15 Windows Command Prompt (CMD) Commands You Must Know

Tina Sieber Updated 26-01-2019

Microsoft has slowly pushed aside CMD commands in the Windows interface. This is not without reason; it is an antiquated and mostly unnecessary tool from an era of text-based input. But many commands remain useful, and Windows 8 and 10 even added new features.


Here we present the essential commands every Windows user needs to know.

In case you’re not sure how to access the Windows command prompt, forgot basic Windows commands, or would like to know how to see a list of switches for each command (aka prompt codes), you can refer to our beginners guide to the Windows command line A Beginner's Guide To The Windows Command Line The command line lets you communicate directly with your computer and instruct it to perform various tasks. Read More for instructions.

Prefer this tutorial in video form? We’ve got you covered:

Windows Command Prompt Commands

1. Assoc

Screenshot of Windows command prompt with assoccommand.

Most files in Windows are associated with a specific program that is assigned to open the file by default. At times, remembering these associations can become confusing. You can remind yourself by entering the command “assoc” to display a full list of file name extensions and program associations.


You can also extend the command to change file associations. For example, “assoc .txt=” will change the file association for text files to whatever program you enter after the equal sign. The “Assoc” command itself will reveal both the extension names and program names, which will help you properly use this command. You can probably do this more easily in the GUI, but the command line interface is a perfectly functional alternative.

2. Cipher

Cipher command in the Windows command prompt.

Deleting files on a mechanical hard drive doesn’t really delete them at all. Instead, it marks the files as no longer accessible and the space they took up as free. The files remain recoverable until the system overwrites them with new data, which can take some time.

The cipher command, however, wipes a directory by writing random data to it. To wipe your C drive, for example, you’d use the command “cipher /w:c”, which will wipe free space on the drive. The command does not overwrite undeleted data, so you will not wipe out files you need by running this command.


You can use a host of other cipher commands, however, they are generally redundant with BitLocker enabled versions of Windows.

3. Driverquery

Windows command prompt showing driverquery command.

Drivers remain among the most important software installed on a PC. Improperly configured or missing drivers Take Back Control Over Driver Updates in Windows 10 A bad Windows driver can ruin your day. In Windows 10, Windows Update automatically updates hardware drivers. If you suffer the consequences, let us show you how to roll back your driver and block future... Read More can cause all sorts of trouble, so its good to have access to a list of what’s on your PC. That’s exactly what the “driverquery” command does. You can extend it to “driverquery -v” to obtain more information, including the directory in which the driver is installed.

4. File Compare

File compare command as seen in Windows command prompt.


You can use this command to identify differences in text between two files. It’s particularly useful for writers and programmers trying to find small changes between two versions of a file. Simply type “fc” and then the directory path and file name of the two files you want to compare.

You can also extend the command in several ways. Typing “/b” compares only binary output, “/c” disregards the case of text in the comparison, and “/l” only compares ASCII text.

So, for example, you could use the following:

fc /l "C:\Program Files (x86)\example1.doc" "C:\Program Files (x86)\example2.doc"

The above command compares ASCII text in two word documents.


5. Ipconfig

Ipconfig command in Windows command prompt window.

This command relays the IP address that your computer is currently using. However, if you’re behind a router (like most computers today), you’ll instead receive the local network address of the router.

Still, ipconfig is useful because of its extensions. “ipconfig /release” followed by “ipconfig /renew” can force your Windows PC into asking for a new IP address, which is useful if your computer claims one isn’t available. You can also use “ipconfig /flushdns” to refresh your DNS address. These commands are great if the Windows network troubleshooter chokes, which does happen on occasion.

6. Netstat

Netstat command run on Windows.

Entering the command “netstat -an” will provide you with a list of currently open ports and related IP addresses. This command will also tell you what state the port is in – listening, established or closed.

This is a great command for when you’re trying to troubleshoot devices connected to your PC or when you fear a Trojan infected your system and you’re trying to locate a malicious connection.

7. Ping

Ping command prompt window.

Sometimes, you need to know whether or not packets are making it to a specific networked device. That’s where ping comes in handy.

