Effective Use of Command Prompt

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Effective Use of Command Prompt

Unread postby saurabhg » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:15 pm


Command prompt in Windows isn't easy to use, the way the graphical user interface is. It's a throwback to the time you needed to remember arcane commands for everything that you needed your computer to do. Yet, it can be a useful tool. There are a few things that are best done from within command prompt.

The following are some of the best ways to use command prompt. If you are ever in doubt about what exactly a command does, you simply need to type it in at the command prompt, followed by the string /? before you hit Enter . Right away, you get access to the built-in help file that shows you what the command does. Most of these commands work only when you run command prompt in Administrator mode.


The Windows Check disk utility scans your hard drive to locate bad sectors, repairs the file system errors that result and tries to salvage whatever information it can from bad sectors. Sometimes, the errors on a file system or drive are so noticeable that Windows runs chkdsk by itself. It's usually a good idea, though, to preventively run the utility once every few months to make sure that your file system is in good shape. You can also try running it if you notice random errors and stutters while using your computer.

To run the check disk tool, you need to type one of the following strings in the command prompt:

Chksdsk C: /F -- This string lets you check the entire disk specified, find errors and fix them.

Chksdsk C: /R -- This string lets you check an entire disk, locate bad sectors recover information, and mark bad sectors to avoid in the future.

System file checker

When a Windows system file goes corrupt or goes missing, the OS is usually able to silently detect the problem and make repairs on its own, without user intervention. You never even get to know about it. Sometimes, though, the process fails. This is the problem that the command System file checker is there for. It runs through Windows' inventory of basic system files to look for anomalies and automatically fixes them.

Running System file checker is easy. You simply need to type the following command at the command prompt: sfc /scannow .

Cleaning up your hard drive

The cipher command can be useful when you need to either wipe an entire hard drive clean or clean up parts of it that aren't in use. The command to type into command prompt is: cipher /W:pathname .

Taking stock of your drivers

If you see that a driver download is available but aren't sure if it's more recent than the one that you have installed, the driverquery command prompt tool is the tool to use. It gives you a full list of all the hardware drivers that you have installed. All you need to do is to type in the driverquery / fo CSV . Right away, you will get a CSV file with a full accounting of the drivers on your computer.


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