A command line is a semi-direct way of talking to your computer. It would take us too long to write in binary, so we write with command line functions which the computer translates into binary. A program on your computer communicates a different programming code, which converts to command line functions, which converts to binary.

Where to put your command lines

Three types are most common with servers. The least common is Mac OS X, which uses the Terminal. With Linux, you may access command line functions with either KDE or Gnome, which uses either Konsole or Terminal. Windows has its command line and command prompt to help, but some people use a secondary program to make command line functions a little easier to handle.

Get it right first time

As with most programming, you have to get it perfect for it to work. Not a single character can be out of place or missed otherwise the command line will not work when you try to activate it.

Indicating a command line

These symbols are just for the reader. If you are copying command functions then you do not need the symbol indicating a command line. For example, if you see one with a dollar sign at the beginning then you do not need that dollar sign.

Define the utility

It is possible to simply define a utility and that is it. They are commands on their own right and are often the gist of what you want.

Define the flag

The flag is what defines how the utility works. It is a little like an option that is applied to the utility.

Define the argument to the utility

An argument affects the utility. If there is no clear default setting then an argument is required. An argument may also be used to alter the command so that the utility does not take its default setting.

Windows command prompt

If you are not a programmer, or you have not started learning to programme then you may find a command prompt for Windows quite easy. This is also true if you used to have an Atari in the old days. You simply open up command prompts (also known as “run” or “MS-DOS” even though it is not MS-DOS). There are lists of commands you can find on the Internet in order to take direct control of your computer. They are especially handy if you have deleted shortcuts and want to find something again.

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Photo cred: Flickr / Travis Isaacs

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