The NOW command in Windows Command Prompt (CMD) is used to display the current system date and time. This command is particularly useful for scripting and logging purposes, where you need to mark events or actions with a timestamp without using additional software or complex scripting solutions.


The syntax for the NOW command is straightforward as it does not require any parameters:


When executed, it returns the current date and time in the format Thu 09/21/2023 14:55:36.91.


The NOW command does not have any options or flags. Its functionality is limited to displaying the current date and time only.


Example 1: Basic Usage
To display the current date and time, simply type the command:


Example 2: Using NOW in Batch Scripts
You can use NOW within a batch script to log when a particular action takes place:

@echo off
echo Action started at: > log.txt
NOW >> log.txt
rem Insert commands for the actions you want to perform here
echo Action completed at: >> log.txt
NOW >> log.txt

This script logs the start and end times of the action in a text file.

Common Issues

1. Accuracy: The NOW command outputs the system time, which is as accurate as your system clock. Ensure your system time is synchronized regularly.

2. Script Compatibility: In non-Windows environments, or older Windows versions, the NOW command might not be recognized. It’s recommended to check the compatibility of CMD commands when writing scripts intended for cross-platform use.


The NOW command can be used effectively with other CMD commands for more complex scripts. Here’s an example of using NOW alongside other commands:

@echo off
set LOGFILE=activity_%date:~-4,4%%date:~-7,2%%date:~-10,2%_%time:~0,2%%time:~3,2%.txt
echo Starting backup at: > %LOGFILE%
xcopy C:\data D:\backup /S /I >> %LOGFILE%
echo Backup completed at: >> %LOGFILE%

This script creates a detailed log file with timestamps, useful for backup activity logs.

  • DATE and TIME: These commands are used to display or set the system date and time, respectively.
  • TIMESTAMP: This script or function can be used in programming and scripting for more complex timestamp needs.
  • ECHO: Often used in conjunction with NOW to output text to the screen or a file.

For further reading and advanced command-line techniques, referring to the official Microsoft Windows CMD documentation is recommended.