Typing “ping” followed by an IP address or web domain will send a series of test packets to the specified address. If they arrive and are returned, you know the device is capable of communicating with your PC; if it fails, you know that there’s something blocking communication between the device and your computer. This can help you decide if the root of the issue is an improper configuration or a failure of network hardware.

8. PathPing

Windows command prompt with PathPing command.

This is a more advanced version of ping that’s useful if there are multiple routers between your PC and the device you’re testing. Like ping, you use this command by typing “pathping” followed by the IP address, but unlike ping, pathping also relays some information about the route the test packets take.

9. Tracert

Screenshot of Tracert command in Windows command prompt.

The “tracert” command is similar to pathping. Once again, type “tracert” followed by the IP address or domain you’d like to trace. You’ll receive information about each step in the route between your PC and the target. Unlike pathping, however, tracert also tracks how much time (in milliseconds) each hop between servers or devices takes.

10. Powercfg

Powercfg command on Windows 10.

Powercfg is a very powerful command for managing and tracking how your computer uses energy. You can use the command “powercfg hibernate on” and “powercfg hibernate off” to manage hibernation, and you can also use the command “powercfg /a” to view the power-saving states currently available on your PC.

Another useful command is “powercfg /devicequery s1_supported”, which displays a list of devices on your computer that support connected standby. When enabled, you can use these devices to bring your computer out of standby — even remotely. You can enable this by selecting the device in Device Manager, opening its properties, going to the Power Management tab and then checking the Allow this device to wake the computer box.

“Powercfg /lastwake” will show you what device last woke your PC from a sleep state. You can use this command to troubleshoot your PC if it seems to wake from sleep at random.

Powercfg energy command in Administrator command prompt on Windows 10.

You can use the “powercfg /energy” command to build a detailed power consumption report for your PC. The report saves to the directory indicated after the command finishes. This report will let you know of any system faults that might increase power consumption, like devices blocking certain sleep modes, or poorly configured to respond to your power management settings.

Windows 8 added “powercfg /batteryreport”, which provides a detailed analysis of battery use, if applicable. Normally output to your Windows user directory, the report provides details about the time and length of charge and discharge cycles, lifetime average battery life, and estimated battery capacity.

11. Shutdown

Shutdown command on Windows 10.

Windows 8 introduced the shutdown command that—you guessed it!—shuts down your computer How to Shutdown or Sleep Windows 10 With a Keyboard Shortcut Looking for a Windows 10 sleep shortcut? Here's how to shut down or put your computer to sleep with just the keyboard. Read More .

This is, of course, redundant with the already easily accessed shutdown button, but what’s not redundant is the “shutdown /r /o” command, which restarts your PC and launches the Advanced Start Options menu, which is where you can access Safe Mode and Windows recovery utilities. This is useful if you want to restart your computer for troubleshooting purposes.

12. Systeminfo

Systeminfo command as seen on Windows 10.

This command will give you a detailed configuration overview of your computer. The list covers your operating system and hardware. For example, you can look up the original Windows installation date, the last boot time, your BIOS version, total and available memory, installed hotfixes, network card configurations, and more.

Use “systeminfo /s” followed by the host name of a computer on your local network, to remotely grab the information for that system. This may require additional syntax elements for the domain, user name, and password, like this: “systeminfo /s [host_name] /u [domain]\[user_name] /p [user_password]”

13. System File Checker

System File Checker sfc command options available on Windows 10.

System File Checker is an automatic scan and repair tool How to Fix a Corrupted Windows 10 Installation System corruption is the worst that could happen to your Windows installation. We show you how to get Windows 10 back on track when suffering from BSODs, driver errors, or other unexplained issues. Read More that focuses on Windows system files.

You will need to run the command prompt with administrator privileges and enter the command “sfc /scannow”. If SFC finds any corrupt or missing files, it will automatically replace them using cached copies kept by Windows for this purpose alone. The command can require a half-hour to run on older notebooks.

14. Tasklist

Tasklist command as shown in Windows command prompt window.

You can use the “tasklist” command to provide a current list of all tasks running on your PC. Though somewhat redundant with Task Manager, the command may sometimes find tasks hidden from view in that utility.

There’s also a wide range of modifiers. “Tasklist -svc” shows services related to each task, use “tasklist -v” to obtain more detail on each task, and “tasklist -m” will locate .dll files associated with active tasks. These commands are useful for advanced troubleshooting.

