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 machines.

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Shortcut to commands

  • 11
    If you find this stuff interesting, take a look at commandlinefu: commandlinefu.com It's basically like digg for CLI
    – username
    Commented May 11, 2009 at 6:47
  • great list, very usefull
    – Adyt
    Commented May 20, 2009 at 8:56
  • 1
    Try putting each command as a separate answer. Then we can vote and comment on each one.
    – lamcro
    Commented Jun 26, 2009 at 12:22
  • 1
    This is a great question, super useful info, and the stackexchange engine made it trivial to find. I agree with @lamcro, however, that structuring each command as an individual answer would likely provide more value, however then the wouldn't be sorted alphabetically? hmmm... Commented Jul 29, 2009 at 22:00
  • 1
    This is a great example, across all SE, of a well-executed poll. I especially like combining separate answers (for voting) and alphabetical index to them!
    – Jonik
    Commented Sep 17, 2010 at 14:16

160 Answers 160



From Microsoft Technet "Performs tasks that are related to file allocation table (FAT) and NTFS file systems, such as managing reparse points, managing sparse files, or dismounting a volume."

One of its most helpful options is to disable the creation of legacy 8.3 filenames. This is particularly helpful on servers that have very large numbers of files in a directory with long filenames.

To disable legacy 8.3 filenames on XP or Server 2003:

fsutil behavior set disable8dot3 1

On Windows 7 (and possibly Vista and Server 2008) you'd use:

fsutil 8dot3name set 1

For more information see: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc753059.aspx

  • I can confirm "fsutil behavior set disable8dot3 1" is the correct command on Server 2008 Commented Jun 11, 2009 at 13:41
  • fsutil can also be used to create hardlinks (and other useful but relatively hidden FS features/capabilities)
    – Goyuix
    Commented Oct 15, 2010 at 15:11
netsh firewall set opmode disable 

turns off the Windows firewall.

taskkill.exe /f /fi "status eq Not Responding"

kills all not responding programs.


I just recently found out about forfiles

FORFILES [/P pathname] [/M searchmask] [/S] [/C command] [/D [+ | -] {MM/dd/yyyy | dd}]

Description: Selects a file (or set of files) and executes a command on that file. This is helpful for batch jobs.

I use this to delete old backups with this line, this basically deletes files that are older than 6 days:

Forfiles /p " C:\Backups\SQL " /d -6 /c "CMD /C del @FILE"
  • What Windows version do you have? It doesn't work on my Windows XP Pro SP3. Maybe I need to modify some Environment variable?
    – THEn
    Commented Aug 1, 2010 at 16:11

Network Connections (Windows Vista/Windows XP)

The command



alt text

  • ... and so falls a great Vista frustration. Thanks. Commented May 27, 2009 at 19:13

dsquery * and dsmod

Pipe your dsquery results into dsmod and do mass changes to Active Directory.

Description:  Finds any objects in the directory according to criteria.

Syntax:     dsquery * [{<StartNode> | forestroot | domainroot}]
            [-scope {subtree | onelevel | base}] [-filter <LDAPFilter>]
            [-attr {<AttrList> | *}] [-attrsonly] [-l]
            [{-s <Server> | -d <Domain>}] [-u <UserName>]
            [-p {<Password> | *}] [-q] [-r] [-gc]
            [{-uc | -uco | -uci}]

Value                       Description
{<StartNode> | forestroot | domainroot}
                            The node where the search will start:
                            forest root, domain root, or a node
                            whose DN is <StartNode>.
                            Can be "forestroot", "domainroot" or an object
                            If "forestroot" is specified, the search is done
                            via the global catalog. Default: domainroot.
-scope {subtree | onelevel | base}
                            Specifies the scope of the search:
                            subtree rooted at start node (subtree);
                            immediate children of start node only (onelevel);
                            the base object represented by start node (base).
                            Note that subtree and domain scope
                            are essentially the same for any start node
                            unless the start node represents a domain root.
                            If forestroot is specified as <StartNode>,
                            subtree is the only valid scope.
                            Default: subtree.
-filter <LDAPFilter>        Specifies that the search use the explicit
                            LDAP search filter <LDAPFilter> specified in the
                            LDAP search filter format for searching.
                            Default:(objectCategory=*).The search filter
                            string must be enclosed in double quotes.
-attr {<AttrList> | *}      If <AttrList>, specifies a space-separated list
                            of LDAP display names to be returned for
                            each entry in the result set.
                            If *, specifies all attributes present on
                            the objects in the result set.
                            Default: distinguishedName.
-attrsonly                  Shows only the attribute types present on
                            the entries in the result set but not
                            their values.
                            Default: shows both attribute type and value.
-l                          Shows the entries in the search result set
                            in a list format. Default: table format.
{-s <Server> | -d <Domain>}
                            -s <Server> connects to the domain controller
                            (DC) with name <Server>.
                            -d <Domain> connects to a DC in domain <Domain>.
                            Default: a DC in the logon domain.
-u <UserName>               Connect as <UserName>. Default: the logged in
                            user. User name can be: user name,
                            domain\user name, or user principal name (UPN).
-p <Password>               Password for the user <UserName>. If * then you
                            are prompted for a password.
-q                          Quiet mode: suppress all output to standard
-r                          Recurse or follow referrals during search.
                            Default: do not chase referrals during search.
-gc                         Search in the Active Directory global catalog.
-limit <NumObjects>         Specifies the number of objects matching the
                            given criteria to be returned, where <NumObjects>
                            is the number of objects to be returned.
                            If the value of <NumObjects> is 0, all matching
                            objects are returned. If this parameter is not
                            specified, by default the first 100 results are
{-uc | -uco | -uci}         -uc Specifies that input from or output to pipe
                            is formatted in Unicode.
                            -uco Specifies that output to pipe or file is
                            formatted in Unicode.
                            -uci Specifies that input from pipe or file is
                            formatted in Unicode.

