Free Windows Command Reference
Thursday, 21 October 2010

Windows commands are still important in scripts and sometimes they are the only way to fix a configuration problem. A free download from Microsoft makes finding the command you need easier.

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Windows commands are still essential for many jobs but the big problem is that they have tended to grow in number without much logic. It is often the case that you spend time trying to solve a problem only to discover that the solution depends on some obscure, until now, command.

Microsoft have just made available a useful tool in trying to keep commands under control - a chm help file. If you download it then it just works. If it doesn't then remember to unblock it - right click on the file, select properties and then Unblock.

The commands are listed alphabetically but there is a section that also lists them by technology. In the version I downloaded some of these sections are not complete. In most cases it is the search facility that is most useful. There is a live web version of the same information but it tends to not work and it's more difficult to search.

 

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I've already found that the help file has saved me time - for example I can never remember the command that configures the network time server. Searching on time lists the unlikely W32tm command - why it couldn't have been named TimeAdmin or something easy to find or even tagged on to the better known Net Time command.

You have to wonder why the Windows command system has been allowed to grow without much structure - commands seem to have been added as soon as a development group decided something was necessary without any attempt to organise or reuse what is already available.

The help file can be downloaded from: help file or search the Microsoft download site.

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