May 2004 Reader Challenge

The Problem:

At a recent Sunday afternoon party, I ran into a neighbor who's an IT administrator at a large company. As we devoured crabs and shared a pitcher of beer, he told me he'd spent several frustrating hours that week renaming more than 100 files on the accounting department's file server. Apparently the files had been updated to reflect 2003 information, but the filenames hadn't been changed--they all had "02" in the names. He opened Windows Explorer and moved through the folder and its subfolders, pressing F2 and typing the new filename, one file at a time. The files were originally named Q102PL.doc (for first quarter profit and loss), Q102BS.doc (for first quarter balance sheet), YE02PL (for year-end profit and loss), and so on. There were files for each quarter, for each type of record (e.g., profit and loss, balance sheet, accounts receivable/payable, budget).

"What a frustrating waste of time," I commiserated. "It's a shame you're not as old as I am, because I could have renamed all the files in each folder in about five seconds. I've often thought I should write a book about MS-DOS for administrators, because most of you are so young you never had to learn DOS."

How much do you know about using MS-DOS? Answer the following questions correctly to be eligible for a prize.

Question 1
Given the filename examples I just described, enter the MS-DOS command that will update all the filenames in the current folder from 02 to 03.

Question 2
The commands you enter while you're working in a MS-DOS session are memorized so you can recall and reuse them. Which of the following programs performs this memorization:

A. dosmem.exe
B. doskey.exe
D. all of the above

Question 3
True or False: You can copy, cut, and paste text from a command window.

The Solution:

1. ren ??02??.doc ??03??.doc
2. B
3. False. You can only copy and paste.

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