Previous chapters have covered the techniques used to navigate the Windows GUI interface. Doing the same using the DOS CDI interface is almost as easy, providing you know the commands required and their syntax.
Because DOS does not have a graphical interface, there are no wizards, dialogs, and drop down selections or check boxes with which to configure a commands settings. Instead, DOS command input is provided by using oblique signs to specify each option (known as parameters). For example, if the Widget tool were a Windows GUI application, you might check the box labeled Blue Widgets to configure the output to only provide blue widgets. If Widget were a DOS CDI application however, you would specify the blue widget parameter on the command line by typing widget /bluewidgets.
The convention of using oblique signs to delimit parameters allows most CDI commands to be operated in a similar manner. Expanding on this convention is a useful technique to display some helpful text about a command. By typing the command name followed by a /? as the only parameter, most commands will display some help. The amount of help and its usefulness varies depending on the command; however, as a rule the commands provided by Microsoft have a reasonable amount of information provided.
The information provided in this chapter can only give an overview and some examples of the common commands. Knowledge of switches and syntax is only picked up via learning and experience, so before taking the A+ exam ensure that you have familiarity with the syntax and options of the most common commands. CompTIA state that they expect the successful candidate to have 500 hours of practical experience, a fair amount of which would no doubt be spent bashing commands into a CDI window! The A+ objectives also explicitly state that a candidate should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the proper syntax and switches of the common commands covered in this chapter. The best advice is to practice, practice and practice.
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