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
- 2) Where
- 3) SystemInfo
- 4) CSVDE
- 5) LDIFDE
- 6) CMDCONS
- 7) Ipconfig
- 8) RoboCopy
- 9) CMDHere
- 10) PathPing
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.
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.
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.
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!
Ideal for importing and exporting user accounts to and from Active Directory. See more about CSVDE here
Similar to CSVDE, but also allows passwords to be imported using the unicodePwd attribute. See more about LDIFDE here.
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.
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 /?
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.
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.
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
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
SolarWinds have produced three Active Directory add-ons. These free utilities have been approved by Microsoft, and will help to manage your domain by:
- Seeking and zapping unwanted user accounts.
- Finding inactive computers.
- Bulk-importing new users. Give this AD utility a try, it’s free!
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