Author: Geek Computer
Thursday, February 2, 2023

How to change directories in Command Prompt on Windows 10 and 11

How to change directories in Command Prompt on Windows 10 and 11

If you are a Windows user, chances are you've heard of Command Prompt. It's an invaluable tool that allows you to interact with the system and perform tasks like running commands, opening files, and changing directories. This blog post will discuss using Command Prompt to change directories on Windows 10 and 11. We'll also cover some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Command Prompt. So if you're looking to take your Command Prompt skills to the next level, read on!

How to change directories in Command Prompt on Windows 10 and 11

What is a Directory?

A directory (or folder) is a collection of data or information stored together on a computer. The data can include documents, images, music files, and more. Directories can be organized hierarchically, making it easier to find information quickly.
A parent directory contains one or more subdirectories which can have further subdirectories inside them. This hierarchical structure makes organizing large amounts of data much more straightforward. To move between directories, you must use the cd command followed by the path of the directory you wish to access. For example, if you wanted to access the 'My Documents' folder located at C:\Users\YourName\Documents, you would type 'cd C:\Users\YourName\Documents' into Command Prompt. Of course, you must always specify the full path when using cd as it cannot navigate relative paths by itself.

Command Prompt Directory

The Command Prompt Directory, or CMD prompt for short, is a powerful but often overlooked tool for navigating directories on Windows. With just a few keystrokes, you can switch from one directory to another in no time at all. Several other valuable commands are associated with changing directories, which we will discuss later in the article.

How to change directories in Command Prompt on Windows 10 and 11

3 Ways to change directories in Command Prompt

Using the 'cd' command

Using the 'cd' command to change your directory in Command Prompt (CMD) on Windows 10 or 11 is quick and easy. You can start by opening the Command Prompt window. To do this, click the Start button, type 'cmd' in the search bar, and press Enter. The path of the current folder you are working in will appear. To switch to another folder, you need to use the 'cd' command, which stands for 'change directory.' To access a specific folder, type 'cd' followed by the folder's name. For example, if you wish to enter the Downloads folder, type 'cd Downloads.' Once you press Enter, the Comand Prompt window will move to that folder.

How to change directories in Command Prompt on Windows 10 and 11

Changing directories by changing the drive in CMD

Another way to change directories is by changing the drive. To switch to a different purpose in Command Prompt, first, use the 'CD' command to ascend one manual. To do so, type in 'cd ..' This will bring you to the root level. After this, you can enter 'c:' or 'd:,' depending on which drive you to wish to switch. For example, you can view all folders in the drive by typing in 'dir' or 'ls.' To move into a specific folder, type in 'cd' followed by the folder's name. For instance, to move into a folder named 'Pictures,' type in 'cd Pictures.' After you complete it, you should be in the desired directory.

How to change directories in Command Prompt on Windows 10 and 11

Change directories in CMD by dragging the folder

Changing directories by dragging and dropping is one of the easiest and fastest ways to navigate Command Prompt. Please make sure you always double-check that you are indeed in the correct directory before running any commands. To start, please ensure the folder you want to navigate is open. 

  1. Go to the address bar of that folder and select the full path. For example, if you tried to navigate to the 'C:\Users\User\Documents' folder, you would like 'C:\Users\User\Documents' from the address bar.
  2. Once you have selected the full path of the folder, drag and drop it into your CMD window; the folder path should automatically be copied and pasted into your command prompt window.
  3. You can type 'cd' and press enter to change the directory. For example, you should now be navigated to the folder you dragged and dropped into the command prompt window.
  4. It is important to note that this method only changes directories on the same drive letter. For example, if you are currently in the 'C:\Users' directory and you drag a folder from 'D:\Downloads' into your CMD window, you won't be able to change directories. Instead, you must manually change drives by typing 'D:' and pressing enter

Other Ways to Open Command Prompt (CMD)

Apart from the classic technique of opening Command Prompt in Windows 10 and 11, there are other, more efficient ways to launch the command line tool quickly. For example, you'll be able to choose the best one based on your needs.

  1. Via Windows Search Bar: This is the most effortless method to open Command Prompt; type "cmd" into the search bar, and then click on the correct result.
  2. Using the Run Window: This is another effortless method. To open the command line tool using this technique, press Windows + R, type "cmd" in the window that appears, and you're good to go.
  3.  Using Task Manager: If you want to open CMD with administrative privileges, you can do so by opening Task Manager (right-click on the Start Menu and select Task Manager). Then, click File > Run new task, type "cmd," check the box next to "Create this task with administrative privileges," and hit OK.
  4. Using PowerShell: PowerShell is an advanced scripting language, with the help of which you can launch Command Prompt. To launch CMD with PowerShell, open the PowerShell window and type "Start-Process cmd."
  5. Using File Explorer: You can also open Command Prompt directly from File Explorer. Open File Explorer, navigate to the folder where you want to open CMD, right-click on the space in the folder, select Open Command Prompt, and the command line interface will open in that directory.

These are some of the best approaches to launch Command Prompt in Windows 10 and 11; give them a go and see which one fits your requirements!

How to change directories in Command Prompt on Windows 10 and 11

Other useful commands associated with changing directories

Changing directories is a fundamental part of utilizing the command line, and to help with this task, a variety of commands are available besides the essential 'cd.' These other commands are designed to make navigation of the file system even more straightforward. For example, they can be used to rapidly switch between directories without having to enter each directory path manually. Examples of these useful commands include the "dir" and "ls" commands, as well as the "push" command.

The "dir" command is used to switch the current directory; for instance, if you need to move to the folder "documents," you can use the power "dir documents." Alternatively, the order "dir .." is useful when quickly navigating one level in the directory structure.

The "ls" command is another popular choice when changing directories and stands for "list." This command can be used to view the files and folders within the current directory, and by not including any options, it will provide a listing of all of the files and guides along with related information such as permissions, size, and modification time, which is sorted alphabetically by default. Specifying specific options to filter and sort the results differently is also possible.

The "push" command also makes navigation more accessible, enabling a switch from one directory to another in the file system. This command is comparable to the "cd" command; however, it "pushes" the current working directory onto a stack, meaning you can return to the original directory without manually typing the path. To use this command, enter "pushed," followed by the new guide.


Q: How do you use a straightforward Command Prompt?
Type cls and press Enter to clear the command window. Removing the command prompt window is a helpful trick if the window is getting too full or if an error message keeps reappearing.

Q: What is the command to list files in a directory? The power is dir followed by a directory path. For example, dir C:\Windows\System32 will list all of the files in the System32 directory located in the Windows directory of your hard drive. If you don't provide a directory path, it will list the files in the current working directory. Additionally, the /B parameter can display the raw format, which will only list the filenames instead of additional information.

Q: Is there a way to go up one level in the directory hierarchy? Yes, the command cd .. can move up one level in the directory structure. Similarly, cd\ can be used to go back to the root directory of your hard drive.

Q: Can you use copy/paste in Command Prompt?
Absolutely! You can right-click inside the Command Prompt window to paste and select text with the mouse. Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V are keyboard shortcuts that quickly copy and paste text within the window. This can be incredibly useful when entering a long directory path for a command or running multiple orders with similar parameters. It's also possible to drag & drop text from other windows into the Command Prompt window. Finally, some introductory text editing tools are available, including undo (Ctrl + Z), select all (Ctrl + A), and find (Ctrl + F).

How to change directories in Command Prompt on Windows 10 and 11

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