Useful DOS Commands For Computer Technicians

Microsoft Windows hasn’t natively used DOS
since the days of Windows98. However, for a computer technician DOS
commands are still very useful even in the XP and Vista environment.
For many techies this stuff is old hat and is mainly for the younger
generation, however the old hats may see some commands that they didn’t
know about. By no means is this exhaustive list of DOS commands are
there are thousands more (Google them if you need them). This list has
commands that are particularly useful to technicians repairing

ipconfig – Windows IP Configuration

This has to the DOS command I use most today. ipconfig will tell you
the IP settings for the current computer such as what your current IP
is and what subnet/gateway you are on. It is great for troubleshooting.
Here are the two most useful commands for ipconfig and usage:

ipconfig /release – This will release any IP information that the computer was given and make your IP address

ipconfig /renew – This will ask any DHCP servers (usually your modem/router) for a new IP address.
ping – Check a connection or computer

Ping is used to check the health of a connection. The ping command will
tell you whether a network device is responding and how fast it is
running. The ping tool can also be used to convert a web address into
an IP (eg. = Usage:

ping – Pings a webserver to see if it can
be reached or is responding. I personally use this to see if the
computer I am on can reach the internet.

ping – Pings a local address, often a modem, router or another computer.

netstat – Displays current TCP/IP connections

netstat – Will display what connections are currently
active on the system. Useful for spotting programs calling back to base
such as spyware.
File Management
type – Open texts files

Similar to Unix’s cat command, this command will display the contents of a text file in DOS as read-only. Usage:

type c:sometextfile.txt
attrib – Make hidden files visible

Attrib can change the attributes of a file, such as whether its a
system file or its hidden. This is especially useful to technicians
because critical files such as the boot.ini is a hidden system file:

attrib -H c:boot.ini – To unhide the boot.ini

attrib -S c:boot.ini – To make remove its system file attribute
For more options with this command, type attrib /?
find – Advanced file search

The find command is a very powerful one with many options such as the
ability to search for something, but exclude certain files. The
following command will find all files with .pdf in their name on C:

dir c: /s /b | find ".pdf"

For more information in this command and its usage, type find /?
move – Move files

Normal usage of the move command would be:

move file.txt c:TextFiles

However, you can also use it to move only certain files. For example,
if I wanted to get all the PDF’s out of a folder and move them to
another location, but leave all other file types alone, I would do:

move *.pdf c:WorkPDFs
tree – View the tree structure

Type tree
to see the folder and file structure of the folder you are currently
in. You can also use this command to make prints of the directory
structure by sending the information to a text file with the following
command tree > textfile.txt
systeminfo – Displays information about the system

systeinfo – Will display information about the system such as the name, version, uptime, specifications and patches installed.
tasklist / taskkill – Shows what programs are running on the computer and can kill them

tasklist – Will display all the processes running and their memory usage.

taskkill – Will kill a process. Usage would be: taskkill firefox.exe
sfc – Launches Windows’ system file checker utility

sfc /scannow – This command will start scanning your
computer for any damaged or missing windows system files. Useful to run
after a virus, adware or spyware attack has damaged core files. Have an
XP CD handy for this one.
chkdsk – Can check a disk and attempt to recover data in bad sectors.

chkdsk /f /r – This will check a disk for errors and try and fixes information from bad sectors

chkdsk /x – Forces the volume to dismount first.
For further information/usage on any of these commands, you can bring up the help for each one of them by typing:

command /?

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