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Syntax conventions

Syntax refers to the way a command and parameters must be entered. Unless specified otherwise, enter commands, parameters, and switches in all uppercase or all lowercase letters.

Sample syntax line:


Command element



Specifies the name of the command.

[ ]

Indicates a component of the command line. Enter only the information within the brackets, not the brackets themselves.

/ or -

Indicates a command line switch for executable files.


Specifies the name of the hard disk drive, diskette drive, or other storage device.


Specifies the route the operating system must follow through the directory structure to locate a directory or file. A path and file name must be specified only if the file is not in the current directory.


This document uses uppercase file names. A device name or a drive letter cannot be specified for a file name.


Indicates that the previous parameter or switch can be repeated several times in a command. Enter only the information, not the ellipsis (…) itself.

In this document, the length of an example command or syntax might require it to continue on another line. When this happens, the second line (and any additional lines) is indented under the first line.

Placeholder items used in the syntax lines in this chapter include: