Windows: Windows XP Command Line Tools

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You can examine the Windows XP command line tools by selecting Start Run, then typing:

hh.exe ntcmds.chm

This will start a help file that enumerates and gives details on all of the Windows XP command line tools. Most of these also apply to previous versions of Windows, such as Windows 2000.


Displays and modifies entries in the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) cache, which contains one or more tables that are used to store IP addresses and their resolved Ethernet or Token Ring physical addresses. There is a separate table for each Ethernet or Token Ring network adapter installed on your computer. Used without parameters, arp displays help.


Displays or modifies file name extension associations. Used without parameters, assoc displays a list of all the current file name extension associations.


Schedules commands and programs to run on a computer at a specified time and date. You can use at only when the Schedule service is running. Used without parameters, at lists scheduled commands.


Monitors connections and addresses that are registered by the ATM Call Manager on an asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) network. You can use atmadm to display statistics for incoming and outgoing calls on ATM adapters. Used without parameters, atmadm displays statistics for monitoring the status of active ATM connections.


Displays, sets, or removes the read-only, archive, system, and hidden attributes assigned to files or directories. Used without parameters, attrib displays attributes of all files in the current directory.

Batch files

With batch files, which are also called batch programs or scripts, you can simplify routine or repetitive tasks. A batch file is an unformatted text file that contains one or more commands and has a .bat or .cmd file name extension. When you type the file name at the command prompt, Cmd.exe runs the commands sequentially as they appear in the file.


Configures, queries, or changes Boot.ini file settings.

Break Windows XP does not use this command. It is accepted only for compatibility with MS-DOS files.

Displays or modifies discretionary access control list (DACL) files.


Calls one batch program from another without stopping the parent batch program. The call command accepts labels as the target of the call. Call has no effect at the command-line when used outside of a script or batch file.

Change Terminal Services change commands

Displays the number of the active console code page, or changes the console's active console code page. Used without parameters, chcp displays the number of the active console code page.


Displays the name of the current directory or changes the current folder. Used with only a drive letter (for example, chdir C:), chdir displays the names of the current drive and folder. Used without parameters, chdir displays the current drive and directory.


Creates and displays a status report for a disk based on the file system. Chkdsk also lists and corrects errors on the disk. Used without parameters, chkdsk displays the status of the disk in the current drive.


Displays or specifies whether automatic system checking is scheduled to be run on a FAT, FAT32, or NTFS volume when the computer is started.


Displays or alters the encryption of folders and files on NTFS volumes. Used without parameters, cipher displays the encryption state of the current folder and any files it contains.


Clears the Command Prompt window.


Starts a new instance of the command interpreter, Cmd.exe. Used without parameters, cmd displays Windows XP version and copyright information.


Installs or removes a Connection Manager service profile. Used without optional parameters, cmstp installs a service profile with default settings appropriate to the operating system and to the user's permissions.


Changes the Command Prompt window foreground and background colors for the current session. Used without parameters, color restores the default Command Prompt window foreground and background colors.


Compares the contents of two files or sets of files byte by byte. Comp can compare files on the same drive or on different drives, and in the same directory or in different directories. When comp compares the files, it displays their locations and file names. Used without parameters, comp prompts you to enter the files to compare.


Displays and alters the compression of files or directories on NTFS partitions. Used without parameters, compact displays the compression state of the current directory.


Converts FAT and FAT32 volumes to NTFS.


Copies one or more files from one location to another.


Cleans specified profiles of wasted space and, if user-specific file associations are disabled, removes these associations from the registry. Profiles that are currently in use are not modified.

CScript overview

Cscript.exe is a command-line version of the Windows Script Host that provides command-line options for setting script properties.


Displays the current system date setting. Used without parameters, date displays the current system date setting and prompts you to type a new date.


Locates and consolidates fragmented boot files, data files, and folders on local volumes.


Deletes specified files.


Displays a list of a directory's files and subdirectories. Used without parameters, dir displays the disk's volume label and serial number, followed by a list of directories and files on the disk, including their names and the date and time each was last modified. For files, dir displays the name extension and the size in bytes. Dir also displays the total number of files and directories listed, their cumulative size, and the free space (in bytes) remaining on the disk.


Compares the contents of two floppy disks. Used without parameters, diskcomp uses the current drive for both disks that you want to compare.


Copies the contents of the floppy disk in the source drive to a formatted or unformatted floppy disk in the destination drive. Used without parameters, diskcopy uses the current drive for the source disk and the destination disk.


