Learning About Command Line Programs

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How do you know what programs are available and how to use them? For that, you have to turn to documentation about the command-line environment. For some reason, Microsoft no longer provides this in the Help and Support system, but you can search online, and some programs can be told to display their own usage information. To show you what's available, we have posted a list of all the programs included with Windows 7 at www.helpwin7.com. And you might want to check out Brian's book Windows 7 and Vista Guide to Scripting, Automation, and Command Line Tools. For a general online listing, perform this Google search, and then locate the A-Z listing for Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003. Most of the programs listed there are available on Windows 7.

site:microsoft.com command line a-z windows server

To get additional information on a command that interests you, try the following sources, in the order listed. I'll use the rasdial command in the examples that follow, but you can use the same technique with any command that interests you.

• A majority of command-line commands will print help information if you add /? to the command line. For example, to get information for the rasdial command, type rasdial /?.

• If the command prints so much text that it scrolls out of view, use one of the following techniques to read it all:

• Use the Command Prompt window's scrollbars to back up.

• Press F3 to recall the command line, add | more to the end of the line, and press Enter. This will "pipe" the help listing through the more command, which displays it one screenful at a time. Press Enter after reading each screen.

• Type the command help rasdial. If too much text prints, use the techniques just listed to manage the overflow.

• Open Internet Explorer and type rasdial in the Search window. You might also try the Google search site:microsoft.com rasdial.

Not every one of those information sources will work for every command, but at least one should lead you to an explanation of what the command does and what its command-line options are, and provide some examples of its use. The command-line options for Windows 7, Vista, XP, and Server 2003 and Server 2008 are pretty much the same, so if you can't find any Windows 7-specific information, documentation for the other versions should be okay to use.

Setting Environment Variables

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Responses

  • rose
    What does win7 use for rasdial?
    8 years ago

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