What is Command Prompt (cmd.exe)?
The command prompt (cmd.exe) is a native Windows application designed to act as a command line interpreter. It was created by Microsoft for OS / 2, Windows CE, and Windows NT-based operating systems, including Windows 2000, XP, and currently Windows 8, as well as various server versions of Windows. It is not a DOS program, but a real executable application. As the name suggests, the command prompt is used to issue various commands to the system such as file management commands such as copy and delete. It also acts as a user interface.
The command prompt is one of the most powerful tools within the Windows operating system. It allows users to do almost anything that a GUI can do, but simply in words. You can copy, move, and delete files, and even create undeletable folders. The command prompt used to be the only way to interact with the computer. Hence, a simple instruction set with a rigid syntax was used to get the system to do something. This made it practically 'foolproof', although difficult to use even without experience and knowledge.
The command prompt is accessed by typing 'cmd' in the search bar of the start menu of modern Windows operating systems (Vista and higher) or the 'run' bar of the older ones (XP and earlier). You can also create a shortcut from the system directory, which is usually located under 'C: Windows System32' for the standard Windows installation paths.