Windows is the brand name for a series of operating systems from Microsoft. Instead of tagging a post "Windows", try to use a more specific tag, like windows-7, windows-xp or windows-server-2008-r2 .

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260
votes
15answers
187k views

How do you find what process is holding a file open in Windows?

One thing that annoys me no end about Windows is the old "sharing violation" error. Often you can't identify what's holding it open. Usually it's just an editor or explorer just pointing to a relevant ...
191
votes
18answers
232k views

How do I tell Git for Windows where to find my private RSA key?

My GIT setup runs fine in Linux, but when I try to set things up under Windows (using Git for Windows and TortoiseGit), I don't know where to put my private ssh key (or, better still, how to tell ssh ...
126
votes
4answers
4k views

Is my password compromised because I forgot to hit Enter after ssh username?

I've just tried logging into a Fedora (release 13 Goddard) server using SSH (PuTTY, Windows). For some reason the Enter after typing my username didn't go through and I typed in my password and hit ...
89
votes
8answers
148k views

Run a .bat file in a scheduled task without a window

I have a scheduled task that starts a batch script that runs robocopy every hour. Every time it runs a window pops up on the desktop with robocopy's output, which I don't really want to see. I ...
87
votes
2answers
148k views

What is Active Directory Domain Services and how does it work?

This is a Canonical Question about Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS). What is Active Directory? What does it do and how does it work? How is Active Directory organized: Forest, Child ...
86
votes
7answers
21k views

How does CTRL-ALT-DEL to log in make Windows more secure?

When logging into Windows, it says on that page that CTRL-ALT-DEL somehow makes Windows more secure. I have never been able to figure a mechanism where having to press some specific key combination ...
85
votes
10answers
243k views

What's the command-line utility in Windows to do a reverse DNS look-up?

Is there a built-in command line tool that will do reverse DNS look-ups in Windows? I.e., something like <toolname> w.x.y.z => mycomputername I've tried: nslookup: seems to be forward ...
78
votes
5answers
203k views

Does Windows have a built-in ZIP command for the command line?

Since Windows Explorer (since at least Windows XP) has some basic support for ZIP files, it seems like there should be a command-line equivalent, but I can't seem to find any sign of one. Does ...
77
votes
10answers
138k views

How to refresh hosts file without rebooting

On Windows, how do you refresh the hosts file without rebooting?
74
votes
8answers
111k views

How do I create a symbolic link in Windows?

Windows Vista added the ability to create symbolic links to files and directories. How do I create a symbolic link and what are the current consumer and server versions of Windows that support it?
69
votes
6answers
135k views

Boot and Install Windows from a USB thumb drive

Installing Windows from a thumb drive is vastly superior to burning a copy to a DVD which will fill some landfill somewhere with toxic stuff. Not to mention it's about 50x faster to install Windows ...
65
votes
10answers
99k views

How do you add a Windows environment variable without rebooting?

This is probably an easy answer, but I have never been able to find it by googling. I simply would like to add an Environment variable to a Windows machine (desktop or server) and be able to use it ...
62
votes
2answers
87k views

How to Configure Windows Machine to Allow File Sharing with DNS Alias

What process is necessary to configure a Windows environement to allow me to use DNS CNAME to reference servers? I want to do this so that I can name my servers something like SRV001, but still have ...
58
votes
9answers
343k views

Command line to list users in a Windows Active Directory group?

Is there a command line way to list all the users in a particular Active Directory group? I can see who is in the group by going to Manage Computer --> Local User / Groups --> Groups and double ...
55
votes
6answers
456k views

How to determine the hostname from an IP address in a Windows network?

My LAN has 50 Windows hosts. At the Windows command line I try ping to get the IP address of a running Windows machine. The question is how to get hostname of a specific IP address in the same ...
54
votes
3answers
63k views

How to add dependency on a Windows Service AFTER the service is installed

I have a Windows Service that makes use of a SQL Server database. I don't have control over the installation of the service, but would like to add a dependency on the service to ensure that it starts ...
52
votes
9answers
68k views

What's the best way to move c:\users to d:\users under vista/W7 [closed]

I just installed Windows 7 RC1 and want to move c:\users to d:\users. What's the best way to do this? Due to the fact that Windows 7 creates a reserved partition that is mounted as C: in the ...
52
votes
2answers
301k views

How to check if a port is blocked on a Windows machine?