DiskPart.exe is a text-mode command interpreter that enables you to manage objects (disks, partitions, or volumes) by using scripts or direct input from a command prompt. Before you can use DiskPart.exe commands on a disk, partition, or volume, you must first list and then select the object to give it focus. When an object has focus, any DiskPart.exe commands that you type act on that object.


Calls Doskey.exe, which recalls Windows XP commands, edits command lines, and creates macros.


Displays a list of all installed device drivers and their properties.


Turns the command-echoing feature on or off, or displays a message. Used without parameters, echo displays the current echo setting.


Ends localization of environment changes in a batch file, restoring environment variables to their values before the matching setlocal command.


Enables an administrator to create a custom event in a specified event log.


Lists the events and event properties from one or more event logs.


Displays and configures event triggers on local or remote machines.


Configures the translation of events to traps, trap destinations, or both based on information in a configuration file.


Exits the current batch script or the Cmd.exe program (that is, the command interpreter) and returns to the program that started Cmd.exe or to the Program Manager.


Expands one or more compressed files. This command is used to retrieve compressed files from distribution disks.


Compares two files and displays the differences between them.

Filter commands

Used in conjunction with the command redirection pipe character (|), a command filter is a command within a command that reads the command's input, transforms the input, and then writes the output. Filter commands help you sort, view, and select parts of a command output.


Searches for a specific string of text in a file or files. After searching the specified file or files, find displays any lines of text that contain the specified string.


Searches for patterns of text in files using regular expressions.


Displays information about a user or users on a specified remote computer (typically a computer running UNIX) that is running the Finger service or daemon. The remote computer specifies the format and output of the user information display. Used without parameters, finger displays help.


Enables or disables flat temporary folders.


Runs a specified command for each file in a set of files.


Formats the disk in the specified volume to accept Windows files.


Fsutil is a command-line utility that you can use to perform many FAT and NTFS file system related tasks, such as managing reparse points, managing sparse files, dismounting a volume, or extending a volume. Because fsutil is quite powerful, it should only be used by advanced users who have a thorough knowledge of Windows XP. In addition, you must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to use fsutil.


Transfers files to and from a computer running a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server service such as Internet Information Services. Ftp can be used interactively or in batch mode by processing ASCII text files.

Ftp subcommands

Displays or modifies file types used in file name extension associations. Used without parameters, ftype displays the file types that have open command strings defined.


Returns the media access control (MAC) address and list of network protocols associated with each address for all network cards in each computer, either locally or across a network.


Within a batch program, directs Windows XP to a line identified by a label. When the label is found, it processes the commands that begin on the next line.


Displays Group Policy settings and Resultant Set of Policy (RSOP) for a user or a computer.


Refreshes local and Active Directory–based Group Policy settings, including security settings. This command supersedes the now obsolete /refreshpolicy option for the secedit command.

Graftabl Enables the ability to display an extended character set in graphics mode.

Provides online information about system commands (that is, non-network commands). Used without parameters, help lists and briefly describes every system command.


Starts Help and Support Center. Used without parameters, helpctr displays the Help and Support Center home page.


Displays the host name portion of the full computer name of the computer.


Performs conditional processing in batch programs.


Displays all current TCP/IP network configuration values and refreshes Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Domain Name System (DNS) settings. Used without parameters, ipconfig displays the IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway for all adapters.


Configures Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) policies in a directory service or in a local or remote registry. Ipseccmd is a command-line alternative to the IP Security Policies Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in. Ipseccmd has three modes: dynamic mode, static mode, and query mode.


Displays and modifies information about the routing tables used by the IPX protocol. Used without parameters, ipxroute displays the default settings for packets that are sent to unknown, broadcast, and multicast addresses.


Sends files over an infrared link. Used without parameters or used with /s, irftp opens the Wireless Link dialog box, where you can select the files that you want to send without using the command line.


Creates, changes, or deletes the volume label (that is, the name) of a disk. Used without parameters, label changes the current volume label or deletes the existing label.


Registers new Performance counter names and Explain text for a service or device driver, and saves and restores counter settings and Explain text.


Manages and schedules performance counter and event trace log collections on local and remote systems.


Displays the status of a print queue on a computer running Line Printer Daemon (LPD). Used without parameters, lpq displays command-line help for the lpq command.


Sends a file to a computer running Line Printer Daemon (LPD) in preparation for printing. Used without parameters, lpr displays command-line help for the lpr command.