15. Taskkill

Taskkill command options available on Windows 10.

Tasks that appear in the “tasklist” command will have an executable and process ID (a four- or five-digit number) associated with them. You can force stop a program using “taskkill -im” followed by the executable’s name, or “taskkill -pid” followed by the process ID. Again, this is a bit redundant with Task Manager, but you can use it to kill otherwise unresponsive or hidden programs.

Windows 8 Only: Recovery Image

Virtually all Windows 8/8.1 computers ship from the factory with a recovery image, but the image may include bloatware you’d rather not have re-installed. Once you’ve un-installed the software you can create a new image using the “recimg” command. Entering this command presents a very detailed explanation of how to use it.

You must have administrator privileges to use the “recimg” command, and you can only access the custom recovery image you create via the Windows 8 “refresh” feature.

In Windows 10, system recovery 4 Ways to Factory Reset Your Windows Computer Want to know how to factory reset a PC? Here are the best methods to reset a Windows computer. Read More has changed. Windows 10 systems don’t come with a recovery partition, which makes it more important than ever to back up your data.

CMD Commands Recommended by Readers

These are the commands our readers use regularly:

  • nbstat: “For looking up names of computers on your network.” (Vferg)
  • netstat -ano | find “est”: “To get a list of processes with established CP connections.” (Eric)
  • tasklist | find “[process id]”: “To get the name of the executable associated with the particular process id that I’m interested in.” (Eric)
  • cacls: This command is “most handy to manually access hidden files and folder. (A41202813)
  • net use: “To map drives of networked CNC machines.” (Jimbo)
  • chkdsk /f C: “Checks your C: partition hard disk for errors and fixes bad sectors.” (Kai M)
  • Schtasks: To schedule tasks. (Teddy)

Command and Conquer Your Windows PC

This article can only give you a taste of what’s hidden within the Windows command line. When including all variables, there are literally hundreds of commands. Download Microsoft’s command line reference guide (in Edge or Internet Explorer) for advanced support and troubleshooting.

Tired of the command prompt? Time to try the new Windows Terminal How to Use the New Windows Terminal for Your Productivity The way you type commands might change with the launch of the Windows Terminal. Let's explore some of its attractive features. Read More !

Related topics: Command Prompt, Computer Maintenance.

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  1. harshit
    July 17, 2019 at 11:09 am

    hi thank bro for this command

  2. Jim Max
    June 2, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    I think you nbstat is wrong - should this not be nbtstat?

    nbstat: “For looking up names of computers on your network.” (Vferg)

  3. mike
    January 17, 2019 at 10:09 pm

    Give a man a fish and he eats for one day; teach him to fish and he eats for the rest of his life.

    No where in the article is the help command explained or how to use it. Yes, there is a "way" to use it and with this information then people can not only have the benefit of all the commands discussed, but a way to actually get help on their own.

  4. Salauddin Ahmed
    December 31, 2018 at 4:52 am

    I have not understood the ''taskill" command

  5. Schvenn
    November 16, 2018 at 1:40 am

    find "EST" not "est". It's case-sensitive.

  6. Paul
    November 14, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    But Windows means you never have to use the CLI (or so the anti-Linux FUD would have us believe)

  7. Ted Mieske
    November 14, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    Enter: tree This zips thru your drive listing EVER Folder and File.

    At the end of the list; if you have a virus, it will tell you so.

  8. Tech Checkers
    November 13, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    1. cmd /k
    2. && To conjoin commands

    With the Windows CLI from the RUN box, typing CMD followed by the /k switch allows the command complete without further input :
    Start --> RUN :

    CMD /k ping -t

    Would start a PING to Google DNS Servers until the CLI GUI is closed or the Control+C Break command is typed in the CLI.

    2. Using && to conjoin commands
    Ampersand,Ampersand allow for joining of two commands together:
    Example to create a set of nested folders:

    Start --> RUN

    cmd /k cd \ && md Drivers && cd Drivers && md LAN "VIDEO Card" AUDIO

    Changes location to root of C:\ Drive, creates a Folder called Drivers and creates three new folders in Drivers named LAN, Video Card and Audio
    [note any space must be surrounded with "Inverted Commas"]

    Happy CLI'ing !

