How to change directory in CMD (command prompt)

What there is to know

  • Type ordered in the Windows 10 or Windows 11 search bar to open the command prompt.
  • Type CD followed by a space, then drag the folder or type the folder name in the command prompt.
  • Check that your syntax is correct if directory changes don’t work.

This article teaches you two different methods to change directory in command prompt in Windows 10 and Windows 11. It also teaches you what to do if you are unable to change directory.

How to Open Command Prompt in Windows 10 and 11

Before you can navigate the command prompt in Windows 10 and 11, it helps to know how to open the command prompt. Here’s how.

  1. In the Windows 10 or 11 search bar, type ordered.

  2. Select Open or click Execute as administrator to open the command prompt with full access rights to do whatever you need to do.

How to change directory in command prompt?

Changing directories in the command prompt can be a lot easier than you think. Here is a method to do it. This method works on both Windows 10 and Windows 11.

  1. Type CD followed by a space in the command prompt window.

  2. Drag and drop the folder you want to browse into the window.

  3. Hurry Walk in.

How to access a folder in command prompt?

If drag-and-drop isn’t convenient or accessible, or you prefer to type your commands, there’s another way to navigate to a folder quite easily in the command prompt. Here’s how to do it in Windows 10 and 11.

You will need to know the name of the directory.

  1. In the command prompt window, type CD followed by the name of the folder you want to search.

    This only works for immediate folders right after the one you are in.

  2. Otherwise, type cd namename go down two levels of documents at a time. For instance: cd AdminDownloads

  3. If you want to go back one directory, type CD.. to go back one level before typing cd to return to the original option.

    If you feel lost in the directory, type dir and press Enter to display the contents of the directory you are in.

Why can’t I change directory in CMD?

If you can’t change directories in the command prompt, you might be doing something wrong or your permissions aren’t set correctly. Here are a few things to keep in mind that should make switching directories easier again.

  • Check that you are typing the correct command. Be sure to start your command by typing cd. You may have typed something wrong or typed too many characters. Be sure to be precise in your use of syntax.
  • Check that the directory exists. Verify that the directory you are trying to navigate to exists; otherwise your command will not work. Type dir to check the contents of a folder.
  • Check that you are browsing the correct hard drive. If more than one hard drive is installed, check that you are browsing the correct one. Change hard drive by typing X: where X is the hard drive letter.
  • Check that you have administrator permissions. Make sure you are running the command prompt as an administrator; otherwise, you might be limited in what you can do.


  • What is Command Prompt?

    It is a command line interpreter program available on all Windows PCs. It is often used to perform more advanced administrative functions or to troubleshoot a problem. The commands you can use depend on the version of Windows you have.

  • How to clear the command prompt?

    Type CL and press Enter. This erases any previous commands you entered.

  • Can I use copy/paste in the command prompt?

    Yes, but you need to activate it first. Open the command prompt, right-click on the top bar and select Properties. Under Change options, check the box next to Use Ctrl+Shift+C/V as Copy/Paste.

  • What is an elevated command prompt?

    Specific commands require an elevated command prompt to run. You’ll know you need it if you get an error message saying you don’t have enough privileges or need admin-level access. To elevate the command prompt, run it as administrator.

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