How to Change Directory in CMD in 4 Steps

How to Change Directory in CMD in 4 Steps

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on May 9, 2024 19:32 IST

To change the directory in Command Prompt (Cmd), use the “cd” command followed by the desired directory path, e.g., “cd C:NewDirectory.” Let’s show you step by step.

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CMD, or Command Prompt on the Windows operating system, is a functional text-based interface. By typing commands on it, users interact with their computer or network. Today, we will show you how to change the directory in CMD. 

Change Directory in CMD – Step-by-Step

Step 1: Search CMD on Windows Search Bar

First, press the Windows key on your keyboard. Type ‘cmd’ on the search bar. The results will show something like this. 

Search for CMD on Windows Search Bar

Step 2: Open Command Prompt or Run as Administrator

Click on the Open button on the right. Or, if you are the system’s administrator, you can click on the ‘Run as Administrator’. 

Many programs can be opened using the Open option. But, you may be limited in your ability to perform certain system-level actions or access protected system files. 

On the other hand, when you ‘Run as Administrator’ you have access to modifying system files, configuring system settings, and making changes that affect all users on the system.

Either ways, you will come across a screen like this. 

Open Command Prompt

Step 3: Type ‘cd’ Next to Cursor

‘cd’ in CMD stands for Change directory. This command is used for navigating between directories in the Command Prompt. 

Type cd to change directory

DON’T PRESS ENTER KEY YET

Step 4: Find the Path of Your Directory

A directory path is often simply referred to as a path. It is a string of characters that specifies the location of a file or directory within a file system. It is a way to navigate and locate specific files and directories within the hierarchical structure of a computer’s file system. 

A typical directory path consists of a series of directory or folder names separated by a delimiter. On Windows: The delimiter is a backslash . 

For example, “C:UsersYourUsernameDownloads” is a Windows directory path.

So, the directory you want to change in Command Prompt, just drag the folder onto the CMD interface. 

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It would look something like this. 

Drag the directory after typing cd

NOW PRESS ENTER KEY

Things to Consider Before Changing Directories on CMD

Directory Structure: Familiarise yourself with the directory structure of your system. Understand the layout of directories, the location of important files, and the relationships between directories.

Current Directory: Always be aware of your current working directory. You can check it by using the “cd” command without any arguments. This helps you understand where you are in the file system before navigating elsewhere.

File Backups: If you’re working with critical files, consider making backups before making any major directory changes. This precaution can prevent data loss in case something goes wrong.

Permissions: Be aware of directory and file permissions. If you’re trying to access or manipulate files or directories that require administrative or elevated privileges, you may need to run the Command Prompt as an administrator (right-click and choose “Run as administrator”).

Path Length: On Windows, the maximum path length is 260 characters. Be cautious about navigating to deeply nested directories, as you may encounter path length limitations. Consider using shorter directory names or moving files to shorter paths when needed.

Spaces and Special Characters: If a directory or file name contains spaces or special characters, enclose the name in double quotes to ensure that the Command Prompt interprets it correctly.

Relative vs. Absolute Paths: Decide whether to use relative or absolute paths in command prompts when changing directories. Relative paths are based on your current location, while absolute paths specify the complete directory structure from the root. Choose the appropriate one for your task.

Error Checking: Pay attention to any error messages or warnings that appear when you attempt to change directories. These messages can provide valuable information about why the command failed and how to address the issue.

Tab Auto-Completion: Take advantage of tab auto-completion. When typing directory or file names, you can press the “Tab” key to auto-complete the name based on the available options in the current directory, reducing the chance of typos.

Safety Precautions: When working with potentially destructive commands, such as “del” (delete) or “format,” double-check the command before executing it to ensure you are affecting the correct files or directories.

Navigation Commands: Familiarise yourself with essential navigation commands like “cd” to move between directories, “dir” to list directory contents, and “cd..” to move up one level. Knowing these basic commands will make navigation smoother.

Scripting and Batch Files: If you’re working with scripts or batch files, ensure that the directory paths in your scripts are accurate and do not cause unintended consequences.

System Impact: Consider the impact of your actions on the system. Some commands can affect system performance or stability, so use them with caution.

Parting Thoughts

CMD is handy when you want to move or copy files and directories. And, if you become an advanced user, learning from operating system courses, you will be using CMD for many more things. You can configure and customise system settings, including network configurations, user accounts, and services. Even for backup tasks, for copying files from damaged drives!

About the Author
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Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio