Windows computer troubleshooting using command lines
As Windows becomes more "graphical" one of the biggest pains of an IT professional is navigating to common tools when going from one operating system to another.
The answer quickly becomes, learn the Windows operating system command line short cuts for troubleshooting!
For instance, say you have a computer that does not appear to be connecting to the network. Go to a run line and type in "cmd" and there you go, the only interface you need, a command line.
Type in "ipconfig /all" and that tells you all you need to know about the network cards. Need to check a network card config, type in "ncpa.cpl" and the window that pops up gives you a quick access to your network cards. Do a right click on properties, and check your settings from there!
Play around with the command line tools listed below, and soon you will be able to say, "I don't need no stinking interface!"
If you have a mixed environment, say Windows XP and Windows 7, you soon notice that you can work much quicker simply using the command line tools, and not use the GUI (Graphic User Interface). Even if you are a casual computer user looking to do some home networking, you will soon find your answers to common configuration questions using these command line short cuts.
They even work in Windows 8
Most of the commands work in multiple operating systems from Windows 95, Windows XP, Windows 7, and yes even Windows 8!
If you have a Windows 8 computer take the time to check out using using command line utilities.
Go to the search in Windows 8 Metro and type cmd or cmd.exe. This can also be entered in Run, which can be launched in desktop mode by pressing the Windows key and R at the same time, to show the run command line and then enter "cmd" (without quotes).
Once the command shell is open, it looks pretty similar to previous versions.
Run commands are the executables for the programs you use in Windows. In other words, a run command is the name of the file that starts a program.
On the page that follows you will see many run command shortcuts for Windows operating system management. Items that end in an extension with .msc are Microsoft Management Console Snap-in's. Control Panel applets end with .cpl, represent various tools in Control Panel.
You can run most of these directly from the RUN line of the operating system, by pressing the Windows key and R at the same time, to show the run command line, and then typing in the name of the command.
Command Prompt Commands
Command Prompt commands are the command-line based programs that perform different functions like managing files and troubleshooting network connections.
The Command Prompt in Windows provides access to over 280 commands, and yes they even work in Windows 8. These commands are used to do certain operating system tasks from a command line interface instead of the graphical Windows interface we use most of the time.
Sometimes command line utilities are referred to as DOS commands. Technically DOS no longer exists. The modern Windows XP and newer operating systems refer to these utilities as Command Prompt commands
On the pages that follow we will take a look at common Run Commands and Command Prompt Commands that cam be used to troubleshoot and configure your computer.
Networking related Command Prompt commands like nslookup, ping, tracert, ipconfig, and netstat are discussed on a page discussing network troubleshooting.