  9. Janet Still
    November 7, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Good article...Now is there a list like this for Windows 10? Thanks.

    • Charley A Rouse
      November 14, 2018 at 6:46 am

      The are certainly useable & current for Windows 10.. even with powershell the base CMD CLI is absoutely relevant...

    October 15, 2018 at 9:18 am

    wow all this commands are very great and powerful. Please thank you for posting them

  11. TONY
    January 17, 2018 at 8:42 am


  12. Umesh
    September 1, 2017 at 8:28 am

    I Like Only tracert command where I'm getting information about the route

  13. sir_STARy
    August 15, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    In the article is an error. The "powercfg" command is used without the "/" sign: powercfg hibernate off

  14. simon bignell
    March 26, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I want to find out how to go back a directory, and how to run as administrator please

    • Lokeshwar Chanda
      July 10, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Type Windows +X
      And u can now see a option command prompt administrative

    • Luc Schots
      November 14, 2018 at 11:12 am

      With 'to go back a directory', I assume you mean go up a directory in the tree structure?
      Then use "cd .."

  15. Curly
    March 15, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Are there any commands that let you update W7 and get you around the never working windows update

    • Edoardo Napoli
      July 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      The only thing you can do about sloppy Windows Updates is to download the update packages manually and install them manually. If you're not likely to do this, you can always restart the Windows Update services.

  16. martin
    March 6, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    del c:\documents\*.*
    taskmgr - Program and process
    Msinfo32 - System information
    gpedit.msc - Administrative chart
    winver - install version
    netstat -b - active connection

    To delete the temporary files From Start: %temp% then select all and erase.

  17. Robin
    February 19, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Thank You! This is very helpful.

  18. siddhu
    January 8, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Thanks this is very helpful for me

  19. Teddy
    December 21, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Shutdown/I mf!!




    Title for change thé cmd name (not permanent)

    Sch change Titre for permanent

  20. barak WA UP WEST REGION
    December 17, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    good job

  21. barak WA UP WEST REGION
    December 17, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    good job. ADDMINISTRATOR[s]

  22. luis
    December 13, 2016 at 10:06 am

    how do you do that

  23. yteicosF
    December 6, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Or you can simply type "help" and avoid having to look up commands on a site full ads

  24. Gopi G'pal
    October 27, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Yea it's really nice
    I like it.... thank yuh

  25. Dir /s
    October 14, 2016 at 6:19 am


  26. MHK1381
    October 13, 2016 at 10:37 am

    very very good.
    Thanks for it.
    I like it!!!

  27. Christopher Hipp
    October 11, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Try KrojamSoft FilesSearch it will help you solve the problem if you have any question just reply it so i can help you out. :)

  28. Lana
    September 30, 2016 at 12:49 am

    recimg command didn't work, Am I doing something wrong?

  29. chris jackson
    September 25, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    How would i go about checking my hard drive for errors so i can remove them so i dont have to buy a new 1?

  30. Simon Pengelly
    September 5, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Simple but useful
    dir *.tmp /s > dellist.txt
    will list all deleted tmp files in the folder and sub-folders to file dellist.txt and then
    del *.tmp /s will delete them

  31. babalesh saini
    August 17, 2016 at 10:40 am

    yup for more please googling

  32. Shery
    July 15, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Windows 10 will not load. It will not restore to previous buile, it will not repair itself. I went into the command prompt and ran sfc /scannow. It states that the operation cannot complete. Also, I cannot boot in safe mode. Suggestions are welcome! Thanks. Sherry

  33. Armaggedon
    June 28, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    what is the difference of cmd and telnet, and the most efficient?

    • Mesach
      July 11, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      CMD gets you a command prompt to run commands, telnet is an application that you can run via command line.

      • barak WA UP WEST REGION
        December 17, 2016 at 2:09 pm


  34. Vasanth Kumar
    June 17, 2016 at 12:12 am

    Thumbs UP !!..

