‘Not-So-Well-Known’ Windows XP & 2000 Repair Commands

Here is a list of mostly unknown WindowsXP and Windows 2000 commands that are useful for repairing PCs that will make linux users feel at home using command prompt.

    • bootcfg (XP only)
      This utility allows you to set up your boot options, such as your default OS and other loading options.
    • cacls (XP, 2000, & NT4.0)
      Changes the ACLs (security Settings) of files and folders. Very similar to chmod in Linux.
    • contig (works with NT4.0 and newer)
      A great defrag utility for NTFS partitions
    • control (XP only) – not published in the Microsoft list
      Allows you to launch control panel applets from the command line.
      control userpasswords2, for example will launch a helpful local user admin utility.
    • defrag (XP only – NT4.0 and Win2k use contig)
      Yes, XP comes with a command line disk defrag utility. If you are running Win2k or NT4.0 there is still hope. Contig is a free defrag program that I describe on the defrag page.
    • diskpart (XP only)
      Use this command to manage your disk partitions. This is the text version for the GUI Disk Manager.
    • driverquery (XP only)
      Produces a list of drivers, their properties, and their versions. Great for computer documentation.
    • getmac (XP & 2000)
      This command gets the Media Access Control (MAC) address of your network cards.
    • gpresult (XP & 2000)
      This generates a summary of the user settings and computer group policy settings.
    • gpupdate (XP only)
      Use this utility to manually apply computer and user policy from your windows 2000 (or newer) domain.
    • ipconfig (XP, 2000 & NT4.0)
      This handy tool displays IP settings of the current computer and much more.
    • MMC (XP, 2000 & NT4.0) – Microsoft Management Console
      This is the master tool for Windows, it is the main interface in which all other tools use starting primarily in Windows 2000 and newer systems.
    • more
      Utility used to display text output one screen at a time. Ex. more c:\windows\win.ini

  • msconfig (XP only)
    The ultimate tool to change the services and utilities that start when your Windows machine boots up. You can also copy the executable from XP and use it in Win2k.
  • msinfo32 (XP &smp; 2000)
    An awesome diagnostic tool. With it you can get a list of running processes, including the residing path of the executable (great for manually removing malware) and get detailed information about hardware and system diagnostics.
  • openfiles (XP Only)
    Allows an administrator to display or disconnect open files in XP professional. Type “openfiles /?” for a list of possible parameters.
  • Pathping (XP & 2000)
    A cross between the ping and traceroute utilities. Who needs Neotrace when you can use this? Type “pathping ” and watch it go.
  • recover (XP & 2000)
    This command can recover readable information from a damaged disk and is very easy to use.
  • reg (XP & 2000)
    A console registry tool, great for scripting Registry edits.
  • sc (XP & 2000)
    A command line utility called the Service Controller. A power tool to make service changes via a logon/logoff or startup/shutdown script.
  • sfc (XP & 2000)
    The system file checker scans important system files and replaces the ones you (or your applications) hacked beyond repair with the real, official Microsoft versions.
  • shutdown (XP & 2000)
    With this tool, You can shut down or restart your own computer, or an administrator can shut down or restart a remote computer.
  • sigverif (XP only)
    Microsoft has created driver signatures. A signed driver is Microsoft tested and approved. With the sigverif tool you can have all driver files analyzed to verify that they are digitally signed. Just type ‘sigverif’ at the command prompt.
  • systeminfo (XP only)
    Basic system configuration information, such as the system type, the processor type, time zone, virtual memory settings, system uptime, and much more. This program is great for creating an inventory of computers on your network.
  • tasklist (XP pro only)
    Tasklist is the command console equivalent to the task manager in windows. It is a must have when fighting scumware and viruses. Try the command:
    tasklist /svc
    to view the memory resources your services take up.
  • taskkill (XP only)
    Taskkill contains the rest of the task manager functionality. It allows you to kill those unneeded or locked up applications.
  • tree (XP & 2000)
    An amazing experience everyone should try! This command will provide a ‘family tree’ style display of the drive/folder you specify.
  • WMIC (XP & 2000)
    Windows Management Instrumentation Command tool. This allows you to pull an amazing amount of low-level system information from a command line scripting interface.

This list is just limited to things that would be useful in a typical onsite-computer repair enviroment. A much more comprehesive list can be found on the offical webpage:
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/ntcmds.mspx



Bryce Whitty

About the Author

Bryce Whitty
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Bryce is an Australian computer technician and the founder of Technibble. He started his computer repair business when he was 17 years old and is still running it 9 years later. He is an avid traveller and spends at least a month of the year in another country.

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