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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333
votes
15answers
298k 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 ...
301
votes
23answers
431k 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 ...
282
votes
160answers
215k views

Useful Command-line Commands on Windows

The aim for this Wiki is to promote using a command to open up commonly used applications without having to go through many mouse clicks - thus saving time on monitoring and troubleshooting Windows ...
150
votes
10answers
414k 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 ...
134
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
109
votes
6answers
160k 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 ...
107
votes
11answers
199k 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 ...
107
votes
2answers
195k 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 Domain, ...
105
votes
10answers
202k views

How to refresh hosts file without rebooting

On Windows, how do you refresh the hosts file without rebooting?
103
votes
7answers
26k 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 ...
101
votes
8answers
17k views

Best practice: Should I always install a fresh OS for new employees?

I had an argument with a superior about this. Though at first glance the prior user of a laptop only did work in his own documents-folders, should I always install a new OS for the next user or is ...
93
votes
5answers
259k 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 ...
91
votes
8answers
138k 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?
82
votes
9answers
515k 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 ...
80
votes
6answers
157k 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 ...
77
votes
3answers
164k 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?
76
votes
16answers
58k views

Alternatives to Splunk?

I'm pretty impressed with Splunk, especially version 4. Pretty graphs, alerting (Enterprise only), and fast, accurate, searching. It's a great product. However, the cost just way too high to consider ...
75
votes
3answers
101k 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 ...
72
votes
2answers
112k 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 \...
64
votes
6answers
498k 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 ...
63
votes
18answers
71k 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 ...
61
votes
9answers
115k views

hosts file ignored, how to troubleshoot?

The hosts file on Windows computers is used to bind certain name strings to specific IP addresses to override other name resolution methods. Often, one decides to change the hosts file, and discovers ...
61
votes
3answers
426k 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?
58
votes
3answers
6k views

Is a VM with 2 CPUs really faster than one with 4 CPUs?

Our IT created a VM with 2 CPUs allocated rather than the 4 I requested. Their reason is that the VM performs better with 2 CPUs rather than 4 (according to them). The rationale is that the VM ...
56
votes
4answers
59k 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 ...
56
votes
6answers
44k 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 ...
55
votes
9answers
85k 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 ...
53
votes
50answers
10k views

Tools a Windows administrator cannot live without

As a Windows administrator, what tools do you feel you cannot live without?
53
votes
3answers
112k 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 ...
52
votes
8answers
56k 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 ...
52
votes
7answers
60k views

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

Is there a Windows equivalent of Unix "whoami" command? If so, what is it?
50
votes
11answers
5k 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 ...
49
votes
6answers
293k 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?
48
votes
10answers
151k 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?
47
votes
16answers
117k views

64-bit Cisco VPN client (IPsec)?

Cisco VPN client (IPsec) does not support 64bit Windows. Worse, Cisco does not even plan to release a 64-bit version, instead they say that "For x64 (64-bit) Windows support, you must utilize Cisco's ...
45
votes
5answers
107k 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 services....
44
votes
8answers
79k 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?
44
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
44
votes
2answers
124k 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 ...
42
votes
14answers
41k 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? ...
42
votes
22answers
17k 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. ...
42
votes
9answers
19k 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 ...
41
votes
17answers
80k views

Best Free ISO Mounting Software for Windows [closed]

What do you find as the best ISO / disk image mounting software out there? You can give a nod to $$$ alternatives, but I'm looking for the best freeware and support for DVD-size images as well. EDIT ...
41
votes
12answers
38k 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 ...
40
votes
5answers
61k views

How to send ctrl+alt+del using Remote Desktop?

How can I send ctrl+alt+del to a remote computer over Remote Desktop? For example, if I wanted to change the local admin password on a remote PC using a Remote Desktop connection, it would be helpful ...
39
votes
2answers
104k views

How to grant network access to LocalSystem account?

How do you grant access to network resources to the LocalSystem (NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM) account? Background When accessing the network, the LocalSystem account acts as the computer on the network: ...
38
votes
1answer
117k views

Can't start php-cgi.exe - MSVCR110.dll is missing [closed]

Trying to setup nginx and php on my Windows machine, but every time I try to start php-cgi.exe I get a system error. The program can't start because MSVCR110.dll is missing from your computer. ...
38
votes
4answers
24k 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 ...
37
votes
7answers
54k 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 ...
37
votes
4answers
56k 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 ...