Common Commodore 64 commands

People frequently ask me for a list of common or useful Commodore 64 commands, including disk drive commands. Since the C-64’s built in operating system is more of a combination command line/Basic interpreter, it takes some getting used to if you didn’t grow up with it.

These commands assume a stock, unmodified C-64, freshly powered on. Many fast-load cartridges, ROM replacements, or so-called DOS wedge programs include shortcuts for these commands. But these commands work on any C-64 with a disk drive, modified or stock.

LOAD “$”,8 – get the disk directory. Follow up with LIST to see. This is the equivalent of the DOS dir command or Unix ls command. Some people type LOAD “$”,8,1 but this is unnecessary.

LOAD “*”,8,1 – load the first file on the disk. I’ve talked about this command in depth too.

LOAD “filename”,8 – load a Basic program. Use the command RUN to execute after it finishes loading.

LOAD “filename”,8,1 – load a machine language program. It may auto-run or you may need a SYS command to launch it.

LIST – list the Basic program in memory. Hit RUN STOP to stop the listing before the end. Hold the CTRL key to slow the listing down.

NEW – erase the Basic program in memory.

SAVE “filename”,8 – save a Basic program to disk.

OPEN 15,8,15,”N0:DISK,I64″:CLOSE 15 – format (erase) the disk in drive 8.

OPEN 15,8,15,”N0:DISK”:CLOSE 15 – fast format the disk in drive 8. This only zeroes out the directory track.

OPEN 15,8,15,”I0:”:CLOSE 15 – Initialize the drive. This is non-destructive to the disk and helps when a drive is misbehaving.

OPEN 15,8,15,”S0:filename”:CLOSE 15 – Scratch (erase) a file from the disk.

RUN STOP-RESTORE key combination – end whatever program is running and return you to Basic’s Ready prompt.

SYS 64738 – soft reset.

OPEN 4,4 : CMD 4 – redirect screen output to the printer. Follow with LIST to print a program or directory listing. CLOSE 4 to exit this mode.

Note that these commands assume a single disk drive. Commodore disk drives typically use device numbers 8-11. 8 is the default. Substitute the number 9 in these commands where you see the number 8 to use a second drive.

If you need help connecting disk drives, here’s how.

That wraps up my list of common Commodore 64 commands. Many of them, as you can see, are disk drive commands. If I missed your favorite command, please feel free to mention it in the comments.

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