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Introduction to the Windows terminal

posted Dec 10, 2010, 12:49 AM by d graham   [ updated Dec 10, 2010, 1:31 AM ]

One of the most valuable skills a PC technician or user can learn is how to take advantage of the Windows command terminal. While some users are scared by the textual interface of the command window, this textual interface is actually the source of much of its power.

To bring up the command window go to Start > Run and then type cmd in the window

This very ability to open the command window in such a manner is an illustration in fact of the power of the command terminal. This feature of the run dialog essentially works by adding the Windows system folder located at C:\Windows\System32 to the Windows PATH variable. Programs located in directories which have been included in the path variable can be run from any folder in the command window.

Some common windows commands which work on Windows 7 include:

time – which will display the time and ask you to set a new time

dir – which will list the contents of a directory in terms of files and other directories

cd – which will change the folder from which your operating file

C: - which will change to the drive letter indicated

ipconfig – which will display information about the internet configuation on a Windows computer

ipconfig /all – which will display a more verbose version of internet configuration for all connected internet devices

ping – which will send what is known as a PING request to the domain or IP address specified, this is helpful for troubleshooting internet connections and determining if there is an issue with domain name resolutions, or if the internet connections between computers are possible at all

Piping and Redirects

| - which indicates piping the output of one command into another


> - which indicates a redirect

>> - which indicates a redirect that appends