When you look at modern day computers, it might seem old and unnecessary to use command prompts. For those of you who don’t know, command prompt is an application that comes in most Windows computers.
These are generally used to help automate tasks and troubleshoot issues with Windows. The application itself can be found by going to the Start Menu. Or, if you want to go more old school, go to the cmd run to find it.
Even if you aren’t already in the world of command prompts, you can always start now. These tips and tricks will help teach you some of the basics of the command prompt and also give you quick ways to get things done.
Info on Different Commands
For beginners, this can give you everything you need to know about different commands. Some commands that are possible aren’t covered in this, but many are.
Even if you’re an expert, it’s always nice to know how to get to this page. If you ever forget or need to clarify on something, this prompt is always available for you.
Some of the information covered in this include what the command does, what processes the command uses, and sometimes also includes some examples.
In order to use the command, all you need to do is type “/?” at the end of a command. This will give you all the information on that command. Of course, you need to know the command before you can do that.
One example is “ipconfig/?”, which will give you all the information on the internet protocol configuration.
Add Function Keys to the Command Prompt
Believe it or not, you can easily use the function keys on your computer and put them right in the command prompt window. All of these give you different results and can be handy tools.
Here is what you can get from each prompt:
- F1 lets you paste the last command you used per character
- F2 will paste the last command to a specific command character
- F3 completely pastes the last command
- F4 helps you delete a command to a specific character in the command
- F5 will paste the last command without cycling
- F6 pastes (CARROT) Z, which is useful
- F7 is a great list that shows all of the recently used commands. To make it even better, these commands are selectable, so you don’t have to type it again.
- F8 will give you cycleable used commands
- Finally, F9 lets you paste any command from the list of recently used commands
All of these will definitely come in handy at one point or another, making your job much easier. It also saves you time and effort.
Save a Command to .txt File
Are the results of a command something you’ll need in the future? This helpful command lets you save the results of a command straight to a .txt file. Find the command you want to save and type “> (destination/file name with .txt extension)” right at the end of the command.
Of course, you’ll want to change those words to the proper words. One example is “ipconfig > c:\Lookatlater.txt”. This will create a .txt file in the C drive and the file will be called “Lookatlater”. You can name the file whatever you want, which is definitely useful.
How to Copy Data
Most people’s first instinct is to both right click and hit copy or to do Ctrl+C. Unfortunately, except in Windows 10, this isn’t possible.
Thankfully, it isn’t hard to do after all. All you need to do is right click anywhere on the command prompt window and click “Mark”. Then, select what you want to copy and hit Enter. It will copy and you’ll be able to paste it wherever you want.
In Windows 10, both Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V are enabled, the latter being how to paste. This is definitely a benefit for those who use Windows 10.
How to Cycle Through Folders
This is incredibly useful to find the destination folder you desire. Most people have tons of folders on their computer, so it isn’t always an easy task, especially when you don’t already have it copied.
If you know exactly what drive or folder the folder you want is in, you can automatically cycle through all the folders in that drive or folder and find the one you want.
This is done by typing what the specified drive or folder is and hitting tab. This will cycle through all of the folders until it finds the one you want.
Here’s a very helpful trick to use. If you want a super easy way to quickly copy and paste something, this one is perfect for you.
This will allow you to highlight what you wanted copied and right-click to copy it. Or, you can right-click anywhere and paste whatever is on the clipboard.
Enabling it is also an easy task. All you have to do is right-click on the top of the command prompt window, where the exit button is. From there, select “Properties” and put a check next to “QuickEdit Mode”.
Doing that will enable it, making your copy and pasting much more efficient. Of course, whenever you want to disable it, you can also easily do that by going back and doing the same thing.
Know IP Address of Any Website
Are you curious what a website’s IP address is? This command prompt will let you know the IP address of any website.
All you have to do is type “nslookup” and follow it with the name of the website. For example, you can look up the IP address of Facebook by typing “nslookup facebook.com”. The IP address would then pop up.
Do Multiple Commands in a Row
There are probably times where you want multiple things done, but don’t want to have to do them separately. This command will save you some time and it’s all done by simply putting “&&” between the commands you want done.
One example is typing “ipconfig && dir”, which will do both commands, one after the other. Dir will give you a list of all the directories on your computer, which is a useful command.
Look at the Default Programs
Do you want to know what applications are used in order to open certain programs? This will tell you everything you need to know.
This is very simple, as all you have to type is “assoc” and hit enter. This will list all the different extensions and what program they’re tied to. The programs will by next to the extensions.
Look at Your PC Drivers
Do you need to know what drivers you currently have installed on your PC? It’s super easy to find out just by typing a single command into the command prompt window.
Type “driverquery” and hit enter. This will make a list of all of the drivers that are currently on your PC. It will list out the name, the type of driver, and the link date. The link date tells you the date when it was installed onto your computer.
