Important Windows commands that you should know

Although you will definitely need separate applications for some things on your computer, Windows offers a lot of built-in features that are just as good as a third party program and far easier once you learn how to do them. Most of the following commands are more advanced than usual for the average user but they should also be easy enough for anyone, even if they do not use the command line all that often. To open the command line, press Windows Key + R, type in cmd and hit enter. To enter the commands in this guide, simply type them in and press Enter or copy paste them and hit enter.

Find your IP


Although there are some websites that can show you your IP address, you can quickly find it through the command line as well. You can even get more specific information like your router’s page.

Command: ipconfig
Alternative: ipconfig /all

Flush your DNS cache


If you have recently changed your DNS but you have not noticed any changes, it is probably because your cache has not been flushed. You can do that by restarting your computer or logging off and on again but that takes too much time since you can easily issue a command for that.

Command: ipconfig /flushdns

Detect network connection issues


There are two commands that you can use to troubleshoot network problems. The first one will enable you to ping a domain or an address and give you the response time if it succeeds. Otherwise, it will fail and you will know that something is wrong.

Command: ping name. Example: ping

The other command will trace the actual route that the packages take. If something is wrong, it will be able to pinpoint the exact point where something broke.

Command: tracert name. Example: tracert

Create shutdown shortcuts


This does not even require the use of the command line as you can create a Shortcut via the New option of the context menu when you right click anywhere in a blank space of your computer, including your Desktop. Simply type one of the following commands in the first spot and then follow the on-screen instructions. Replace X with the number of seconds till the command starts.

Shutdown: shutdown /s /t X
Restart: shutdown /r /t X
Restart into Startup options: shutdown /r /o
Cancel shutdown:
shutdown /a

Create system recovery images


This is one of the more complex commands and it is also different in various versions of Windows, especially from Windows 7 to Windows 8 as the latter version requires you to run PowerShell. Nevertheless, you can get instructions on how to exactly use the command by typing it into the command line. This will let you create custom images that will contain information about every file in your system.

Command: wbadmin start backup
Variables: Found beneath the command

Scan system files for any issues


When people notice that a file is corrupted, they usually immediately run to Google to find out what is wrong exactly. Little do they know that there is a built-in Windows tool that will scan every important system file for any problems and automatically fix whatever it can, otherwise it will simply inform you of the exact error.

Command: sfc /scannow

Connect to Telnet servers


If you have installed the telnet client, you might think you will also need extra software to connect to the servers. The truth is you do not as you can issue a very simple command to do just that.

Command: telnet

Delete and overwrite a directory (permanently)


If you want to absolutely destroy your deleted files and clear up some space in your hard drive, use this command to overwrite trash data. Keep in mind that the process is irreversible. Only use this if you are certain you do not want to retrieve your files.

Command: cipher /w:DriveLetter. Example: cipher /w:C:\

List network connections and ports


Although the netstat command has quite a lot of variables, the most interesting of ll is the one that can display a list of all the open network connections in your computer along with the ports they are using. You can use this for a lot of things, including finding processes in the Task Manager.

Command: netstat /ano

Windows 8 only: Custom recovery images


Although Windows 8 offers you the refresh feature that you can use to restore your computer to its original and default state, you might want to restore it to a custom state instead. You can easily do this by creating your very own recovery images.

Command: recimg /createimage Path
Example:  recimg /createimage C:\Users\Adam\Desktop\Recovery