Windows Server 2003 – Command Line Tools

Here is a collection of my favourite Windows Server 2003 command line tools.  My aim is to offer variety, and I hope you will un-earth at least one utility you had not considered.

Ten Tools to Run from the Command Line


1) GPupdate – Refreshes Group Policy

The number one question I get asked about Group Policies is ‘Why won’t they work when I set them up perfectly?’  My answer is, run GPupdate.  Result: Bingo, now they work – very satisfying.

2) WHERE – A command line tool.

When you are at the command prompt you may need to find files.  Try Where, for example, Where /r e:\ *.log

Notes: The /r means ‘keep on looking’.  Observe the space between /r and e:\ and also the space between e:\ and *.log.  Where is flexible, and will search for any file pattern that you can think of, for example, *.ini or W*.inf.

3) Systeminfo – pipe O/S details to a text file

This command gives you a hard copy of the information displayed in System Information (Accessories).  From the command prompt type: Systeminfo > server.txt  Then Notepad server.txt lets you read the data captured.   The > ‘greater than’ is an old trick to redirect information from the screen into a file.

Engineer's Toolset v10Guy Recommends: SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset v10

This Engineer’s Toolset v10 provides a comprehensive console of 50 utilities for troubleshooting computer problems.  Guy says it helps me monitor what’s occurring on the network, and each tool teaches me more about how the underlying system operates.

There are so many good gadgets; it’s like having free rein of a sweetshop.  Thankfully the utilities are displayed logically: monitoring, network discovery, diagnostic, and Cisco tools.  Try the SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset now!

Download your fully functional trial copy of the Engineer’s Toolset v10

4) CSVDE – Scripting tool

Ideal for importing and exporting user accounts to and from Active Directory.  See more about CSVDE here

5) LDIFDE – Another scripting tool.

Similar to CSVDE, but also allows passwords to be imported using the unicodePwd attribute.  See more about LDIFDE here.

6) CMDCons – Winnt32 /cmdcons (Needs server CD)

Take a minute to install this command line program.  It will be a life saver should you system fail to boot.  Install CMDCons and practice copying files, just in case you get a server that will not start because of a corrupted file.

7) IPCONFIG /flushdns

Way back, this classic Windows Server 2003 command line tool solved a thorny connectivity problem I had with DNS and Exchange 2000.  Discover more new useful switches with Ipconfig /?

Guy Recommends:  A Free Trial of the Network Performance Monitor (NPM)Review of Orion NPM v12 v12

SolarWinds’ Network Performance Monitor will help you discover what’s happening on your network.  This utility will also guide you through troubleshooting; the dashboard will indicate whether the root cause is a broken link, faulty equipment or resource overload.

Perhaps the NPM’s best feature is the way it suggests solutions to network problems.  Its second best feature is the ability to monitor the health of individual VMware virtual machines.  If you are interested in troubleshooting, and creating network maps, then I recommend that you give this Network Performance Monitor a try.

Download your free trial of SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor.

8) Robocopy – another gem from the resource kit.CMDhere dos utility

Robust copy is the last word in command line copying.  The syntax can be demanding so store the commands in a batch file.  Download Robocopy here.

9) CMDHere – from the resource kit.

Imagine you are using explorer.  Suddenly, you need to open a folder in a ‘DOS Box.  It is frustrating to run CMD, change directory about 7 times before you navigate to the right folder.  Install CMDHere and make it one click to your ‘DOS Box’.  See Diagram 1.  Download CMDHere

10) PathPing – Ping’s big brother.

Handy for testing intermittent connections.  PathPing works like ping except it echo-locates for 25 seconds and reports the percentage of lost packets.  As a bonus, PathPing shows you the hops rather like a tracert printout.

Summary Windows Server 2003 Command Line Tools

These ten command line tools have served me well down the years, please send me your collection

Guy Recommends 3 Free Active Directory ToolsDownload Solarwinds Active Directory Administration Tool

SolarWinds have produced three Active Directory add-ons.  These free utilities have been approved by Microsoft, and will help to manage your domain by:

  1. Seeking and zapping unwanted user accounts.
  2. Finding inactive computers.
  3. Bulk-importing new users.  Give this AD utility a try, it’s free!

Download your FREE Active Directory administration tools.

If you like this page then please share it with your friends


Related Windows Server 2003 Topics:

Windows Command Line Tools   • Windows Server 2003 Tips   • Windows Server 2003 Services

Unhide Settings   • Exchange System Manager   • WSUS Server 2003