Useful commands

for Windows administrators

Managing a Windows 2000 Active Directory with about 100 servers, over 1500 computers and 35 sites, the following commands often helped me answer questions or solve problems.
Most commands are "one-liners", but for some I had to make an exception and go to the right directory first.

These commands could all be used in batch files, though some may need some "parsing" with FOR /F to retrieve only the required substrings from the displayed information.

 

Notes: (1) Commands that use external, or third party, or non-native utilities contain hyperlinks to these utilities' download sites.
  (2) Replace command arguments displayed in italics with your own values.
  (3) Commands or utilities that require Windows Server 2003 are marked bright blue.
Warning:   Most commands on this page are very powerful tools.
Like most powerful tools they could cause a lot of damage in the hands of insufficiently skilled users.
Treat these commands like you would (or should) treat a chainsaw: with utmost care. Do not use them if you do not fully understand what they do or how they do it.
Any damage caused using these commands is completely your own responsibility.

 

 

 

How many users are logged on/connected to a server?

Sometimes we may need to know how many users are logged on to a (file) server, like maybe when there is a performance degradation.
At the server's console itself, with native commands only:

	NET SESSION | FIND /C "\\"

Remotely, with the help of SysInternals' PSTools:

	PSEXEC \\servername NET SESSION | FIND /C "\\"

By replacing FIND /C "\\" by FIND "\\" (removing the /C switch) you'll get a list of logged on users instead of just the number of users.

 

Back to the index

 

Who is logged on to a computer?

We often need to know who is currently logged on to a remote computer.
With native Windows (up to and including XP) commands only:

	NBTSTAT -a remotecomputer | FIND "<03>" | FIND /I /V "remotecomputer"

The first name in the list usually is the logged on user (try playing with the NET NAME command to learn more about the names displayed by NBTSTAT).
This is the fastest way to find the logged on user name, and the results that you do get are correct, but NBTSTAT won't always return a user name, even when a user is logged on.

Using WMIC (Windows XP Professional and later):

	WMIC /Node:remotecomputer ComputerSystem Get UserName

This is arguably the most reliable (native) command to find out who is logged on.

With the help of SysInternals' PSTools:

	PSLOGGEDON -L \\remotecomputer

or:

	PSEXEC \\remotecomputer NET CONFIG WORKSTATION | FIND /I " name "

or:

	PSEXEC \\remotecomputer NET NAME

or for Windows XP only:

	PSEXEC \\remotecomputer NETSH DIAG SHOW COMPUTER /V | FIND /i "username"

Using REG.EXE (Windows 2000 and later):

	FOR /F %%A IN ('REG Query \\remotecomputer\HKU ˆ| FINDSTR /R /B /C:"HKEY_USERS\\S-1-5-[0-9][0-9]-[0-9-]*$"') DO (
		FOR /F "tokens=3 delims=\" %%B IN ('REG Query "\\remotecomputer\%%A\Volatile Environment"') DO (
			SET LoggedinUser=%%B
		)
	)

or for Windows 7:

	FOR /F %%A IN ('REG Query \\remotecomputer\HKU /K /F "S-1-5-21-" ˆ| FINDSTR /R /B /C:"HKEY_USERS\\S-1-5-[0-9][0-9]-[0-9-]*$"') DO (') DO (
		FOR /F "tokens=2*" %%B IN ('REG Query "\\remotecomputer\%%~A\Volatile Environment" /V "UserName" ˆ| FIND /V ":"') DO (
			SET LoggedinUser=%%C
		)
	)

NETSH and WMIC are for XP or later, and are the most reliable of all commands shown here.
WMIC requires WMI enabled remote computers and Windows XP on the administrator's computer; NETSH requires Windows XP on the local and remote computers.

PSLOGGEDON is a more accurate solution than NBTSTAT, but it will return the last logged on user if no one is currently logged on.

The NET and NBTSTAT commands show more or less identical results, but the NBTSTAT command is much faster.

The REG command is accurate, but may need to be modified depending on the version used.
More information on REG versions can be found on my REG Query page.

For Windows NT 4 and 2000: use NBTSTAT (fast, but it won't always return the user name!), and only switch to REG if NBTSTAT doesn't return a user name (modify the REG command for Windows NT 4).
For Windows XP and later: if you want to search lots of computers for logged on users, I recommend you try NBTSTAT first (fast, but it won't always return the user name!), and only switch to NETSH, REG or WMIC (accurate) if NBTSTAT doesn't return a user name.

Credits: Jiří Janyška (WMIC command) and Matthew W. Helton (NETSH command).

 

Back to the index

 

What is this collegue's login name?

My collegues often forget to mention their logon account name when calling the helpdesk, and the helpdesk doesn't always ask either. I suppose they expect me to know all 1500+ accounts by heart.
With (native) Windows Server 2003 commands only:

	DSQUERY USER -name *lastname* | DSGET USER -samid -display
Note: Windows Server 2003's "DSTools" will work fine in Windows 2000 and XP too, when copied.
Keep in mind, however, that some Windows Server 2003 Active Directory functionality is not available in Windows 2000 Active Directories.