Use the macfile commands at the command prompt to manage File Server for Macintosh servers, volumes, directories, and files. You can automate administrative tasks by including a series of commands in batch files and starting them manually or at predetermined times.

Mkdir (md)

Creates a directory or subdirectory.


Opens Microsoft Management Console (MMC). Using the mmc command-line options, you can open a specific MMC console, open MMC in author mode, or specify that the 32-bit or 64-bit version of MMC is opened..

Mode Displays system status, changes system settings, or reconfigures ports or devices. Used without parameters, mode displays all the controllable attributes of the console and the available COM devices. Because you can use mode to perform many different tasks, the syntax you need to use to carry out each task is different.

Displays one screen of output at a time.


Creates, deletes, or lists a volume mount point. Mountvol is a way to link volumes without requiring a drive letter.


Moves one or more files from one directory to the specified directory.

MS-DOS subsystem configuration commands Windows XP includes 16-bit commands (nonnative) for the MS-DOS subsystem and other subsystems. These include older commands, such as edlin or graphics, and MS-DOS-specific commands, such as debug or exe2bin. These 16-bit commands are included to maintain MS-DOS and MS OS/2 version 1.x compatibility.

Other MS-DOS subsystem commands, such as share, perform functions that are now inherent to Windows XP or the MS-DOS subsystem. The commands are accepted to preserve compatibility with existing files, but they have no effect at the command line because the functionality is automatic.


Provides the means to install, modify, and perform operations on Windows Installer from the command line.


Displays a comprehensive view of your hardware, system components, and software environment.


Displays NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NetBT) protocol statistics, NetBIOS name tables for both the local computer and remote computers, and the NetBIOS name cache. Nbtstat allows a refresh of the NetBIOS name cache and the names registered with Windows Internet Name Service (WINS). Used without parameters, nbtstat displays help.

Net services overview Many services use networking commands that begin with the word net.
Net services commands Net services commands
Netsh command overview

Netsh is a command-line scripting utility that allows you to, either locally or remotely, display or modify the network configuration of a computer that is currently running. Netsh also provides a scripting feature that allows you to run a group of commands in batch mode against a specified computer. Netsh can also save a configuration script in a text file for archival purposes or to help you configure other servers.

Netsh commands for AAAA

You can use commands in the Netsh AAAA context to show and set the configuration of the authentication, authorization, accounting, and auditing (AAAA) database used by the Internet Authentication Service (IAS) and the Routing and Remote Access service. The AAAA database is also known as the IAS database (Ias.mdb). The primary use of commands in the Netsh AAAA context is to export the configuration of one IAS server as a Netsh script and then to import that configuration using the netsh exec command on another IAS server.

Netsh commands for DHCP The Netsh commands for DHCP offer a command-line tool that helps with the administration of DHCP servers and provides an equivalent alternative to console-based management.
Netsh diagnostic (diag) commands You can use the Netsh Network Diagnostics commands, or diag context, to administer and troubleshoot operating system and network service parameters from the command line.
Netsh commands for Interface IP

You can use commands in the Netsh Interface IP context to configure the TCP/IP protocol (including addresses, default gateways, DNS servers, and WINS servers) and to display configuration and statistical information.

Netsh commands for RAS

You can administer remote access servers by typing commands at the command prompt for the Netsh RAS context. By using the Netsh RAS command prompt, you can administer servers more quickly over slow network connections, and you can create scripts that automate the administration of many servers.

Netsh commands for Routing You can use the Netsh commands for Routing to administer routing servers from the command line, rather than through the Routing and Remote Access console.
Netsh commands for WINS The Netsh commands for WINS offer a command-line tool for administering WINS servers that can be used as an equivalent alternative to console-based management.

Displays active TCP connections, ports on which the computer is listening, Ethernet statistics, the IP routing table, IPv4 statistics (for the IP, ICMP, TCP, and UDP protocols), and IPv6 statistics (for the IPv6, ICMPv6, TCP over IPv6, and UDP over IPv6 protocols). Used without parameters, netstat displays active TCP connections.


Displays information that you can use to diagnose Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure. Before using this tool, you should be familiar with how DNS works. The Nslookup command-line tool is available only if you have installed the TCP/IP protocol.

Nslookup subcommands

Perform backup operations at a command prompt or from a batch file using the ntbackup command followed by various parameters.


