The Windows command line isn’t dead yet. Craig Simms also isn’t dead, despite pasty white skin and lack of communication skills. We locked both in the Atomic sepulchre, cast raise dead a week later and got this.
It is the time before Start buttons. The user stares intently at a black screen that is littered with white text, wondering which seemingly random combination of values will eke the most out of a possible 640k of base memory in order to play the game of the moment. Is it Highmem that’s the problem? Or EMM386? If the sound driver were sacrificed it would be easy, but that luscious 8-bit sound...
If you’re a member of the post Windows 95 generation, there’s a chance that you have no idea what we’re talking about – unless you’ve dabbled with x86 emulators like DOSBox or VirtualPC to get some old games running properly. Thankfully the days of manually configuring a system on a per application basis through the command prompt are (for the most part) gone, as Windows does all the work for us.
So why does Microsoft still include a Command Line Interface (CLI) with Windows if it is, for the most part, obsolete? Because as Linux users will tell you – nothing beats a command line for flexibility, speed and power – especially when it comes to file management. That, and using the CLI makes you a seriously hardcore (and undeniably sexy) geek.
Though we’ll have to wait for Longhorn and its new CLI (codenamed Monad) to get the same level of scriptability as equivalent *nix prompts, the existing Command prompt still packs quite a punch – as we’ll get into now.