 

Back to the index

 

What is the full name for this login name?

With the native NET command:

	NET USER loginname /DOMAIN | FIND /I " name "

With (native) Windows Server 2003 commands:

	DSQUERY USER -samid *loginname* | DSGET USER -samid -display
Note: The NET command may seem more universal, because it requires neither Active Directory nor Windows Server 2003 commands, but it is language dependent!
For non-English Windows you may need to modify FIND's search string.

 

Back to the index

 

What groups is this user a member of?

In Windows NT 4 and later, users usually are members of global groups. These global groups in turn are members of (domain) local groups. Access permissions are given to (domain) local groups.
To check if a user has access to a resource, we need to check group membership recursively.
With (native) Windows Server 2003 commands:

	DSQUERY USER -samid loginname | DSGET USER -memberof -expand

 

Back to the index

 

What permissions does a user have on this directory?

One could use the previous command to check what permissions a user has on a certain directory.
However, sometimes SHOWACLS from the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools is a better alternative:

	CD /D d:\directory2check
	SHOWACLS /U:domain\userid

 

Back to the index

 

When did someone last change his password?

With the native NET command:

	NET USER loginname /DOMAIN | FIND /I "Password last set"

 

Back to the index

 

How do I reset someone's password?

With the native NET command:

	NET USER loginname newpassword /DOMAIN

With (native) Windows Server 2003 commands:

	DSQUERY USER -samid loginname | DSMOD USER -pwd newpassword
Note: To prevent the new password from being displayed on screen replace it with an asterisk (*); you will then be prompted (twice) to type the new password "blindly".

 

Back to the index

 

Is someone's account locked?

With the native NET command:

	NET USER loginname /DOMAIN | FIND /I "Account active"

The account is either locked ("Locked") or active ("Yes").

 

Back to the index

 

How to unlock a locked account

With the native NET command:

	NET USER loginname /DOMAIN /ACTIVE:YES

or, if the password needs to be reset as well:

	NET USER loginname newpassword /DOMAIN /ACTIVE:YES

 

Back to the index

 

Make sure a local user's password never expires

With WMIC (Windows XP Professional or later):

	WMIC.EXE /Node:remotecomputer Path Win32_UserAccount Where Name="user" Set PasswordExpires="FALSE"

 

Back to the index

 

Make sure a local user's password will expire

With WMIC (Windows XP Professional or later):

	WMIC.EXE /Node:remotecomputer Path Win32_UserAccount Where Name="user" Set PasswordExpires="TRUE"

 

Back to the index

 

List all domains and workgroups in the network

With the native NET command:

	NET VIEW /DOMAIN

 

Back to the index

 

List all computers in the network

With the native NET command:

	NET VIEW

or, to list the names only:

	FOR /F "skip=3 delims=\	 " %%A IN ('NET VIEW') DO ECHO.%%A

delims is a backslash, followed by a tab and a space.

 

Back to the index

 

List all domain controllers

With native Windows 2000 commands:

	NETDOM QUERY /D:MyDomain DC

NETDOM is part of the support tools found in the \SUPPORT directory of the Windows 2000 installation CDROM.

With (native) Windows Server 2003 commands (Active Directory only):

	DSQUERY Server

or, if you prefer host names only (tip by Jim Christian Flatin):

	DSQUERY Server -o rdn

 

Back to the index

 

Find the primary domain controller

With native Windows 2000 commands:

	NETDOM QUERY /D:MyDomain PDC

or, to find the FSMO with (native) Windows Server 2003 commands (Active Directory only):

	NETDOM QUERY /D:mydomain.com FSMO

NETDOM is part of the support tools found in the \SUPPORT directory of the Windows 2000 installation CDROM.

 

Back to the index

 

List all member servers

With native Windows 2000 commands:

	NETDOM QUERY /D:MyDomain SERVER

NETDOM is part of the support tools found in the \SUPPORT directory of the Windows 2000 installation CDROM.

 

Back to the index

 

List all workstations

With native Windows 2000 commands:

	NETDOM QUERY /D:MyDomain WORKSTATION

NETDOM is part of the support tools found in the \SUPPORT directory of the Windows 2000 installation CDROM.

 

Back to the index

 

Delete a computer account

With native Windows 2000 commands:

	NETDOM /DOMAIN:MyDomain MEMBER \\computer2Bdeleted /DELETE

NETDOM is part of the support tools found in the \SUPPORT directory of the Windows 2000 installation CDROM.

 

Back to the index

 

"I need an up-to-date list of disk space usage for all servers, on my desk in 5 minutes"

Sounds familiar?

With (native) Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 commands:

	FOR /F %%A IN (servers.txt) DO (
		WMIC /Node:%%A LogicalDisk Where DriveType="3" Get DeviceID,FileSystem,FreeSpace,Size /Format:csv | MORE /E +2 >> SRVSPACE.CSV
	)

The only prerequisites are:

  1. SRVSPACE.CSV should not exist or be empty,
  2. a list of server names in a file named SERVERS.TXT, one server name on each line,
  3. and WMIC.EXE, which is native in Windows XP Professional and later.