  35. Vinayak
    May 13, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    is there any command which is easy to shut down any others pc or insert a virus on others pc or delete all data of others pc or to hack an email id of anyone else.. its ok if not in cmd but is it possible to do by anything else.. pls in urgency, contact me if yes pls a humble req.. 8588950050 vinayak, pls pls pls

    • Your nan
      June 29, 2016 at 6:37 pm

      Yes, just type "Your nan"

    • Jim
      July 18, 2016 at 4:45 am


    • Jim
      July 18, 2016 at 4:46 am

      apart from shutdown-i

    • Lucas Rind
      August 1, 2016 at 12:04 am

      mad hacking skills

    • james
      August 24, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      you bloody indian how you can think that u could be a hacker without paying any fee to a hacking institute

    • barak WA UP WEST REGION
      December 17, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      i dont know about that one dear

  36. Ron
    April 22, 2016 at 2:48 pm


  37. Grey
    March 26, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    taskkill /f /im explorer.exe

  38. Manuel
    March 14, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    wow, nice, thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. the flash
    February 27, 2016 at 10:17 am

    is there a command where can identify history on your computer i mean like if somebody stole some of your files or transfer into another devices. if there is please inform me. thanks in advance.

  40. Sed
    February 23, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    I'm a junior IT and stumbled on some commands , it is really a must have knowledge base that all tech should know already :) great job thanks

  41. swamik bagwe
    February 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    thanks dude it is very helpfully to get my running task.....

  42. Lana
    February 22, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Is there a CMD line of commands to turn on Android´s use as a hard drive feature?

  43. Diego Sabillon ( ?° ?? ?°)
    February 10, 2016 at 1:18 am


  44. Mohammed
    February 3, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Verry helpful thank u verry much !

    January 19, 2016 at 9:17 am


  46. yoti
    December 8, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    this is all good and helpful for things on a cpu

  47. GuccizBud
    April 6, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Very useful list?;??I took the ones I like the most and documented them in a file of my own for later reference.
    ?One thing, though?:? I'm not sure why you're under the impression the Shutdown command exists "as of Windows 8/8.1". It's that very same Shutdown routine that the OS itself has been invoking every time a user logged off, powered down, or restarted his system since *at least* Windows XP.? I can't recall before that, but for all I know it was around before then too.? But I can absolutely confirm its existence since XP since I've been using it since then to log off, power down, or restart my system through keyboard shortcuts assigned to ".cmd" scripts that use the Shutdown command.? So for example one can create a text file called "reboot.cmd" containing the one line "shutdown /r /t 10", create a shortcut to "reboot.cmd" and store it in his personal ?%?appdata?%? Start Menu folder, and associate the keyboard shortcut ?Ctrl+Shift+R? (for example) to that shortcut.? Now whenever he does ?Ctrl+Shift+R? his computer will power down and restart after a 10 second delay.? I've been doing that kind of thing since XP.
    ?Other than that though, highly useful piece, like I said.

    • Anonymous
      August 6, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      yeah the shutdown command is quite a useful one, i didn't make use of it when i was using XP, although in win 7 there is the task scheduler, if i was say downloading something that was going to take a few hours like a game update or a whole client and I wanted to go to sleep, you can set a '/shutdown /s' task to fire at a specific time and have your pc turn off instead of staying on until you wake up.

  48. jimtech
    March 19, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    it good to make this

  49. Derek
    March 6, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Is there a command to check how long a program has been running? sorry if I missed it in the original post, new to running things from the cmd.

  50. Gr3nD
    March 3, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    I Just Know Hacking Another Pc ON My Network.. By Type 'shutdown -i' but.. i cant to shut to diferent network... And I Want Talk Something Too. How To Control Another PC... I Mean Like Open Files... Like 100% Controling

    • Anonymous
      August 27, 2015 at 11:30 pm

      that's extremely illegal and you will most likely be sent to jail.. and thats coming from a guy who pirates..

      • dudu@gmail.co0m
        December 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm


  51. N. Cognito
    September 1, 2014 at 2:39 am

    I use it to stop unnecessary programs from loading at startup.

  52. N. Cognito
    September 1, 2014 at 2:34 am


  53. Tom
    August 9, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    copy *.cvs all.cvs saved my 400 plus contacts and allowed me to import into google. No other way to do such a join of files in 1.