Runs the command interpreter Cmd.exe, rather than, after running a TSR or after starting the command prompt from within an MS-DOS application.


Ntsd is included as a courtesy to software developers. Only system developers should use this command. For more information, see the help file included with NTSD.


Queries or displays open files. Also queries, displays, or disconnects files opened by network users.


Enables an administrator to display and configure a system's paging file Virtual Memory settings.


Sets the command path in the PATH environment variable, which is the set of directories used to search for executable files. Used without parameters, path displays the current command path.


Provides information about network latency and network loss at intermediate hops between a source and destination. Pathping sends multiple Echo Request messages to each router between a source and destination over a period of time and then computes results based on the packets returned from each router. Because pathping displays the degree of packet loss at any given router or link, you can determine which routers or subnets might be having network problems. Pathping performs the equivalent of the tracert command by identifying which routers are on the path. It then sends pings periodically to all of the routers over a specified time period and computes statistics based on the number returned from each. Used without parameters, pathping displays help.


Suspends processing of a batch program and displays a message prompting the user to press any key to continue.


Administers phone books. Used without parameters, pbadmin starts Phone Book Administrator.


Detects floating point division error (if present) in the Pentium chip, disables floating point hardware, and turns on floating point emulation.


Allows you to open a Windows XP Performance console configured with settings files from Windows NT 4.0 version of Performance Monitor.


Verifies IP-level connectivity to another TCP/IP computer by sending Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) Echo Request messages. The receipt of corresponding Echo Reply messages are displayed, along with round-trip times. Ping is the primary TCP/IP command used to troubleshoot connectivity, reachability, and name resolution. Used without parameters, ping displays help.


Changes the current directory to the directory stored by the pushd command.


Sends a text file to a printer.


Configures or displays configuration information about a printer. Used without parameters, prncnfg.vbs displays command-line help for the prncnfg.vbs command.


Adds, deletes, and lists printer drivers. Used without parameters, prndrvr.vbs displays command-line help for the prndrvr.vbs command.


Pauses, resumes, cancels, and lists print jobs. Used without parameters, prnjobs.vbs displays command-line help for the prnjobs.vbs command.


Adds, deletes, and lists printers or printer connections, in addition to setting and displaying the default printer. Used without parameters, prnmngr.vbs displays command-line help for the prnmngr.vbs command.


Creates, deletes, and lists standard TCP/IP printer ports, in addition to displaying and changing port configuration. Used without parameters, prnport.vbs displays help for the prnport.vbs command.


Prints a test page, pauses or resumes a printer, and clears a printer queue. Used without parameters, prnqctl.vbs displays command-line help for the prnqctl.vbs command.


Changes the Cmd.exe prompt. Used without parameters, prompt resets the command prompt to the default setting, the current drive letter followed by the current directory and a greater-than symbol (>).


Stores the name of the current directory for use by the popd command before changing the current directory to the specified directory.

Query Terminal Services query commands

Automates the connection process for any Microsoft client. Used without options, rasdial displays the status of current connections.


Copies files between a Windows XP computer and a system running rshd, the remote shell service (daemon). Windows XP and Windows 2000 do not provide rshd service. Used without parameters, rcp displays help.


Recovers readable information from a bad or defective disk.

Redirection operators

You can use redirection operators to redirect command input and output streams from the default locations to different locations. The input or output stream location is referred to as a handle.


Adds, changes, and displays registry subkey information and values in registry entries.


This command-line tool registers .dll files as command components in the registry.


Extracts performance counters from performance counter logs into other formats, such as text-TSV (for tab-delimited text), text-CSV (for comma-delimited text), binary-BIN, or SQL.


Enables you to include comments (remarks) in a batch file or in your configuration files.


Changes the name of a file or a set of files.


Replaces files in the destination directory with files in the source directory that have the same name. You can also use replace to add unique file names to the destination directory.

Reset session

Enables you to reset (delete) a session from the terminal server.


Runs commands on remote computers running the Rexec service (daemon). The rexec command authenticates the user name on the remote computer before executing the specified command. Windows XP and Windows 2000 do not provide the Rexec service. Used without parameters, rexec displays help.

Rmdir (rd)

Removes (that is, deletes) a directory.


Displays and modifies the entries in the local IP routing table. Used without parameters, route displays help.


Runs commands on remote computers running the RSH service or daemon. Windows XP and Windows 2000 do not provide an RSH service. An RSH service called Rshsvc.exe is provided with the Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit. Used without parameters, rsh displays help.


