12 Useful Command Prompt Tricks You Should Know

You may be reluctant to open the command prompt thinking that you have to enter complicated commands to look for a file or run a program. The good news is that it is not as complicated as you think, and if you make good use of it, it can make your life easier and better.

You may be surprised as to how short the commands actually are. The following tips will help you get various things done with easy-to-remember commands.

When you “erase” your files on a mechanical hard drive, they are still there until that space is overwritten with new data. That can take some time, but with the command

random data is written over that space and make sure the files you deleted are really gone.

Changing your IP address can come in handy for various reasons. If you need to change yours, type

The first command will release your current IP address while the second command will get a new IP address for your machine.

Flushing your computer’s DNS can be used when a site changes its IP address so you’re not taken in the wrong direction. Type

and enjoy that clean start.

With the ping command you can find out if packets are being delivered to a device. Just type

or

(Replace the URL and IP ADDRESS in the command) and packets will be sent. If you get them back, you will know everything is working just fine. If not, there is obviously something getting in the way.

This is a useful command if you’re just getting to know the command prompt. Type

Replace “COMMAND” with the exact command you want to learn more information about. For example, to find out what the command ipconfig does, enter

The command prompt will show you the command and what it does.

If there are various commands you need to enter, this tip can save you some time. Just type  &&  between the commands and sit back and relax.

To scan and repair files on your computer, type

and hit Enter. The time this task will take will depend on how fast your computer is. This could easily take up to an hour or so.

command-scan

There are various things you can see on your computer with the powercfg  command. For example, by using the command

you can view your computer’s sleep states.

Powercfg can also let you do things such as:

  • powercfg /list  – Shows you all the power schemes in the current user’s environment
  • powercfg /energy – After observing your computer for 60 seconds it will create an HTML report with data on how power efficient your computer is.
  • powercfg /sleepstudy  – If your device supports InstantGo devices and applications, you can learn which ones are waking up your computer by using this command.
  • powercfg /query – Returns a power setting subgroup GUID.

Files are affiliated with a certain program in Windows. When you open a program, certain files are opened automatically. If you wish to associate these files with a program, you can use the  assoc command.

By typing assoc into the command prompt, you can see a list of program associations and file name extensions. Let’s say that you want the text files to be associated with something else, type:

(Replace “APPLICATION NAME” with the exact application name.)

If there a folder that have sensitive information, you can hide it by using this simple command. Type the drive where you have this file and then type

Then enter the name of the folder you want to hide.

Find out if you ever installed that driver by using the driverquery command. Hit Enter once you’ve typed it and you’ll see a list of every driver on your computer. You’ll see info such as Link date, Name, and Type.

command-driver

To see what folders you’ve shared, just type the command

and press Enter. The command will also show you their shared names.

With this command you can run any command as an administrator even if the person using the computer doesn’t have that privilege. Type

and after make some changes.

Add your real domain name and substitute administrator with the actual user name of a Domain Administrator. Change cmd with the command you want to try, and you can run as an administrator regardless of who’s logged in.

With these commands, using the command prompt is going to get a lot easier. What tricks would you add to the list? Leave a comment and let us know.

2 comments

  1. “systeminfo” is one I use a lot. It gets you OS build, original install date, manufacturermodel and boot time among other things. I probably use it the most to get boot time if I think a server rebooted recently. I also use it to show my boss that our critical financial server were put into service in 2004.

    “set” is another one I use often. It returns tons of info but I primarily use it for logon server to figure out which DC authenticated the user when troubleshooting authentication issues. “set l” (the letter L) will give you just the entries that start with L like logon server.

    “whoami” is a quick way to find out what account is logged in. I rarely used this until my current job which has a bunch of trusted domains. The start menu might say “John Smith” but you can never assume it’s john Smith from the parent domain. “whoami /groups” is a nice way to see the user’s groups from their PC.

  2. Great article (and comment, thanks Ted). I’ve been working and tinkering with Linux for years, but I still learn interesting and useful things from articles such as this. Thank you.

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