  54. Shirley
    August 3, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Great article. Learn something new everyday. Always good to know of an alternative to do the same thing (just in case). Thanks.

  55. Yunga
    August 3, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Command line reference for Oracle, SQL Server, Windows cmd and bash. Includes data dictionary, scripting commands and CSS:

    • Ramon Venegas
      September 8, 2014 at 3:04 am

      Thanks - very useful

  56. John B L
    August 1, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Thanks for writing this article: I love the control these commands provide, although I rarely need them at work or at home. For a CNC technician, the file compare "FC" command is very useful. That is, if I don't have the program "Beyond Compare" installed on the particular PC I am working on..

  57. Pierre.L
    July 30, 2014 at 10:28 am
  58. Bruce E
    July 29, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    You can also use “ipconfig /flushdns” to refresh your DNS address.

    This is actually dumping the entire contents of the local DNS cache that the machine uses to avoid repetitive DNS lookups. With the phrasing you have used, it makes it sound like something else is happening instead.

  59. yochanon
    July 29, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    The gui simply adds bloat and is for use by those who are too lazy to enjoy the speed os using cli. Anyone who honestly believes the cli is "an antiquated and mostly unnecessary tool", doesn't need to be trying to 'advise' in any fashion, IMHO. That "antiquated and mostly unnecessary tool" could possibly be what saves a server that's screwing up at an Fortune 500 company (though most decent servers will be more than likely some form of *nix and the admin shouldn't be depending on a gui *anyway*). I'm not saying the gui isn't very nice to have, but it breaks, and often enough to be a real PITA if one doesn't know anything about the cli to get in and maybe fix things.

  60. Easy Living
    July 29, 2014 at 7:16 am

    What for? In this modern era of Apps for this and Apps for that, who needs to learn cli? No wonder GUI made billions for MS and Apple. Leave out the geeky stuff to the underpaid and over-educated nerds. A computer, tablet or smartphone is supposed to make our lives easier, not to add stress to our stressful lives. Personally, I do not have any use for long-winded configuration scripts...I'm done with that and enjoying my life.

    • yochanon
      July 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      And yet you cry if none of those "underpaid and over-educated nerds" aren't around instantly with their cli knowledge to fix your screwed up system because something happened to the GUI and now you're almost in tears because of it. Uh huh. Try again. If 'thinking' is 'stressful' to you and you can't do anything without a GUI, I feel pity for you.

  61. g.m.nelson
    July 28, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    the caret brackets did not post, the commands are
    OFF = fs util usn delete journal /d [drive]
    ON = fs util create journal M=0 a=0 [drive]
    substituting the drive letter (c: d: etc) for [drive]

  62. g.m.nelson
    July 28, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    the POWERCFG command switch /hibernate is abreviated as -h (at least in vista). I have used it in 2 ways :
    1. to turn hibernate back on after a glitch turned it off
    2. to get the hiberfil.sys file out of the middle of the drive data (turn off, defrag/optimize, then turn back on)

    another unmmovable system file that can become very large and fragmented limiting the amount of contiguous space is the $USN JRNL file. you can use the same method to reduce and consolidate this file (turn off/defrag/turn on) with the following set of commands
    OFF = fs util usn delete journal /d
    ON = fs util create journal M=0 a=0
    substituting the drive letter (c: d: etc) for

  63. LovesFLSun
    July 28, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Not really a CMD prompt command, but a tool accessable from the CMD prompt.. ROBOCOPY. For those that know ROBOCOPY, I do not need to say any more. Those that do not know about ROBOCOPY, check it out! You won't be sorry..

  64. wenkeadam
    July 28, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    What about ROBOCOPY in win7 + 8? I love it.
    More powerful than the old XCOPY, for backup copying of large folders.

    Using command line dos programs in Windows is extremely fast, as they don´t have to 'paint' the screen with graphics to show 'progress'. I can't live without them, as I often process large amounts of data.
    I use to set up BATch files with the configuration commands, and run them with a click on a shortcut icon. Remember to end each batch file with a "pause" command, that will leave the command window open until you press a key, so you can see any error messages.

