Windows Tips

A collection of hints and tips for operating Microsoft Windows.

DOS Commands

In every version of Windows there is a powerful utility to assist with working with the computer system. Files and folders can be managed quickly and easily in a bulk fashion. Tasks that can be tedious can be automated. The limits of this utility are really only dependent on your imagination.

This wonderous utility I speak of is the Command Line aka the DOS box, yes the humble command line is able to do any number of tasks just ask any old hand who was around before Windows came along and see the smile they will give you when they think of all the great things they were able to do with it.

How can I access the Command Line/DOS Box in Windows?

In Windows 95, 98, ME, and XP the Command Line can be accessed by going Start --> Run and then typing in cmd

In Windows Vista and above the Command Line can be access by going Start --> Then typing in cmd

How can I copy & paste in the Command Line

With the Command Line open click on the C:\ icon in the top left hand corner of the window select Properties from the drop down box and tick the box that says QuickEdit Mode and then click OK.

You can now use your mouse within the Command Line window to copy text by highlighting it with your left mouse button & Paste text by right mouse clicking where you want the text pasted to.

This uses the clipboard so any text copied in the usual fashion from another window can be pasted into the Command Line window or any text pasted from the Command Line window can be pasted straight into any other window.

DOS FTP Commands

Have you ever been stuck somewhere trying to get a file uploaded to a file server but not had a GUI FTP client and not really wanted to or not been able to download and install software?

I have been there, my main choice for FTP is https://filezilla-project.org/ however at a push I will use FTP at the command line.

To get started from the command line type ftp <address> Where <address> can be a a fully qualified domain eg ftp.cs.brown.edu or an IP address eg 124.148.32.111

The full command line options are ftp [-v] [-d] [-i] [-n] [-g] [-s:filename] [-a] [-w:windowsize] [computer]

Once connected ftp will prompt you for a username, if you are using a public FTP service usually the username will be anonymous otherwise you will have your own username setup for the service.

Usually after the username you will be prompted for a password if you used anonymous for the username it is standard to give an email address (or something that formats like an email address would) as your password. Otherwise you should enter the password issued by the service provider/administrator.

Full Command Line Options

-v
suppresses the verbrose display of remote server responses
-d
enables the debugged mode
-i
disables the interactive prompting of large file transfers
-n
surppresses the inital auto login
-g
disables globbing of filenames which allows wildcard searching
-s:filename
specifies a text file with the commands to run as soon as connected
-a
use any local interface when binding data connection
-w:windowsize
overrides the default transfer buffer size of 4096
computer
specifies the computer name or IP address of the server

Net Use: Setting File Shares in DOS

The net use command is a WIndows command that is operated from the Command Line to connect or disconnect a computer from a shared resource, or displays information about a current connection.

A use might be to create a mapped home network drive at logon. For this the command would be net use h: \\10.1.1.5\user-directory

As long as you can ping the resource this should work. You can also use a fully qualified name instead of the IP address. Using net use can be an alternative to going through the My Network Places and navigating the network neighbourhood.

The full command line options are:

net use [{device-name | *}] [\\computer-name\share-name[\volume]] [{password | *}] [/user:[domain-name\]user-name] [/user:[dotted-domain-name\]user-name] [/user:[[email protected]] [/savecred] [/smartcard] [{/delete | persistent:{yes | no}}] [/home]

device-name
assigns a name to connect the resource or specifies the device to be disconnected. A device name should be a drive letter from d: through to z: or a printer port from LPT1: through LPT3: . If the asterisk (*) is used the next available device name will be used
\\computer-name\share-name
specifies the name of the server and the shared resource if there is a space use quotation marks (")
\volume
refers to a NetWare volume on the server (Netware client needs to be installed on the workstation for this to communicate)
password
specifies the password for the shared resource an asterisk (*) tells the command line to prompt you for a password
/user
specifies a different use to conect to the resource with
domain-name
specifies the domain the user resides on if it is obmitted it will default to the current domain
/user-name
specifies the user name that you want to login with
dotted-domain-name
specifies a fully qualiifed domain name for the domain where the user resides on
/savecred
stores the credentials for future use
/smartcard
specifies that the network credentials to be used are on a smart card
/delete
disconnects the network connections if * is used as a connection name all connections are deleted
/persistent yes | n
controls whether the network connections persist after the current login session.
/home
connects the user to their home directory

Windows Network Sharing

How to setup a computer as the 'server' in a network file sharing setup.

This guide is based on Windows Vista and above. The concept is the same for all versions of Windows, however some of the exact operations maybe different depending on your version of Windows.

I have used this method to get a Windows XP machine to create a mapped network drive to a shared resource located on a Windows 7 machine.

Depending on your individual network setup creating shared network drives and the associated settings could cause security problems with your machine. A strong firewall is a recommended part of every setup that involves access to an external network (such as the Internet).

  1. Open the Network and sharing centre, and click on the Change Advanced Settings option. Turn Network Discovery On, Turn On File & Printer Sharing, Turn On Public Folder Sharing, Use 128bit encryption to help protection file sharing connections, Turn Off password protected sharing.

If you are running the Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions of Vista or above go to Computer Management (From the Start Menu right click on My Computer and select Manage from the drop down menu). Open the Local Users and Groups section and select users. Add a new user with the same details as the user trying to connect on the client (The username needs to match the user on the remote PC). You can also create a group for this user and the users that own the files if you like.

Go into the Users accounts page of the Control Panel and check that the guest account is created and active.

You can now setup your shares, when browsing your selected directory that you want to share right click the directory and select Share then choose the Specific People... option if it is a public folder you can select Everyone and click Add otherwise restrict the options down to whichever users you want to allow access to it. Don't forget to also adjust the required access level Read or Read/Write as required. Then click the Share button at the bottom of the dialogue box. If you then select the properties option for the directory you can see the share options, and also the full share name.

To connect on the remote PC use either net use command, Network Neighbourhood, or the Network path depending on what Operating System the remote PC is using and what you are trying to achieve.

Now that you have a remote PC connected you are able to see the connection from the server PC. Go back into the Computer Management and select Shared Folders and then Sessions. It is also possible to remotely disconnect a computer from this console.

Happy Windows File Sharing