Wildcards, Pipes, and Redirection

In addition to the various command-line parameters used by each of the commands documented in this chapter (and the components documented in other places in this book), certain symbols used on the command line have special meaning. Table 14-1 shows these special symbols and what they do. You must use them in conjunction with other commands (they don’t stand alone), and you can use them in the Command Prompt window, in Start → Run, and in an Address Bar.

Table 14-1. Special symbols on the command line

Symbol

Description

*

Multiple-character wildcard, used to specify a group of files.

?

Single-character wildcard, used to specify multiple files with more precision than *.

.

One dot represents the current directory; see "cd or chdir,” later in this chapter.

..

Two dots represent the parent directory; see "cd or chdir,” later in this chapter.

\

Separates directory names, drive letters, and filenames. By itself, \ represents the root directory of the current drive.

\\

Indicates a network location, such as \\Joe-PC for a PC connected to your current network.

>

Redirects a command’s text output into a file instead of the Console window; if that file exists, it will be overwritten.

>>

Appends a command’s text output to the end of a file instead of the Console window.

<

Directs the contents of a text file to a command’s input; use with filter programs (such as sort) or in place of keyboard entry to automate interactive command-line ...

Get Windows Vista in a Nutshell now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.