Manages media resources using Removable Storage. Using the rsm command, you can run batch scripts for applications that do not currently support the Removable Storage API.


Allows a user to run specific tools and programs with different permissions than the user's current logon provides.


Communicates with the Service Controller and installed services. SC.exe retrieves and sets control information about services. You can use SC.exe for testing and debugging service programs. Service properties stored in the registry can be set to control how service applications are started at boot time and run as background processes. SC.exe parameters can configure a specific service, retrieve the current status of a service, as well as stop and start a service. You can create batch files that call various SC.exe commands to automate the startup or shutdown sequence of services. SC.exe provides capabilities similar to Services in the Administrative Tools item in Control Panel.


Schedules commands and programs to run periodically or at a specific time. Adds and removes tasks from the schedule, starts and stops tasks on demand, and displays and changes scheduled tasks.


Configures and analyzes system security by comparing your current configuration to at least one template.


Displays, sets, or removes environment variables. Used without parameters, set displays the current environment settings.


Starts localization of environment variables in a batch file. Localization continues until a matching endlocal command is encountered or the end of the batch file is reached.


Changes the position of batch parameters in a batch file.


Allows you to shut down or restart a local or remote computer. Used without parameters, shutdown will logoff the current user.


Reads input, sorts data, and writes the results to the screen, to a file, or to another device


Starts a separate Command Prompt window to run a specified program or command. Used without parameters, start opens a second command prompt window.


Associates a path with a drive letter. Used without parameters, subst displays the names of the virtual drives in effect.


Displays detailed configuration information about a computer and its operating system, including operating system configuration, security information, product ID, and hardware properties, such as RAM, disk space, and network cards.

System File Checker (sfc)

Scans and verifies the versions of all protected system files after you restart your computer.


Ends one or more tasks or processes. Processes can be killed by process ID or image name.


Displays a list of applications and services with their Process ID (PID) for all tasks running on either a local or a remote computer.


Sets up or disables the TAPI client.

TCP/IP utilities and services

TCP/IP utilities offer network connections to other computers, such as UNIX workstations. You must have the TCP/IP network protocol installed to use the TCP/IP utilities. For information about starting TCP/IP services from the command prompt, see Net start<. For information about stopping TCP/IP services from the command prompt, see Net stop<.

Telnet commands

The telnet commands allow you to communicate with a remote computer that is using the Telnet protocol. You can run telnet without parameters in order to enter the telnet context, indicated by the Telnet prompt (telnet>). From the Telnet prompt, use the following commands to manage a computer running Telnet Client.

Terminal Services commands

Transfers files to and from a remote computer, typically a computer running UNIX, that is running the Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) service or daemon. Used without parameters, tftp displays help.


Displays or sets the system time. Used without parameters, time displays the system time and prompts you to enter a new time.


Creates a title for the command prompt window.


Processes event trace logs or real-time data from instrumented event trace providers and allows you to generate trace analysis reports and CSV (comma-delimited) files for the events generated.


Determines the path taken to a destination by sending Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) Echo Request messages to the destination with incrementally increasing Time to Live (TTL) field values. The path displayed is the list of near-side router interfaces of the routers in the path between a source host and a destination. The near-side interface is the interface of the router that is closest to the sending host in the path. Used without parameters, tracert displays help.


Graphically displays the directory structure of a path or of the disk in a drive.


Displays the contents of a text file. Use the type command to view a text file without modifying it.


Writes performance counter data to the command window, or to a supported log file format. To stop Typeperf, press CTRL+C.


Removes Performance counter names and Explain text for a service or device driver from the system registry.


Displays the Windows XP version number.

Verify Windows XP does not use this command. It is accepted only for compatibility with MS-DOS files.

Displays the disk volume label and serial number, if they exist. A serial number is displayed for a disk formatted with MS-DOS version 4.0 or later.


Displays current volume shadow copy backups and all installed shadow copy writers and providers in the command window.


A tool used to diagnose problems occuring with Windows Time


Performs an installation of or upgrade to Windows XP. If you have hardware that is compatible with Windows XP, you can run winnt at a Windows 3.x or MS-DOS command prompt.


Performs an installation of or upgrade to Windows XP. You can run winnt32 at the command prompt on a computer running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows NT, Windows 2000, or Windows XP.

WMIC overview

The Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC) is a command-line and scripting interface that simplifies the use of Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and systems managed through WMI.


Copies files and directories, including subdirectories.