Windows XP Command Line Utilities

Author: Andrew L
Date: 14-Jul-2003


Here's a list of some new tools mixed up with the old favorites that will make you love the command prompt as much as I do. A lot of these commands are intended for the XP Professional machine administrating a network, but they can serve a purpose for the home user as well.

- bootcfg

View your boot loader settings, such as your default OS and selection timeout, as well as your boot entries and load options.

- defrag
You probably already guessed that this defrags your hard drive. Type only "defrag" into your command prompt to get a list of possible arguments, such as the drive letter and the type of output.

- diskpart

Manages your disk partitions. After you type "diskpart" into your command prompt, your prompt will become "DISKPART." Type a question mark to get a list of possible arguments. Type exit to leave diskpart.

- driverquery
Will get you a nice list of your drivers and their properties.

- fsutil

This is a handy command. You can do everything from managing your hardlinks to querying the free space in a volume. Type "fsutil" into your command prompt, and you'll see a list of options. I choose "fsinfo" from the list, so I type "fsutil fsinfo" into the prompt. Now I get even more options, but I choose drives by typing "fsutil fsinfo drives." It's fun, it's easy, and you'll get the hang of it. Explore this utility. There are a lot of cool features and hidden twists.

- getmac

This gets the MAC (Media Access Control) address.

- gpresult

Get the RSoP, user settings, and computer group policy settings.

- netsh A network configuration tool. Type "netsh" to enter the tool, or "netsh /?" to learn more about it. To exit this tool, type "exit" at the "netsh>" prompt.

- openfiles

Allows an administrator to display or disconnect open files in XP professional. Type "openfiles /?" for a list of possible parameters.

- recover

This command attempts to recover readable information from a damaged disk. Type "recover" to get the syntax.

- reg

The console registry tool. Get syntax help when you type "reg" into the prompt. You can export the registry, copy, restore, compare, and more.

- schtasks

The administrator can schedule, run, change, or delete tasks on a local or remote machine. Type "schtasks /?" without the quotes for a list of options.

- sfc

The system file checker scans protected system files and replaces the ones you (or your applications) hacked beyond repair with the real, official Microsoft versions. Type "sfc" into the command prompt to get a list of options.

- shutdown

You can shut down or restart your own computer, or an administrator can shut down or restart a remote computer. Type "shutdown" into your command prompt to see a list of possible arguments.

- systeminfo

Basic system configuration information, such as the system type, the processor type, your time zone, your virtual memory settings, and much more.

- tasklist

Want to know what's going on behind the scenes? Type "tasklist" into the command prompt, and get a list of current processes.

- taskkill

Now that you know what's going on behind the scenes, maybe you want to shut a few of these extraneous tasks down. That's where taskkill comes in. Type "taskkill /?" for a quick lesson in the syntax of the command, then shut down all those random processes. I just killed my MS messenger by typing "taskkill /PID 1680." I got the PID from running tasklist, above.