Developer(s)DEC, DR, Intel, Cromemco, MetaComCo, Microsoft, IBM, Datalight, ICD, Inc.
Operating systemCP/M, MP/M, ISIS-II, iRMX 86, CDOS, TRIPOS, DOS, MSX-DOS, SISNE plus, 4690 OS, PC-MOS, OS/2, Windows, Singularity, ReactOS, AROS, VMS, RT-11, RSX-11, OS/8
LicenseCP/M, MP/M: BSD-like
PC-MOS: GPL-3.0-only
ReactOS: GPL

In computing, dir (directory) is a command in various computer operating systems used for computer file and directory listing.[1] It is one of the basic commands to help navigate the file system. The command is usually implemented as an internal command in the command-line interpreter (shell). On some systems, a more graphical representation of the directory structure can be displayed using the tree command.


Screenshot showing the "Abort, Retry, Fail?" prompt on MS-DOS.

The command is available in the command-line interface (CLI) of the operating systems Digital Research CP/M,[2] MP/M,[3] Intel ISIS-II,[4] iRMX 86,[5] Cromemco CDOS,[6] MetaComCo TRIPOS,[7] DOS, IBM/Toshiba 4690 OS,[8] IBM OS/2,[9] Microsoft Windows,[10] Singularity, Datalight ROM-DOS,[11] ReactOS,[12] GNU,[13] AROS[14] and in the DCL command-line interface used on DEC VMS, RT-11 and RSX-11. It is also supplied with OS/8 as a CUSP (Commonly-Used System Program).

The dir command is supported by Tim Paterson's SCP 86-DOS.[15] On MS-DOS, the command is available in versions 1 and later.[16] It is also available in the open source MS-DOS emulator DOSBox. MS-DOS prompts "Abort, Retry, Fail?" after being commanded to list a directory with no diskette in the drive.

The numerical computing environments MATLAB and GNU Octave include a dir function with similar functionality.[17][18]


CP/M 3.0 directory listing on a Commodore 128 home computer.
Directory listing on SCP running on a robotron PC 1715.
Directory listing on CP/J 2.21 running on an Elwro 804 Junior.
Microsoft Windows Command Prompt showing a directory listing.

DOS, Windows, ReactOS

List all files and directories in the current working directory.


List any text files and batch files (filename extension ".txt" or ".bat").

C:\Users>dir *.txt *.bat

Recursively list all files and directories in the specified directory and any subdirectories, in wide format, pausing after each screen of output. The directory name is enclosed in double-quotes, to prevent it from being interpreted is as two separate command-line options because it contains a whitespace character.

C:\Users>dir /s /w /p "C:\Users\johndoe\My Documents"

List any NTFS junction points:

C:\Users>dir /ash
Volume in drive C is OS.
Volume Serial Number is xxxx-xxxx
Directory of C:\Users
12/07/2019  02:30 AM    <SYMLINKD>     All Users [C:\ProgramData]
12/07/2019  02:30 AM    <JUNCTION>     Default User [C:\Users\Default]
12/07/2019  02:12 AM               174 desktop.ini
              1 File(s)            174 bytes
              2 Dir(s)  332,659,789,824 bytes free


dir is not a Unix command; Unix has the analogous ls command instead. The GNU operating system, however, has a dir command that "is equivalent to ls -C -b; that is, by default files are listed in columns, sorted vertically, and special characters are represented by backslash escape sequences".[19] Actually, for compatibility reasons, ls produces device-dependent output. The dir instruction, unlike ls -Cb, produces device-independent output.

See also


  1. ^ Rügheimer, Hannes; Spanik, Christian (October 22, 1988). AmigaDOS quick reference. Grand Rapids, Mi : Abacus. ISBN 9781557550491 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ "Operating manual" (PDF). cpm.z80.de. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  3. ^ Digital Research (1981-09-25). MP/M-86 Operating System - User's Guide (PDF) (1 ed.). Pacific Grove, CA, USA: Digital Research. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-01-04. Retrieved 2017-01-04.
  4. ^ ISIS II Users Guide
  7. ^ "Introduction to Tripos" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ "JaTomes Help - OS/2 Commands". www.jatomes.com. Archived from the original on 2019-04-14. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
  10. ^ "MS-DOS and Windows command line dir command". www.computerhope.com.
  11. ^ "Datalight ROM-DOS User's Guide" (PDF). www.datalight.com.
  12. ^ "GitHub - reactos/reactos: A free Windows-compatible Operating System". October 22, 2019 – via GitHub.
  13. ^ "GNU Coreutils Manual". Free Software Foundation.
  14. ^ "AROS Research Operating System". aros.sourceforge.net.
  15. ^ 86-DOS - Disk Operating System for the 8086 - User's Manual (PDF). Version 0.3 (Preliminary ed.). Seattle, Washington, USA: Seattle Computer Products, Inc. 1980. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-07-14. Retrieved 2019-07-14. (59 pages)
  16. ^ Wolverton, Van (2003). Running MS-DOS Version 6.22 (20th Anniversary Edition), 6th Revised edition. Microsoft Press. ISBN 0-7356-1812-7.
  17. ^ "List folder contents - MATLAB dir". www.mathworks.com.
  18. ^ "Function Reference: dir". octave.sourceforge.io.
  19. ^ dir invocation (GNU coreutils) at www.gnu.org

Further reading