  65. Campbell
    July 28, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    netsh winsock reset is a good call; very good fix. And chkdsk /f is a great option however, if you work in enterprise support, many of these can be arbitrarily controlled by group policy. Works great on a PC disconnected from the network, but sometimes you need a boot disk to fix issues that the admins at the broad level just knee-cap you on. Most of the caommand lines are great. also, if you create a lot of IDs regualarly and do not use Powershell, then that an unnecessary headache; You can find pre-prepared cmdlets that you can edit for easy use. Also, you can do a answer response for general users if you need some regular tasks done. Powershell pays back big time.

  66. Pinger
    July 28, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I tried cipher w.c: as an administrator and I was told This program is blocked by group policy. I can ping without any problem.

  67. Sam K
    July 27, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    thanks, i'm aware of just 4 commands...the rest will come handy.

  68. Kai M.
    July 27, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Matt this is a great list of commands! Thanks for the write up. In my opinion it's always good to get ordinary everyday users to use command line functions more often.

    Probably the two I use most on your list are ipconfig /all and shutdown /f /s /t -0 A few more that I find useful are:

    chkdsk /f C: Checks your (C: partition) hard disk for errors and fixes bad sectors. This command requires you to reboot your computer, but has helped me repair my clients computers many times when they won't boot.

    arp -a - Along the same lines as the nbtstat command mentioned above, the routing protocol command lists all computers in the routing table on your LAN and also gives their physical/MAC address. Can be useful to see which devices are connected to a network.

    systeminfo - This command gives you a thorough list of info about your computer including the model name, number, and manufacturer, processor type, speed, operating system, amount of RAM installed and the max amount your system will handle, pagefile size, language, timezone, the names and numbers of all windows updates you have installed, network card info, ip address, and a bunch more. Very useful for getting info on system specs when you trying to quickly troubleshoot a problem.

    Also the netsh winsock reset catalog and netsh int ip reset reset.log commands reset/rebuild the TCP/IP stack on Windows computers are the first commands I use (after ipconfig) when I run into one that is having internet connection issues or dealing with flaky NIC cards with corrupt drivers (also require a reboot).

    BTW, I just thought I would also point out that the scannow /sfc command sometimes requires an installation disc to replace corrupt or missing files which makes it somewhat less useful on Windows Vista and above computers that don't come with System Restore discs anymore.


  69. Jimbo
    July 27, 2014 at 7:00 am

    I've been using "net use" to map drives of networked CNC machines for easier access the local storage.

  70. A41202813GMAIL
    July 27, 2014 at 4:51 am


    Most Handy To Manually Access Hidden Files And Folders.


  71. dk
    July 26, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Shutdown has been around since at least XP. There are some different switches now, but it remains a darned handy command.

  72. chuma
    July 26, 2014 at 8:57 am

    I really cant do wtout command prompt even in win 8. More powerful commands like diskpart was not mentioned

    • Yourmom
      July 27, 2014 at 6:11 am

      You probably don't want people playing around with diskpart unless they know what they are doing.

    • Yourmom
      July 27, 2014 at 6:17 am

      Or maybe I should say that you shouldn't play around with diskpart if you don't know most of the commands on this list already.

  73. Eric
    July 26, 2014 at 2:57 am

    That would be 'TASKLIST | FIND "###" where "### is process ID # reported by the NETSTAT -ANO command for the open TCP connection you want to investigate.

  74. Eric
    July 26, 2014 at 2:53 am

    I've been using DOS since before Windows but I still learned a few things here! I'll share one tip: I use NETSTAT -ANO | FIND "EST" to get a list of processes with established TCP connections. Then I use TASKLIST | FIND "" to get the name of the executable associated with the particular process id that I'm interested in - i.e. a suspicious program with an open connection to some mysterious external IP address. If it's something like explorer.exe or iexplore.exe (when there is no visible Internet Explorer window open) then I know I've got a problem.

  75. dragonmouth
    July 25, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    You mean Windows has a command line!? To hear the Window fans talk, only Linux is cursed with CLI.

    • Retardedmouth
      July 26, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      This is the most retarded comment I've read on here.