On the Windows platform, what native options to I have to check if a port (3306, for example) on my local machine (as in localhost), is being blocked?
49
votes
11answers
4k views

Good reasons to keep 32-bit Microsoft Windows desktop OSes

Server software has been 64-bit only for a while now (Since Server 2008 R2 for Windows, even earlier for Exchange and Sharepoint) and even Ubuntu are pushing you away from 32-bit versions for their ...
45
votes
18answers
44k views

Why hasn't rsync caught on in the Windows world? [closed]

It seems that rsync is the de-facto standard for efficient file backup and sync in Unix/Linux. Does anyone have any thoughts on why it wouldn't have caught on in the Windows world? Why hasn't it ...
44
votes
7answers
43k views

What is the Windows equivalent of Unix “whoami” command?

Is there a Windows equivalent of Unix "whoami" command? If so, what is it?
41
votes
22answers
15k views

PowerShell? Do you use it? Can you show me some cool system administration things I can do with it? [closed]

I keep reading everywhere that PowerShell is the way of the future. When it was first released I did a whole bunch of virtual labs, but since then I still haven't used it in a production environment. ...
41
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I install the JRE on a Windows server without Oracle adware?

I would like to install Java on one of our servers, but I am reticent due to Oracle's bundling of an Ask.com toolbar and some virus scanner. I've read that the java updater even installs these for ...
40
votes
6answers
26k views

Where can I find data stored by a Windows Service running as “Local System Account”?

I'm using a service which stores data on disk. The service is running as "local system account". Where is the stored data for that system user? I'm thinking about C:\Documents and Settings\Default ...
38
votes
6answers
115k views

How can I tell what version of IIS is installed?

I've got a box running Win2k3 and some directions from Microsoft KB about SSL certificates, for IIS 5.0 and 6.0. How can I tell which version of IIS is currently installed?
38
votes
7answers
36k views

How do I diff two text files in Windows Powershell?

I have two text files and want to find the differences between them using Windows Powershell. Is there something similar to the Unix diff tool available? Or is there another other way I haven't ...
36
votes
3answers
82k views

How to sleep in a batch file?

How to pause execution for a while in a Windows batch file between a command and the next one?
36
votes
3answers
45k views

How can I connect to a Windows server using a Command Line Interface? (CLI)

Especially with the option to install Server Core in Server 2008 and above, connecting to Windows servers over a CLI is increasingly useful ability, if not one that's very widespread amongst Windows ...
36
votes
11answers
28k views

Ban IP address based on X number of unsuccessful login attempts?

Is it possible to ban an IP address after X number of unsuccessful login attempts to a Windows Server? Not to a particular account, which I know how to do, but to the whole machine. We get hit pretty ...
35
votes
5answers
5k views

Windows TCP Window Scaling Hitting plateau too early

Scenario: We have a number of Windows clients regularly uploading large files (FTP/SVN/HTTP PUT/SCP) to Linux servers that are ~100-160ms away. We have 1Gbit/s synchronous bandwidth at the office and ...
34
votes
14answers
30k views

How to monitor a windows log file in real time? [closed]

There is a already question that asks about opening a large log files. But my intention is different. Is there any application that monitors a log file and updates as it is updated in real time? ...
34
votes
4answers
75k views

How do I grant start/stop/restart permissions on a service to an arbitrary user or group on a non-domain-member server?

We have a suite of Windows Services running on our servers which perform a bunch of automated tasks independently of one another, with the exception of one service which looks after the other ...
32
votes
4answers
16k views

Windows Server unable to synchronize NTP time reliably

Why does Windows Server (2008, in this case, but I've seen the same problem in 2003) seem to have problem synchronizing time? I've seen this error in my System log across a variety of servers: The ...
31
votes
5answers
27k views

Windows Active Directory naming best practices?