The dsquery commands help you find objects in the directory that match
a specified search criterion: the input to dsquery is a search criteria
and the output is a list of objects matching the search. To get the
properties of a specific object, use the dsget commands (dsget /?).

A user-entered value containing spaces or semicolons must be enclosed in
quotes (""). Multiple user-entered values must be separated using commas
(for example, a list of attribute types).

To find all users in the current domain only whose SAM account name begins
with the string "jon" and display their SAM account name,
User Principal Name (UPN) and department in table format:

dsquery * domainroot
-filter "(&(objectCategory=Person)(objectClass=User)(sAMAccountName=jon*))"
-attr sAMAccountName userPrincipalName department

To read the sAMAccountName, userPrincipalName and department attributes of
the object whose DN is ou=Test,dc=microsoft,dc=com:

Dsquery * ou=Test,dc=microsoft,dc=com -scope base
-attr sAMAccountName userPrincipalName department

To read all attributes of the object whose DN is ou=Test,dc=microsoft,dc=com:

Dsquery * ou=Test,dc=microsoft,dc=com -scope base -attr *

See also:
dsquery computer /? - help for finding computers in the directory.
dsquery contact /? - help for finding contacts in the directory.
dsquery subnet /? - help for finding subnets in the directory.
dsquery group /? - help for finding groups in the directory.
dsquery ou /? - help for finding organizational units in the directory.
dsquery site /? - help for finding sites in the directory.
dsquery server /? - help for finding servers in the directory.
dsquery user /? - help for finding users in the directory.
dsquery quota /? - help for finding quotas in the directory.
dsquery partition /? - help for finding partitions in the directory.
dsquery * /? - help for finding any object in the directory by using
a generic LDAP query.

Directory Service command-line tools help:
dsadd /? - help for adding objects.
dsget /? - help for displaying objects.
dsmod /? - help for modifying objects.
dsmove /? - help for moving objects.
dsquery /? - help for finding objects matching search criteria.
dsrm /? - help for deleting objects.
dsquery failed:The parameter is incorrect.
type dsquery /? for help.

Run something as a different user (good for troubleshooting w/o having people to log off)

runas /U:*domainname*\*username* "*someapplication*"

for example, if you want to open an explorer window with your credentials

runas /U:example.com\mylogin "explorer /separate"

for management console snapins (services in this example) you need to use mmc followed by the normal command to open that snap-in

runas /U:example.com\mylogin "mmc services.msc"

For situations where you need to run an application as a domain user from a non-domain-joined PC (eg SQL Server Management Studio)

runas /netonly /U:domain\username application.exe



ipconfig [/? | /all | /renew [adapter] | /release [adapter] |

          /flushdns | /displaydns | /registerdns |

          /showclassid adapter |

          /setclassid adapter [classid] ]


adapter         Connection name 

               (wildcard characters * and ? allowed, see



   /?           Display this help message

   /all         Display full configuration information.

   /release     Release the IP address for the specified adapter.

   /renew       Renew the IP address for the specified adapter.

   /flushdns    Purges the DNS Resolver cache.

   /registerdns Refreshes all DHCP leases and re-registers DNS names

   /displaydns  Display the contents of the DNS Resolver Cache.

   /showclassid Displays all the dhcp class IDs allowed for adapter.

   /setclassid  Modifies the dhcp class id.  

The default is to display only the IP address, subnet mask and

default gateway for each adapter bound to TCP/IP.

For Release and Renew, if no adapter name is specified, then the IP address

leases for all adapters bound to TCP/IP will be released or renewed.

For Setclassid, if no ClassId is specified, then the ClassId is removed.


> ipconfig                   ... Show information.