    • WindowsGUIcurse
      July 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      As a linux user I say Windows is cursed with a GUI/lack of CLI. You have a pile of functions but if the app in question doesn't have something to click on for what you need you can't do it at all (but I guess that's shielded from you because it's to complicated).
      For example - using the standard windows explorer I copy a pile of files and it's no option to just skip file that already exist, for that I need to run the "cursed" robocopy command.

    • Mahmoud Hesham
      March 5, 2015 at 10:04 am

      hey guys .. it is a good tutorial

  76. Pieter
    July 25, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Switch to Powershell if you want to get even more use out of the Windows Command prompt (if you're using Windows 8 it should already be available). It does everything the normal command prompt does, but it comes with a complete scripting environment. This makes it easier to create tasks, but also means that everything a commmand returns is an Object in stead of just a string. This may sound like a nice gimmick, but it has made my job as a web developer so much easier (parsing giant log files, check every x minutes if a website is running, stuff like that).

    • likefunbutnot
      July 25, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      I use powershell every day, but it's not something I'd recommend to non-technical users.
      Working at the command prompt is probably asking a lot from people these days. Truthfully, there are gobs and gobs of great ways to handle scripting on Windows if that's something someone needs to do, but if it's an itch you need to scratch, you're probably a developer, IT guy or some sort of engineer and at that point there's no reason to advocate for it.

  77. Crazie Flawed N
    July 25, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    thanks. I know basic commands but I can never remember any of them

    • Muhammad Saadan
      May 2, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      don't remember that doesn't man ......
      One advice:
      Always keep ur feeling to ur-self

  78. Stewart Schatz
    July 25, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Great article! There were several commands that I hadn't heard of before. Because of a recent issue I ran into the ASSOC command really caught my eye. However, when looking at the command I found that it will only return the "filetype" and not "a full list of file extensions and the programs they’re connected with" which was stated. In order to get that information you must plugin the assigned "filetype" of the extension in question into the "ftype" command:

    C:>assoc .txt

    C:>ftype txtfile
    txtfile=%SystemRoot%system32NOTEPAD.EXE %1

    • Matt S
      July 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Hmm...when I use ASSOC, I end up with a list of things like .txt=txtfile,, etc. Is that not what you see? Or are we just thinking of different things?

  79. michel
    July 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    "it’s an antiquated and mostly unnecessary tool from an era of text-based input that has long passed". Unless you use Linux, then it's far superior and cutting edge. According to linux geeks.

    • Matthew
      July 26, 2014 at 3:15 am

      Yeah, I'm pretty sure he's referring just to Windows here, otherwise this is some hardcore bait. As a compsci student I've seen a lot of guys come into my program with that same sentiment towards the commandline -- I didn't see them around for long.

    • CLItothemasses
      July 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      command line or non gui things does have it's place in Windows also. Powershell doesn't exist without a reason.
      If we go by the masses that only use the desktop for email, some documents and internet browsing then cli isn't needed (and they can replace their desktop with a tablet) but as soon as you need a little more than basic usage you need CLI, like on servers where powershell is used for a lot of repetitive task, configurations, setups, cleanup, management.

    • pmshah
      July 29, 2014 at 2:54 am

      You are mistaken. There is a whole plethora of commands and switches just under one particular command - netsh - which I use very frequently and everyday to automatically configure my dual NIC system.

      One might be better off adding Take Command LE, Sysinternals's command line utilities, Nir Sophers's freeware just to name a few. But then that is the problem with most of the current crop of users who have probably never heard of DOS. Well I have been using it since version 3.0, NDOS, 4DOS and 4NT.

  80. vferg
    July 25, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I use the nbtstat command for looking up names of computers on your network. Comes in handy and goes hand and hand for me when using ping more than half the time. Another big one that gives tons of great uses is the wmic command that will allow A TON of functionality as long as you get the proper command down to do what you need to.

    The first one you mentioned, ASSOC, you can really just use within windows already which I find way easier than command line. I know its in a different location within XP but support is dead so here is the location within windows 7 Control PanelAll Control Panel ItemsDefault ProgramsSet Associations.

    I love tasklist and taskkill for use with remote PC's. Especially when you take control of a users computer and see they may be watching a youtube video or on facebook. Instead of informing them that they shouldn't be there I kill the process remotely and they have no idea what just happened.

    Thanks for a few others I have yet to use though, I will have to try them out!