What is the difference between command.com and cmd.exe?

If you’ve been using the DOS prompt even only rarely, you still encountered two different ways of bringing it up in Windows XP: command.com and cmd.exe. You can open each of them by specifying: “cmd” and “command” in the Run application of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003.

In most of the cases when you need to use the command prompt, you’ll want to use cmd.exe, since this is the implementation of MS-DOS inside Windows XP, as a 32 bit application. It supports many other commands and features that command.com doesn’t support, such as pressing “Tab” to autoamtically complete a folder’s name, or using long folder and file names. The reason command.com is still included is for compatibility purposes with old 16 bit applications. This is the pure version of MS-DOS.

cmd.exe also has a shortcut in Start Menu -> Accessories -> Command Prompt if you prefer that rather than typing “cmd” in the Run window.

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