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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248
votes
15answers
173k 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 ...
166
votes
18answers
199k 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 ...
84
votes
7answers
20k 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 ...
82
votes
2answers
138k 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 ...
80
votes
8answers
135k 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 ...
76
votes
5answers
192k 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 ...
72
votes
8answers
105k 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?
70
votes
10answers
209k 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 ...
68
votes
9answers
127k views

How to refresh hosts file without rebooting

On Windows, how do you refresh the hosts file without rebooting?
66
votes
6answers
131k 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 ...
60
votes
10answers
89k 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 ...
59
votes
2answers
80k 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 ...
51
votes
8answers
314k 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 ...
51
votes
6answers
440k 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 ...
51
votes
3answers
57k 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 ...
47
votes
9answers
63k 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 ...
46
votes
12answers
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 ...
41
votes
18answers
40k 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 ...
41
votes
7answers
40k views

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

Is there a Windows equivalent of Unix "whoami" command? If so, what is it?
37
votes
22answers
14k views

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

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. ...
36
votes
6answers
111k 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?
35
votes
7answers
33k 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 ...
34
votes
6answers
23k 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 ...
33
votes
3answers
35k 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 ...
33
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
32
votes
14answers
28k 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? ...
32
votes
4answers
68k 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 ...
31
votes
3answers
66k 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?
31
votes
10answers
26k 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 ...
30
votes
10answers
19k views

Convenient Windows equivalent to tail -f logfile?

Is there some convenient alternative to this on Windows? I always miss this away from Linux. And no I don't consider Cygwin or some other bash port to be "convenient". :) Either a small app that'll ...
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
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 ...
29
votes
14answers
63k 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
5answers
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 ...
28
votes
11answers
42k views

What is the best windows tool to capture HTTP traffic? [closed]

When you want to capture browser traffic or general windows HTTP traffic what tool do you use?
28
votes
9answers
16k 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 ...
27
votes
16answers
2k views

What antivirus do you recommend for dev boxes [closed]

What antivirus would you recommend for computers used for windows development. Would you use an antivirus for these users? These users compile quite often and therefore read and write tons of files. ...
27
votes
4answers
25k views

How to convert text file from Windows line breaks to Unix ones on Unix/Linux?

Is there a quick way to convert text file from Unix line breaks to Windows ones in Unix environment? I thought there could be a standard utility.
27
votes
3answers
80k 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 ...
26
votes
12answers
13k 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 ...
26
votes
13answers
1k views

How to encourage Windows administrators to pick up scripting?

When I worked as an administrator in my first job, I was frustrated that our administration processes with Windows servers were a series of point-and-clicks; we could never match the level of ...
26
votes
3answers
34k 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 ...
25
votes
3answers
1k views

Silently uninstall bloatware

The company I work at goes through computers fairly regularly. When we get a new computer, someone has to manually go through and remove all the bloatware that comes with the computer. Right now, I am ...
25
votes
10answers
5k views

Ethics and Windows License Stickers [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can you help me with my software licensing question? I've come by some older laptops and want to re-install windows on them. (See my related question on an easy way to ...
25
votes
5answers
2k views

What is svchost and why are multiple instances of it running?

There's six instances running on my desktop, and probably ten on a server I manage. What is this, and is it vital to system function?
25
votes
15answers
2k views

How much is IP V6 addressing being used?

Just how much IP V6 addressing is really in typical use out there? I see that Linux/UNIX seems to be ready for this. But I don't see the readiness as much as the Windows side. Especially not for ...
25
votes
7answers
9k views

How to diagnose a Windows blue screen?

Sometimes I have to answer support calls responding to PC crashes with blue screens. How can I effectively narrow down the problem giving the information on that screen? What are the most important ...
25
votes
2answers
7k views

Disable CPU Scaling in Windows Server 2008 R2

How do you disable CPU power management scaling in Windows Server 2008 R2? After setting the Control Panel, Power Management plan to performance and then rebooting -- CPUID's Cpu-Z still shows the ...
25
votes
0answers
1k views

What should I name my Active Directory? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Windows AD Domain naming recommendations There are a lot of really screwed up configurations out there, because people didn't take a minute to sit down and think about ...
24
votes
6answers
27k 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?