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Execute DOS command and return output

For platform-independent code, use the system command.



[status,cmdout] = dos(command) calls the operating system to execute the specified command and returns the output of the DOS command to cmdout.

For more examples, tips, and information about limitations, see system.


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Display the current folder using the cd command. A status of zero indicates that the command completed successfully. MATLAB® returns a character vector containing the current folder in cmdout.

command = 'cd';
[status,cmdout] = dos(command)

Input Arguments

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Operating system command, specified as a string or a character vector. The command can be a Windows® UI program that opens a user interface, or a DOS console command that you typically run in a DOS command window. The command executes in a DOS shell, which might not be the shell from which you started MATLAB.

Example: 'dir'

Output Arguments

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Command exit status, returned as either 0 or a nonzero integer. When the command is successful, status is 0. Otherwise, status is a nonzero integer.

  • If command includes the ampersand character (&), then status is the exit status when command starts

  • If command does not include the ampersand character (&), then status is the exit status upon command completion.

Output of the operating system command, returned as a character vector. The system shell might not properly represent non-Unicode® characters.

Version History

Introduced before R2006a