And now, it’s time for something completely different. While questions from our users are always awesome, this week we are going to start the ‘Things IT Guy wants to teach you series.’ There are many tools that I use in my day to day work as an IT guy. A lot of them also come in handy when troubleshooting my home PCs or just getting something computer related accomplished. Probably one of the most useful tools is one of the simplest; the command prompt.
Command prompt has been included on every OS/2 and Windows NT – based operating systems (2k, XP, Vista, 7). It is an analog of command.com in MS-DOS. What it does is give the user access to dos commands inside of the windows shell. This means that unlike command.com which is internal to DOS, cmd.exe can take advantage of features available to native programs in the operating system.
Besides all that technical mumbo jumbo, the command prompt is a very useful tool. First off, how do you open it? It’s very simple. Just go to start->run and type in cmd. You can also go to start->programs->accessories and run it from there. With this open you can run commands directly in their directories, delete or copy files, check your networking status and the networking status of other machines and remotely run scripts on your computer or other computers.
Because all commands in the command prompt work relative to the directory they are in the first thing you need to learn is to change directories. To navigate through directories in the command prompt you can use the change directory command (CD). CD is relatively simple to use. After the command prompt is open simply type CD and then the path you want to go to; cd windows. If you want to go more levels in all you need to add is a backslash; cd windows\system. When you are navigating through directories you can take a look at them using the directory command (dir). They are a lot of switches that come with most commands. DIR isn’t an exception. To see what options certain commands have type /? after them. For example with dir you can search through directories using the /s switch. Depending on the directory, this could be quite a large list. To be more specific you can put file types after the /s; dir /s *.exe.
You can also do a lot of very useful network troubleshooting with the command prompt. Every computer has an IP address (we’re not going to get into that here). Your IP address is necessary to communicate with other machines. To find that out you can go to the command prompt and type in ipconfig. There are a number of switches associated with ipconfig; /release, /renew, /flushdns, /registerdns. Sometimes fixing a network problem is simply a matter of renewing your ip address and flushing/reregistering your DNS entries. You can also lookup the ip address of machines on your network if you know their names and lookup their names if you know their ip addresses with nslookup. To do this type nslookup, this will bring up a new prompt. In this prompt simply type in the information that you want looked up.
We could talk about the command prompt all day long. There is a ton of commands and a ton of different things you can do. My best advice would be to open it up, shake its hand and see what it can do.
Hopefully we here at It’s Geektime have again shed light on all your PC problems. If you have any questions in the future please feel free to let us know. Finally, remember, when you’re scared and feeling technically unsure. Never fear, IT guy is here!!!blog comments powered by Disqus