The CSV file format is ServerName,DeviceID,FileSystem,FreeSpace,Size (one line for each harddisk partition on each server).

If you have a strict server naming convention, SERVERS.TXT itself can be generated with the NET command:

	FOR /F "delims=\	 " %%A IN ('NET VIEW ^| FINDSTR /R /B /C:"\\\\SRV\-"') DO (>>SERVERS.TXT ECHO.%%A)
Notes: (1) assuming server names start with "SRV-"; modify to match your own naming convention.
  (2) delims is a backslash, followed by a tab and a space.

 

Back to the index

 

List all drivers on any PC

With (native) Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 commands:

	DRIVERQUERY /V /FO CSV > %ComputerName%.csv

Or, for remote computers:

	DRIVERQUERY /S remote_PC /V /FO CSV > remote_PC.csv

 

Back to the index

 

List all printers on any PC

With (native) Windows XP+ commands:

	WMIC /Node:remote_PC Path Win32_Printer Get DeviceID

 

Back to the index

 

List all local administrators

With (native) Windows NT 4+ commands:

	NET LOCALGROUP Administrators

Or, to remove header and footer lines:

	FOR /F "delims=[]" %%A IN ('NET LOCALGROUP Administrators ˆ| FIND /N "----"') DO SET HeaderLines=%%A
	FOR /F "tokens=*"  %%A IN ('NET LOCALGROUP Administrators') DO SET FooterLine=%%A
	NET LOCALGROUP Administrators | MORE /E +%HeaderLines% | FIND /V "%FooterLine%"

 

Back to the index

 

Locate rogue DHCP servers

Never had an "illegal" router wreaking havoc on your network yet...?

With a (native) Windows Server 2003 command:

	DHCPLOC -p local_IP_address [ valid_DHCP_server1 [ valid_DHCP_server2 [ .. ] ] ]

DHCPLOC.EXE is native in Windows Server 2003, and will run in Windows XP if copied/installed.
I didn't test this in Windows Server 2003 yet, but in Windows XP you need to press "d" to start the discovery, or "q" to quit.

 

Back to the index

 

Disable Windows Firewall for domain only

Disable the firewall only when the computer (e.g. a laptop) is connected to the domain:

	NETSH Firewall Set OpMode Mode = DISABLE Profile = DOMAIN

 

Back to the index

 

Completely disable Windows Firewall (not recommended)

Disable the firewall comletely (not recommended unless an alternative enterprise firewall is used that requires you to do so):

	SC [ \\Remote_computer ] Stop SharedAccess
	SC [ \\Remote_computer ] Config SharedAccess start= disabled

 

Back to the index

 

Is IP v4 supported on this computer?

Check if IP v4 is supported on the local computer:

	PING 127.0.0.1 | FIND "TTL=" >NUL 2>&1
	IF ERRORLEVEL 1 (ECHO IP v4 NOT supported) ELSE (IP v4 supported)

or:

	WMIC Path Win32_PingStatus WHERE "Address='127.0.0.1'" Get StatusCode /Format:Value | FINDSTR /X "StatusCode=0" >NUL 2>&1
	IF ERRORLEVEL 1 (ECHO IP v4 NOT supported) ELSE (IP v4 supported)

The WMIC command is faster, but requires Windows XP Professional or later.

 

Back to the index

 

Is IP v6 supported on this computer?

Check if IP v6 is supported on the local computer:

	PING ::1 | FINDSTR /R /C:"::1:[ˆ$]" >NUL 2>&1
	IF ERRORLEVEL 1 (ECHO IP v6 NOT supported) ELSE (IP v6 supported)

or:

	WMIC Path Win32_PingStatus WHERE "Address='::1'" Get StatusCode >NUL 2>&1
	IF ERRORLEVEL 1 (ECHO IP v6 NOT supported) ELSE (IP v6 supported)

The WMIC command is faster, but requires Windows XP Professional or later.

 

Back to the index

 

Which updates were installed on this compter?

Windows 7 and 8:

	DISM /Online /Get-Packages

or:

	WMIC QFE List

 

DISM will return far more details than WMIC.

 

Windows 2000 and XP:

	QFECHECK /V

 

Back to the index

 

 

More information on the NET command.

More information on Microsoft's "DSTools" (DSADD, DSGET, DSMOD, DSMOVE, DSQUERY and DSRM) and other native Windows command line tools.

More information on Windows XP's NETSH command, by Microsoft.

How to use NETSH to automate changing TCP/IP network settings.

More information on Microsoft's NETDOM command line tool.

More information on Microsoft's WMIC command line tool.

The PSTools: and many other useful tools can be found at SysInternals.

A list of some of the available Resource Kits.

Download Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools.

Download several Windows 2000 Resource Kit Tools for free from Microsoft's web site.

 

 


page last uploaded: 10 January 2013, 09:15