Getting to Know Windows Command Line Utilities

Almost all users would agree that the Windows graphical user interface (GUI) has come a long way since the days of Windows 3.1. Having “evolved” from the days of the MS-DOS command line, graphical tools made it easier for less experienced users to manage their systems, perform maintenance tasks, and have certainly made using a PC much friendlier experience. Unfortunately, the popularity of the Windows GUI has led many users to forget about or ignore the command line completely.

Truth be told, Windows XP includes a number of powerful command line utilities that are well worth a second look. Many power users swear by this environment as a quicker way to perform common tasks, while all users will appreciate the ability to use these tools within batch files that can be scheduled to perform maintenance tasks automatically. In this mini-series we take a closer look at twenty of the most useful command line tools included with XP, outlining what they do and how they can make your life easier. When in doubt with a command, always use the /? switch to view information about available switches and proper syntax.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.