> ipconfig /all              ... Show detailed information

> ipconfig /renew            ... renew all adapters

> ipconfig /renew EL*        ... renew any connection that has its 

                                 name starting with EL

> ipconfig /release *Con*    ... release all matching connections,

                                 eg. "Local Area Connection 1" or

                                     "Local Area Connection 2"

Opens enter image description here

  • 1
    You can just use "eventvwr" and save a few characters.
    – boflynn
    Commented May 4, 2009 at 10:57

I find that often I need to create large files for testing.

fsutil file createnew C:\1_gb-ish_file.txt 1000000000

  • 1
    I cant believe I didnt know this. Thanks for the tip!
    – cop1152
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 20:40
mstsc  # starts the Remote Desktop window.
mstsc -v  # to remotely connect to a given IP.
  • Learned about this one about a year ago. Use it all the time now and can't live without it! Commented Jun 13, 2010 at 18:28

To get the current date / time for use in a batch file:

for /f "usebackq tokens=1,2,3,4 delims=/ " %%w in (`echo %DATE%`) do set YMD=%%z%%x%%y
for /f "usebackq tokens=1,2,3,4 delims=:." %%x in (`echo %TIME%`) do set HMS=%%x%%y%%z
set NOW=%YMD%_%HMS%
echo %NOW%

Windows Update Service


/a /ResetAuthorization
/r /ReportNow

This single command has a lot of mythology surrounding it. It reports no errors, has no help dialog, and the only real output is run for /demoui. But it does work, I think.



Quite possibly the most powerful command yet:


Favorite option:

/K Carries out the command specified by string but remains


subst.exe - associates a path with a drive letter, including local drives. Usage example (add then remove):

subst M: C:\Documents and Settings\user\My Music\
subst M: /D

(note: is not persistent and needs to be run on every logon)

  • Be aware that this can overlap with mapped network drives or removable drives - sometimes the contents of the network/removable drive appears in Explorer under the SUBST drive letter or vice versa! Commented May 25, 2009 at 13:35

I know this is a bit of an old question here, but I looked through the five pages of answers, and I did not see the following:

pushd, popd


C:\Users\MyUser\src> pushd C:\Users\MyUser\Documents
C:\Users\MyUser\Documents> cd Backup
C:\Users\MyUser\Documents\Backup> copy ..\*.* .
C:\Users\MyUser\Documents\Backup> popd
C:\Users\MyUser\src> rem Continue working in src directory.

Useful when working in long directories. I want to get back where i was.


Lately I have had to use: net use \\servername /d

It kills permissions to specified resources.

Another use for net use is to re-mount a local drive as administrator, so that you don't need to log out (on WinXP, switch user was disabled on domains).

net use \\localShare /user:admin



    rasdial entryname [username [password|*]] [/DOMAIN:domain]
            [/PHONE:phonenumber] [/CALLBACK:callbacknumber]

    rasdial [entryname] /DISCONNECT


    For Online Privacy Information please refer to

connects to a VPN or a dialup network from the command line.


Disk management from the command line:


See A Description of the Diskpart Command-Line Utility for more information.


The clip command on Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 is very useful: it puts anything passed in on standard input on the clipboard.


Copy current directory to clipboard:

dir | clip

List C files containing a particular string:

findstr /i /s /m /c:"someFunction" *.c | clip



This is great for running a given command on any file that matches a list of criteria.

For example, the following will delete all files with a last modified date earlier than seven days ago:

forfiles -p . /D -7 /M *.* /S -c "cmd /C del @File /Q"

What about rundll32.exe?
It allows running functions from within any 32 bit DLL.
You can do almost everything with this command - and script your OS to your heart's content.
The syntax is:

RUNDLL32.EXE <dllname>,<entrypoint> <optional arguments>


RUNDLL32.EXE SHELL32.DLL,Control_RunDLL HotPlug.dll

Will bring up the "USB Disconnect" dialog (equivalent to right-clicking the "Safely Remove Hardware option in the system tray).


Will give you dozens of options to control your printer from the command line.
And there are millions more...



netsh can do many useful things, i.e: (no pun intended ;-)
Import proxy settings from Internet Options to command line tools:

netsh winhttp>import proxy source=ie

Display current proxy settings:

netsh winhttp>show proxy  

net config server

Hide computer from Browser list:

net config server /hidden:yes

Local Security Settings

  • hhmmm.............
    – Adyt
    Commented May 20, 2009 at 9:00

The ever-so-appropriately named lusrmgr.msc - Local Users and Groups Administrator

  • I've typed it hundreds of times but never got the pun until just now. Hilarious.
    – Portman
    Commented May 6, 2009 at 0:07

If you suspect something's wrong with protected system files, you can use this tool.

sfc /scannow

Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool


SC - Manage anything you want to do with services.

        SC is a command line program used for communicating with the
        NT Service Controller and services. USAGE:
        sc <server> [command] [service name] <option1> <option2>...

The set command with filtering to display contents of environment variables. Instead of typing

C:\Users\Erlend>echo %computername%
you can type
C:\Users\Erlend>set comp
to get the same effect. Using set alone shows you all environment variables.

  • Just learned the SET alone command to list environment variables thats a great one.
    – bendewey
    Commented May 15, 2009 at 4:19

One of my favourites is rsop.msc, 'Resultant Set of Policy'.

RSoP shows the combined effect of all group policies active on the current system/login. So on a client machine if you're unsure about which particular policy settings are/aren't applied, simply check it out in RSoP!



start .                (opens explorer to the pwd)

start c:\              (opens explorer to the root of C:)

start document.doc     (open the document - just like double-clicking on it)

start wordpad file.txt (open wordpad for the file, creating if necessary)

start calc             (launch the calculator app)

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