Windows CLI

From wikinotes

The windows commandline is undergoing a transition from cmd.exe (batch) to the newer powershell.

File Management

explorer .                          # open file explorer
dir                                 # print contents of dir
cd  /d  C:                          # change drive letter
cd C:\dir                           # change directory
md C:\dir                           # make directory
del /Q C:\file.ext                  # delete a file
move C:\file.ext C:\other\file.ext  # move file
xcopy C:\dir C:\dest /E/H/R/Y/J     # copy dir and subdirs
mklink /j C:\dst C:\src             # create symlink

msg    /server:wintermute will "message to display"     # display message over network
icalcls myfile.txt /grant Owner:F Group:R Everyone:R    # change file permissions
icalcls myfile.txt /setowner "willjp"                   # change file owner

Process Management

tasklist                   # display all running processes
taskkill /IM notepad.exe   # kill process notepad

Exit Codes

A list of windows installer exit codes:

Notably, installers can exit 0(success) and 3010(success, needs reboot).


list vol                                                     # list all disks known to windows
net use K: \\groot\movies /USER:smbguest MyPassword          # temporarily mount \\groot\movies to K:
net use K: \\groot\movies /USER:smbguest MyPassword /P:Yes   # permanently mount \\groot\movies to K:
net use K: /delete /y                                        # unmount K: (if mount created using net use)
subst P: C:\test                                             # mount dir as drive-letter
fsutil fsinfo drives                                         # show info about detected drives


reg query "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server" /v AllowRemoteRPC                       # Query Registry Key
reg add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server" /v AllowRemoteRPC /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f    # Create/Modify registry key

File Associations

REM   associate a file extension with a type
assoc .c=sourcecode
assoc .py=sourcecode

REM  associate a type with a program (%l means file)
ftype sourcecode="C:\myprog.exe" -abc --some-flag "%l"

Windows Features

REM   list features
dism.exe  /online /get-features

REM   enable a feature
dism.exe /oneline /enable-feature /FeatureName:Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

Hardware Information

wmic cpu                   # cpu info
wmic memcache  get access  # swap info

typeperf "\Processor(_Total)\% Processor Time"      # overall cpu info
typeperf "\Processor{*)\% Processor Time"           # indv. cpu info
typeperf "\memory\available bytes"                  # total ram
typeperf "\memory\committed bytes"                  # used ram
systeminfo                                          # print system info

Environment Variables

REM  Persistent EnvVars are set in registry
reg add "HKCU\Environment"   /v MY_ENVIRONMENT_VAR    /t REG_EXPAND_SZ    /d "Hello World!"    /f

REM Local EnvVars
set VAR="blah"


REM you can set autorun scripts in the registry

Users, HomeDirs

%HOMEDRIVE%%HOMEDIR%\                       # current user's homedir
C:/Windows/System32/config/systemprofile/   # service user 'Local System's homedir (for ssh, etc)


You can install the gnu-coreutils on windows (gfind, gawk, gls, ...etc). They do run a little slower, but can be useful to have on hand. I seldom install these now, I'll just use git-bash.


Windows cmd-prompt has improved a lot (resizable, colors, ..). You can use other programs to make it a little more similar to unix if you'd like.