One of the most useful tools in Windows is CMD. Text commands allow you to perform both simple and complex operations. What can the command line do for you? What are the most popular console commands?
CMD commands – what is the command line?
The command line (sometimes also called a terminal, CMD command line, or just CMD line) is a tool built into Windows. It allows you to perform both basic and more advanced system operations using well-formed text commands. CMD commands are often used by experienced computer users, but there are a few basic commands you should know – they can speed things up even for laymen.
The command line of Windows 10 and any previous version of the Microsoft operating system does not require installation, and this is because it is an integral part of it. CMD equivalents also exist in other commonly used computer systems – users of various Linux or macOS distributions can use text commands thanks to the terminal.
How to enable the CMD command line?
How to start a terminal in Windows? There are several ways to do this. The most obvious method is to look for the tool among the available programs. To do this, open the Start (lower left corner of the screen), find the System, and then select Command Prompt.
It is worth remembering to turn on the terminal in administrator mode, which will allow you to operate with more advanced commands. To do this, right-click Command Prompt and then point to Run as administrator.
The command line can also be launched much faster without having to click through the menu. Just use the search engine. To do this, go to the Start in the search field Command Prompt or CMD. Pressing the Enter key should cause that after a while we will see a characteristic black window on the screen, ready to enter text commands.
An even faster method of opening the CMD command prompt is to use a keyboard shortcut. In Windows 10, all you need to do is press the Windows + X buttons simultaneously to bring up a pop-up menu of advanced tools. The same effect can be achieved by right-clicking on the Start in the lower left corner of the screen. After that, all you have to do is select the Command Prompt (administrator).
The most useful CMD commands
Advanced computer users know the command prompt very well. Text commands are a powerful tool that enables easy and intuitive control of the Windows system. While most of the options offered by the terminal are also available from the graphical interface, some people find it faster and more convenient to enter commands manually rather than going from one menu to the next. What commands should you know?
Changing Folder / Directory
Navigating between directories is one of the most important skills that you should master to be able to use the Windows Terminal freely. The commands for moving between folders are actually DOS commands, i.e. those that are known from the days of MS-DOS released in 1981 and initially being a text environment. Knowledge of these basic commands makes it possible, for example, to play games on emulators of old operating systems.
How do I switch between directories using the command line? The commands that are most useful are dir, cd, md, rd and del. How to use them? After starting the console, you should first select a partition (drive). You just need to type its letter and colon on the command line, and then press Enter. For example, to go to the partition marked with the letter D, type D: and confirm the selection with Enter in the CMD terminal. Changing the drive will be confirmed by the symbols D:\ in front of the command input field.
How to use commands for directory operations?
- dir – after entering this command and confirming it with Enter see the contents of the directory you are currently in;
- cd folder_name – this command will take you to the directory with the given name, but it must be contained in the folder you are currently in. The cd.. you return to the parent directory;
- md directory_name – creates a new folder with the given name in the directory where you are currently located;
- rd directory_name – delete a folder with the given name;
- del filename – delete a file (not a directory) with the given name.
Checking the IP address
Checking the IP address can be useful when you want to configure your network devices or simply check how other Internet users “see you”. You can perform the task using the Windows terminal and the simple ipconfig. After entering it, you will see information about your network connections, as well as IPv4, IPv6 address and subnet mask or default gateway.
Related: What is an IP address? How to find it? Definition and guide
Windows 10 has several useful tools that can help you fight a variety of threats. One of them is Windows Defender, which is built-in anti-malware software by default. The application allows you to quickly scan your system for dangers. You can start it easily from the console by typing the command: “% ProgramFiles% \ Windows Defender \ MpCmdRun.exe” -Scan -ScanType 1. Replacing the last argument (-ScanType 1) with -ScanType 2 will perform a more thorough scan.
Useful functions are also offered by the SFC (System File Checker) tool which scans the system for faulty files and replaces them with new ones. To run a full computer scan, enter the command in CMD: sfc / scannow. In case of severe damage, it may be necessary to insert a repair or installation media into the drive. SFC is useful for repairing damage caused by viruses and other types of malware.
