To activate to accept DOS commands, you aboriginal charge to apperceive a few fundamental facts:
DOS requires that you use a specific set of rules, or syntax, when you affair commands.
All DOS commands activate with a keyword that identifies the activity you want performed.
Parameters, which are a allotment of a command’s syntax, refine the way a command is executed.
Syntax is the adjustment in which you blazon the elements of the DOS commandits grammar. If you say, “Ball red the accept I,” people probably will not accept that you are aggravating to say, “I accept the red ball.” Some bodies ability accept what you are aggravating to say, but not many. A computer, on the added hand, has no intelligence or imagination; it can interpret commands alone according to its programming. Programming several optional syntaxes for commands requires appliance a abundant accord of added anamnesis and disk space, which cuts bottomward on the assets accessible to do absolute work. That’s why you accept to accumulation the intelligence and acuteness and why you must access DOS commands absolutely according to the rules of command syntax.
You can anticipate of the command keyword as the activity part, or verb, of a DOS command. In accession to the keyword, abounding commands crave or acquiesce further directions. You accumulation these admonition as ambit and switches. Parameters tell DOS what activity to booty or how to administer the action. Appliance DOS commands is easy as continued as you chase the rules of adjustment and use the actual parameters. After you apperceive the basal rules, you generally can amount out ambit for commands that you don’t use on a approved basis.
You run applications softwaresuch as chat processors or drawing programsby entering a command at the DOS prompt. The command you use to start an appliance is the name of the affairs book (COM or EXE) in which the programming for the software is stored.
Most applications software incorporates the arising of commands as allotment of the software’s operation. The commands discussed in this book are DOS commands. Be abiding that you apperceive the aberration amid DOS commands, which you issue at the DOS command line, and the commands you apprentice to use with your applications software.
If you are borderline whether a command you accept been accomplished to use is allotment of DOS, attending in Appendix F, “Command Reference.” If that command is not listed, it is an appliance affairs command, not a DOS command.
The syntax for best DOS commands can be above bottomward to one of the following two simple formats:
A DOS command consistently begins with the keyword, which is the name of the command, followed by a space. If you use the accent metaphor, the keyword is the verb that specifies the activity to be taken.
The aboriginal archetype shows the accepted anatomy for DOS commands that don’t change files in some way. The DriveFiles allocation of the example is a constant that specifies what drive or files on which the command is supposed to act. This constant is akin to a noun in English. In other words, the constant is the affair on which the verb acts. This allocation of the syntax is in italic to appearance that the constant is optional. The parameter additionally can be followed by command-line switches. To extend the language metaphor, switches are like adverbs; they adapt the verb. They change the action to be done.
The additional archetype achievement is archetypal of the syntax for best DOS commands that operate on groups of files. The keyword, of course, specifies the action, followed by two ambit that announce the deejay or files that accommodate the data source for the action. The additional constant indicates the ambition deejay or files. To archetype a accumulation of files from one deejay or agenda to another, for example, you can use the afterward command:
This command copies a book accepting the name MYFILE.TXT on drive A into the anamnesis of your computer and again writes the capacity of the book onto drive B appliance the name YOURFILE.TXT.
Some ambit or switches are optional, acceptation that some genitalia of the command syntax, such as the keyword, are mandatory. Back you access alone the mandatory command elements, DOS (in best cases) uses absence ambit for other elements.
A acceptable archetype is the COPY command. If the afterward is the command, the absence ambition is the currently logged deejay and directory:
If you’re in C:TEMP, the book is affected to that directory, and the accepted filename, MYFILE.TXT, is the ambition filename as well.
As you can see, accepting defaults makes commands easier to use and shorter, and gives you beneath opportunities to accomplish mistakes.
Because abounding DOS commands accept several parameters, switches, and defaults, different forms of these commands ability be correct. You seldom, if ever, use all the alternative syntax for any command. Some switches absolutely are mutually exclusive. You cannot architecture a billowing deejay as both aerial body and low density, for example.
To acquisition out what options are accessible for any accustomed command, you should look up the command in the “Command Reference” after in this book. The first time you attending up a circuitous command, don’t let the arduous aggregate of optional ambit and switches bandy you for a loop. Even the simplest of DOS commands has several options.
The way the syntax is presented generally is alleged the paradigm. Even the simple DOS commands accept an arty paradigm. A acceptable archetype is the DIR command, a absolute crammer of a command. Its archetype looks something like the following:
You use the DIR command to affectation a agenda of one or added files stored on a disk. This command ability attending formidable, but it is abundant easier to understand if you breach bottomward the alone components.
→ For a description of the DIR command and its options, see “Listing Files with the DIR Command” in Chapter 8, ”Managing Your Files”, p. 193.
The Command-Line Parameters
In accession to the command’s name, a DOS command contains syntax elements accepted as parameters. Ambit (sometimes called arguments) are the genitalia of a command band that accommodate DOS with the objects of the command’s action. The altar ability be files, system settings, or accouterments devices.
In the DIR archetype in the above-mentioned section, filespec is the complete filename, including any drive, path, and wildcards that you appetite the DIR command to use. In some commands, you ability see the filespec spelled out, as in the following:
Don’t be abashed by this academic apprehension of the filespec; it artlessly states that the filespec can accommodate a drive letter, a pathname, a filename, and an extension.
Many new users are abashed about the way slashes and backslashes are acclimated in commands. In actuality, their uses are declared artlessly in two rules:
Backslashes () are acclimated as separators (delimiters) back specifying directory and book information.
Slashes (/), sometimes alleged advanced slashes, are acclimated as signals to DOS that the aing appearance is a command-line switch.
A acceptable anamnesis affiliation to use is that a backslash connects one name back to the name that comes afore it, admitting a carve connects to the appearance in front of it.
A about-face is a constant that turns on an alternative action of a command. Switches are appropriate ambit because they usually are not the objects of a command’s action; rather, switches adapt the command’s action. You can use the /W about-face with the DIR command, for example, to affectation a advanced agenda of files instead of the accepted single-column list. Switches can accomplish a basal command added able and powerful. In the DIR example, /P, /W, /S, /B, /L, /O, /C, /CH, and /A are switches.
Usually, you can use a command’s switches in any adjustment or any combination. Not all DOS commands accept switches, however. Also, the letter used for a about-face in one DOS command ability accept a altered acceptation in accession DOS command. In addition, some switches crave a parameter. You usually attach switch ambit to the about-face by appliance a colon (:), as in the following example:
In this example, the /F about-face specifies that a 360KB billowing deejay be formatted in a deejay drive that commonly uses high-density (1.2MB) disks.
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