July 11, 2011

Enabling Automatic File and Folder Name Completion in the DOS Command Prompt

This is one of those simple little tweaks that just comes in handy if you’re a system administrator and have to spend any amount of time working with DOS command prompts.  Not many people are aware that the DOS command prompt has automatic file and folder name completion capabilities.  Unfortunately for some strange reason auto completion is turned off by default. 

To enable auto completion on an individual command prompt window, use the /f switch.  In the Start -> Search box type “cmd /f:on”.   Now you can use Ctrl-F for automatic file name completion and Ctrl-D for automatic folder name completion in the individual command prompt window.

To enable automatic name completion all of the time for all DOS command prompt windows without having to type the /f switch simply modify the following registry keys:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Command Processor]

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Command Processor]
For you convenience a registry file with the above tweaks can be downloaded here.

Using these registry keys you can also change the default key strokes used for auto completion.  By default Ctrl-F or hexadecimal value 06 is used for the file name completion; Ctrl-D or hex value 04 is for folder completion.  Simply change the hex values to whatever key stroke combination you would rather use.  For a list of hexadecimal values look here.

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