Interesting CMD commands include launching programs from the command line. Why should you know how to do this? The skill may be useful, for example, if you want to run an older game that requires the use of an MS-DOS emulator. In this case, to run the program through the console, you should use the command: partition \ path \ application.exe. Here is an example of using the command for a file that is located on the user’s desktop named Administrator: C: \ Users \ Administrator \ Desktop \ application.exe.
Automatically shutting down the computer
Shutting down or restarting Windows with a text command allows you to enter additional options, such as executing the command only after a certain time. How do I turn off my computer? CMD shutdown operation is determined by various arguments:
- shutdown / s – shutdown Windows;
- shutdown / r – restart the computer;
- shutdown / f – immediate shutdown of all applications and Windows;
- shutdown / s / t [number_seconds] – shutdown the system after a specified number of seconds;
- shutdown / a – cancel previously entered shutdown.
CMD system recovery image creation – disk management commands
Regular backup of Windows is one of the most important activities that you should do in case of computer failure. How to make a so-called “backup”? Connect the USB drive on which you want to store the backup to the computer. Remember that there must be plenty of free space on it. Run the CMD command line and enter the following command: WBadmin start backup -BackupTarget: E: -Include: C: (this command applies to the situation where the USB device is marked with the letter E and the C drive is the system partition).
When asked to confirm your choice, enter the letter Y in the console and confirm it with Enter. The WBAdmin utility will save your system backup to a USB stick, which you can now store in a safe place. However, WBAdmin is not the only useful terminal option. Another is Chkdsk. These commands allow advanced disk management and error recovery. How to use them ?:
- chkdsk [drive] – disk checking (eg chkdsk C :);
- chkdsk [drive] / F – bug fixes;
- chkdsk [drive] / R – Locating bad sectors and restoring information (includes / F).
It is worth remembering that the Chkdsk utility is only able to work when the disk is not in use, and scanning and fixing errors can take from several minutes to multiple hours (depending on the amount of data saved). Therefore, before using Chkdsk , make sure that you do not plan to use the computer for an extended period of time and that all applications are closed.
Network commands in the CMD
The command line allows you to use basic and advanced network and user-specific options, among other things. Here are some useful commands you should know:
- net user – allows you to manage local accounts. For example, net user username / add adds a new account with the given name, and net user username username password sets the password for the user with the given name. For more net user functions, enter net user /? in the console – thanks to this you will learn all the available command options;
- ipconfig – displays the current configuration of TCP / IP protocols (including the computer’s IP address, but not only);
- hostname – shows the name of the machine;
- ping IP_address or host_name – a test data packet is sent to the specified IP address (or website address), so you can test your Internet connection;
- tracert IP_address or host_name – displays IP addresses intermediating in sending packets between your device and the indicated recipient;
- getmac – displays the MAC address of the device’s network adapter.
General commands and commands
The Windows command prompt also allows you to work with numerous “general” commands. For example, the phrase time / t displays the current time of the system (the word time allows you to change the time).are also useful commands Tasklist and taskkill. The first one displays a list of processes taking place in the system. The second (taskkill process_name) terminates the process immediately, which can be useful, for example, when the system hangs.
The Windows console is able to perform even such advanced actions as disk formatting. CMD has a special command for this, namely format. For example, the phrase format d: / FS: NTFS will cause the D: partition to be formatted and new files to be saved in the NTFS system. Warning! This command causes the loss of data stored on the disk and should only be used by experienced users.
CMD command line – it’s very easy!
As you can see, CMD Windows command line offers a lot of functions – both basic and more advanced. Command proficiency is not necessary for efficient computer use, but it is worth knowing at least a few of the simplest commands. If you have doubts about how to use a given command, remember to enter the phrase /? (eg shutdown /?) displays the available options. Thanks to this, you can always check how to modify the operation of a given command.
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It would seem that time for issuing text commands when working with the operating system has passed a long time ago, since they are deeply hidden under the layers of graphical interface. In times when voice assistants, gesture control and virtual reality are becoming more and more important, typing anything on the keyboard makes sense? If it’s still faster and more convenient, of course.