After experimenting with Windows domains and domain controllers in a virtual environment, I've realized that having an active directory domain named identically to a DNS domain is bad idea (Meaning ...
31
votes
6answers
180k views

In Windows, using the command line, how do you check if a remote port is open?

What is a simple way in Windows to test if traffic gets through to a specific port on a remote machine?
30
votes
4answers
27k views

How to convert line breaks in a text file between the Windows and Unix/Linux formats?

How do I convert line breaks in a text file between the Windows and Unix/Linux formats? I have a *nix environment, but that I need to import and export data with the Windows-style line breaks. I ...
30
votes
7answers
47k views

On IIS, how do I patch the SSL 3.0 POODLE vulnerability (CVE­-2014­-3566)?

How do I patch CVE­-2014­-3566 on a Windows Server 2012 system running IIS? Is there a patch in Windows Update, or do I have to do a registry change to disable SSL 3.0?
30
votes
1answer
3k views

Why does computer name change require a reboot in Windows?

I understand that changing the host name/computer name for a Windows based machine (Client or Server) requires a reboot. I realize that once a computer name is changed, a pending machine name is ...
30
votes
6answers
2k views

Should I install Windows Management Framework 3.0?

I'm posting this as a BIG CAVEAT to everyone. I know it's not a standard Q&A, but I think this is something every Windows admin should know. There is a very real risk of falling into Big ...
30
votes
14answers
66k views

Why does “Loading your personal settings” take forever?

I have come across dozens of user installations of Windows (XP) where, after logging in, the system stays stuck on this screen for a very long time. What are the possible causes? How can I diagnose ...
29
votes
6answers
3k views

What are .DS_Store files and why does OSX leave them on Windows shares?

Whenever I access windows shares from OSX 10.5 it leaves .DS_Store files on the remote filesystem. What are they used for, and are they necessary, and can they be prevented from being created?
29
votes
2answers
69k views

What are windows 7 N/KN/VL editions?

We're subscribed to MSDN at work and I've noticed that among the various windows "editions" there are downloads such as "Windows 7 Ultimate N" and "Windows 7 Ultimate N and KN". What are these ...
29
votes
9answers
19k views

Best way to fully update a new installed Windows?

I am wondering, what is the best way to automatically update a new installation of Windows (Windows 7)? When I manually update a new install of Windows 7 SP1, I get about 45 updates. Installing ...
28
votes
12answers
15k views

Do I really need MS Active Directory?

I manage a shop of arround 30 machines and 2 terminal servers (one production, one standby.) Should I really deploy Active Directory in our network? Are there any really benefits, that could ballance ...
28
votes
2answers
1k views

Why can a and o in samAccountName be replaced with danish å and ø?

A coworker just demonstrated to me that accounts in our test AD was able to authenticate when replacing every a character in their samAccountName with Danish character å (ASCII 134 / å). E.g. ...
28
votes
7answers
37k views

How can you know what is w3wp.exe doing? (or how to diagnose a performance problem)

I'm having a performance problem in a site we've made, and I'm not exactly sure how to start diagnosing it. The short description is: We have a very small site (http://hearablog.com) with very little ...
28
votes
3answers
88k views

Mount Remote CIFS/SMB Share as a Folder not a Drive Letter

Is there any way to mount a remote CIFS/SMB/SAMBA share as a folder/directory and not as a drive letter. For example, I want this map: \\Server\ShareName -> C:\Folder\ShareName Instead of the usual ...
27
votes
7answers
2k views

What's the maximum theoretical data transfer throughput of NTFS?

Recently I was at a local user group meeting where the presenter noted that the maximum throughput of the NTFS IO stack was 1 GBps. He substantiated his claim by simultaneously copying two large files ...
27
votes
5answers
19k views

swap partition vs file for performance?

What is better for performance? A partition closer to the inside of the disk will have slower access times, and we must wait for the drive to switch between the OS and swap partitions. On the other ...
27
votes
3answers
37k views

Windows equivalent of iptables?

Dumb question: Is there an equivalent of iptables on Windows? Could I install one via cygwin? The real question: how can I accomplish on Windows what I can accomplish via iptables? Just looking for ...