MS-DOS: Piped DIR Command Shows Temporary Files (74166)

The information in this article applies to:
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0a
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.0

This article was previously published under Q74166


Temporary files having a zero byte size can be seen if the DIR command is issued with a pipe symbol and parameters MORE or SORT. These files are seen when the DIR command is listing files residing in the temporary directory.

If the temporary directory is set to be: C:\windows\temp and the current directory is C:\windows\temp, then the following examples of commands will show the temporary DOS files:

dir | more
dir | sort

The files can also be seen if the current directory is not the temporary directory by including a path as shown below:

dir C:\windows\temp | more
dir \windows\temp |sort

The files will appear as eight-character files with no file extensions. They will have zero bytes and will be stamped with the date and time that the command was given, as follows:

AOBOAJCF 0 7-04-91 2:45p
AOBOAJCK 0 7-04-91 2:45p.

If you don't use the pipe parameter, these files will not be visible. They are temporary and are deleted immediately after the command is finished executing.

This information applies to MS-DOS version 5.0. In versions previous to 5.0, the temporary files were not created in the directory specified by the temp variable, but rather in the root directory of the active drive.

Modification Type: Major Last Reviewed: 10/13/2003
Keywords: KB74166