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Use Automatic Completion of Directory or Path for Command Prompt in Windows Vista

An old registry tip from Microsoft Technet articles that is very useful in everyday Geek computing.

If you open CMD and go to a directory, e.g. cd\windows, instead of typing the complete word "windows" type "win" + TAB. It will automatically search for the word and display the first value.

Registry Settings

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Command Processor

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor

Lets make some research:

By default HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive > CompletionChar value is 64 in decimal and 40 in hexadecimal

While in HKEY_CURRENT_USER hive settings: CompletionChar value in Hexadecimal and Decimal is 9

So, Which is being followed by the current Logon User?

CompletionChar = 9 by HKEY_CURRENT_USER

In which according to Microsoft Technet Articles, The Source of Registry Tips, hacks and Tricks in the Entire World!

The value 9 is the TAB key.

Therefore, By default you can use Tab Key for command line automatic completion of Path.


For example as shown in the picture above, going to c:\windows directory and typing "cd sys". By pressing Tab twice or more you can see the possible directories beginning with "sys". These are:

  • System
  • System32

You can also verify that by using the command: dir sys* /ad

Let's try another.

Open Command prompt as administrator (Start Search > "cmd" > CTRL+Enter)

cd \Win + (Tab Key) + \Pe + (Tab Key) + \w + (Tab Key) + \d + (Tab Key)

equals C:\Windows\Performance\WinSAT\DataStore>

To have an idea Please Read more here.

Note: You cannot use wordpad command because the default search Path for executables are


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