File Managing Functions in Shell Not Found at Command Line (71693)

The information in this article applies to:
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 4.0
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 4.01
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0

This article was previously published under Q71693


There are a number of file management functions available in MS-DOS Shell that are not available at the DOS prompt. These functions include viewing, moving, and toggling attributes on hidden files, and the renaming of directories.

In MS-DOS version 5.0, the Shell interface has been greatly altered. To view hidden files, you must enable that option by choosing File Display Options from the Options menu in Shell. The other functions maintain the same command sequences as in MS-DOS 4.01 Shell. It should also be noted that MS-DOS version 5.0 allows the manipulation of hidden and system files using the ATTRIB command. Renaming directories is still not directly possible from the command prompt within DOS 5.0.


To find hidden files at the DOS prompt, you must first know the name of the file being searched for. The same is true for copying, deleting, or moving hidden files. You cannot toggle the hidden file attribute at the command prompt alone.

These functions are simple within Shell. Hidden files are included in the file listing in the File System portion of Shell. Hidden files can be manipulated in the same manner as all other files. Toggling file attributes (including the hidden attributes) requires selecting the file, and from the File menu, choosing Change Attributes.

You cannot rename directories from the DOS prompt without a third-party utility. Instead, you must create a new directory with the desired name, copy the files to that directory, delete those files in the old directory, and remove the old directory.

Within Shell, all that is required is to select the directory within the File System portion of the shell, and choose Rename from the File menu.

Modification Type: Major Last Reviewed: 10/14/2003
Keywords: KB71693