What Does Command Mean?

A command (.CMD) is a specific action assigned to a program to perform a specific task. It commonly refers to a specific word or phrase that tells the computer what to do through a command line interface or shell, depending on what kind of system is being used. Programming languages also refer to lines of code that initiate specific processes or statements as commands.


Techopedia Explains Command

Computer languages use command in an assertive manner similar to many natural languages. So in a statement, the command would be the verb. For example in the DOS command statement del /p file.x, del is the command itself, while the rest is parameters used to give specifics to the command. Every command depends on the operating system and the specific process that is assigned to it.

Commands are usually named using shortcuts or acronyms, and they have to be used in a command prompt or shell. A good example is the DOS command prompt. This is an application commonly used in Windows operating systems as a command line interpreter, which performs administrative functions and solves certain Windows issues. A valid command within its optional parameters allows a command prompt to perform tasks that were designed for Windows or any operating system to which it is applied. It is important that commands be encoded correctly so as to avoid failure of command and execution, because the availability of these commands differs from one operating system to another.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.