Assuming that you see a folder named Libraries and assuming you remain in the root of E: but want to look at what is in E:\Libraries you could just enter:

dir libraries

2. Assuming you are in the root of E: and want to look at what is in e:\Libraries\My Documents\FolderName1\FolderName2

You should be at the prompt:  E:>
Type dir "Libraries\My Documents\FolderName1\FolderName2"

You need the quotes because there is a space in My Documents. Without the quotes the command would interpret the line as:

dir Libraries\My

and drop all the characters after the space.

3. If you want to look at what is on a different drive, for instance c:\users, and you are still at the root of the E: drive:

dir c:\users
Dir /s
"Libraries" is not a real folder. It is a "junction point".

Anyway the syntax for the DIR Command is: >
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
The command needs to come first followed by the options.

E:\>dir libraries
pony10us gets it right.

Thank you

For help with the DIR (and any other DOS command)  by simply typing the command followed by /?

ex:  DIR /?

will give you the syntax, some explanation and examples for the DIR command
Posted a link with command syntax (as the EE page for some reason does (did) not allow posting the syntax).

Actually, your number 2 should be:

Without the quotes you're trying to list 2 likely non-existent folders.  It doesn't drop the 2nd argument.

One is named
Another is named

The spaces separate arguments.
You could do a dir on any number of separate folders or files (limited by the command buffer)
dir   E:\   F:\   "C:\My Documents"   "C:\Users\My Full Name With Spaces"

Thank you for pointing that out.  I haven't done multiples in a long time and forgot about that.  

Something else to keep in mind is the /s and /p switches.

/s will also perform the command on all sub folders of the one you tell it to start in.

/p will give pause between screens full of information allowing you time to see the results. Some folders contain so many files that it will scroll by very fast and may even be more than will fit in the buffer so you can't scroll back to see it all.
I use this to get a bare list of all the files on the drive (I use it for a quickly searchable index since the Windows index tries to do too much and is so slow).

dir C:\ /s /b > somefile.txt

The /b makes it so each file with the full path is on its own line.
Steve_BradyAuthor Commented:
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