This can be helpful to find out if a driver is out of date and needs to be updated. Of course, there is a long list of drivers, but if you know what one you’re looking for, then it won’t be nearly as hard to find.
How to Scan System Files
This is a useful way to see if you have any files that need to be repaired. For some of these files, they might be automatically repaired, but for others, it will let you know there is an issue and give you the details on the issue.
This is done by typing “sfc/scannow” and hitting enter. Of course, depending on how fast your computer is, it could take up to an hour to get through all of your files.
Still, this is an incredibly useful thing to know, especially if you think you might have some corrupted files on your computer.
Change the Color of Command Prompt
Is the color of the command prompt just not doing it for you anymore? Have you been staring at it so much that it feels like your eyes are burning out of your skull? There’s actually a way to change the color so it’s easier on your eyes.
Just like with the QuickEdit Mode, you click on the top of the screen and click on Properties. From here, all you have to do is get to the Colors tab.
In this tab, you’ll find all of the options to change the colors of the text and of the background. Find whatever colors suit your eyes the best and go back to having fun with the command prompt window!
Keep a Folder Safe – Make it Undelete-able!
People can make mistakes and accidently delete a very important folder. Maybe this folder has a lot of very important things in it and you don’t want one of your kids accidently deleting it. Or, maybe you’ve accidently deleted it once.
With this trick, you can permanently (at least until you undo it) make a folder undelete-able. This is a little more complex than some of the others have been, but it still doesn’t take very long to do.
First, type the name of the drive where you want to create the folder. Keep in mind that this folder can’t have Windows installed in it. Next, you type one of these keywords: “md con\” or “md lpt1\” and hit enter.
This will pop up with “D: md con\” if you put it in your D drive. You’ll have a folder of that name in your D drive with that name. That folder will never be able to be renamed or deleted unless you want to delete it.
To delete, all you have to do is replace the md with rd. So, you would put “rd con\” or “rd lpt1\” and the folder will then be deleted.
Look at Your Network Details
This is definitely a useful thing to know about. This gives you quick details about your network, including the IP address and the default gateway or subnet mask.
This command has been used as an example in earlier tricks, so you’ve seen this one before. Type “ipconfig” and hit enter. All of the details of the network you are currently connected to will show up.
For people who work in networking, this is definitely a good trick to have, if you don’t already know it.
Keep Certain Folders or Files Hidden
If you have a file where you keep all of your passwords (definitely not recommended, just using it as an example), then you can hide that from general access.
In order to do this, you just need to type the drive name that the folder is located. Then, you type “Attrib +h +s +r” and then the title of the file or folder that you want to hide.
An example is typing “D: Attrib +h +s +r hideme”. Of course, if you want to have the folder become un-hidden, all you have to do is change all the plus marks to negatives. So, it would turn into “Attrib -h -s -r” and you’d be able to see your folder again.
See the Difference Between Two Files
Just to let you know, there are third party file comparison tools that will do a much better job than this, but it can still be a fun and interesting thing to do, especially when you’re still learning.
Type “fc” and then type both of the text files, which need to be in .txt format to work. If you don’t quite understand what that means, here’s an example. “fc C:\foldername\imasample.txt C:\foldername\imanewsample.txt”. After typing that, you, of course, hit enter.
This will tell you if the files are the same or if they are different. Specifically, if the two files have different content, it will show the differences. If they have the same content, it will say ‘no difference encountered’.
Here, Have a Wi-Fi Hotspot!
Making a Wi-Fi hotspot has never been easier. In order to enable the hotspot, all you have to do is enter a command.
The command is “netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=Hotspotname key=password”. After doing that, to start the hotspot, you just need to type “netsh wlan start hostednetwork” and to stop it, you just type “netsh wlan stop hostednetwork”.
If you want other people to have access to the hotspot, then you need to go to “Network and Sharing” in your computer. From there, go to the “Control Panel” and then to “Change adaptor settings”.
Then, right click on whatever internet connection is connected to your computer and hit “Properties”. Go to the sharing tab and find the option that says “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection” and check it.
Having a Wi-Fi hotspot is definitely useful for broadening where your Wi-Fi can reach, especially if it starts to get a bit spotty in certain areas. Knowing you can easily do this on your computer is helpful.
Bonus! Watch Star Wars Episode IV in ASCII!
If you ever get really bored, this is a fun thing to do. Before you do this, you have to have Telnet enabled on your computer, which comes from the Microsoft website.
To watch it in the command prompt window, all you need to do is type “telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl” and press enter, which will automatically start the movie.
So Many Commands!
I hope you found at least some of these tips and tricks useful. If you are a beginner, definitely find some of the most used commands and write them down. From there, you can use some of these tips and tricks to make your experience learning more interesting.
For advanced users, you might have already known some of these. If you found any of this helpful, then that’s all that matters.
Using Command Prompt can be a fun experience and actually help you use your computer more efficiently.