How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: Do You Use the Command Line?

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Despite over two decades of GUI interfaces many power users still turn to the command prompt. This week we want to hear about when and how you use the command prompt on your computer.

Long ago in a time before you could manipulate your computer with a mouse and a series of buttons and windows, the command line ruled all. Even after years of GUI development and refinement many people still turn to the command line to get things done.

This week we want to hear all about your command line tips and tricks. Do you use the default command line for your OS? Have you enhanced it? Replaced it? What keeps you coming back to the command line when everyone happily works away in the OS’s GUI?

Sound off in the comments and don’t forget to check back in on Friday to see the What You Said roundup.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/22/11

Comments (307)

  1. Fleon

    I still find it easier to rename extensions with the command line. Also, batch files still rule!

  2. Antje

    I use command prompt for detailed error checking, and renewal of IP addresses.

  3. Pat OBrien

    Yes. CLI FTW

  4. Kevin Scott Schlanger

    Yes. For pinging and batch files. But I like the terminal much better.

  5. mehrdad khoddami

    Sometimes . for pinging or network checking

  6. John Smith

    Yes, all the time. I think PowerShell is a great replacement.

  7. jozi

    I only do when using Linux, where it makes things much easier.

  8. Mike Klaene

    Of course. Somethings are easier that was. Like ping and ipconfig. With a strong Unix background I still write and use batch files. It would be nice is the command line included more nice things like grep, sleep, touch. Maybe, someday, Windows will mature into a full OS.

  9. Josh

    I often use terminal in ubuntu, but I’ve never touched the command line on my windows PC.

  10. Chris van Marle

    After using Linux for some years I started missing all the power of Bash, Perl and the simple tools like base64, gzip, dd in Windows. Now I have Cygwin installed on all of my Windows computers and use Bash for lots of stuff; finding files (find!!!), editing (vim), renaming and even git.

  11. David William Edwards

    Yes, for creating directory listings. (Why doesn’t Windows Explorer have a print function?)

  12. Rick

    Yes, use it daily for numerous tasks. Tab completion really helps makes the tasks at hand faster and somewhat easier. iTerm for Mac OS and terminal or konsole for Linux.

  13. Merlin

    I often use it. There just are things that are easier done with the command line.
    And I use batch/command files also. To install some programs with different options without having to go through all the clicking. A preconfigured install so to speak.
    Most installs have the possibility to work with command line parameters, so I put them in a batch file and run that to install the program on multiple PC’s. Saves me a lot of clicking.

  14. Blisk

    I use it to install everything in Linux. I also control my server with the command line. I code with it to when I’m on my Cr-48. I SSH into my server which is connected to Dropbox and use vim.

  15. fengshaun

    Yes! I use it all the time. I have replaced Bash with ZSH and use mutt for email, newsbeuter for new, vim for text, ncmpcpp for music, weechat for chat, etc. I pretty much do everything in terminal!

  16. Tomas

    Yes, very much. When I’m on Windows I use CMD to do a lot of things, especially since I have several global paths set up. Like starting ddms and other Android debugging software, and running non-JARed Java programs among others. When I use Linux, I do almost everything in bash, it’s just faster, and shell-scripts are simply awesome.

  17. jon_hill987

    Not regularly in Windows except for obvious ones like ping, but any Linux distro needs a fair bit of mucking about with a command line interface.

  18. Kalle

    at xx:xx shutdown -h is the most useful command for me :)

  19. Kyle

    Not on a regular basis, but I will if the situation requires it, or it is easier to do through command line.

  20. ga4a

    Just to allocate how much space my backups take. I launch cmd as admin and use “vssadmin resize shadowstorage”. But mostly it’s just “ipconfig /all”

  21. tony

    Use it often for system info: ipconfig, msconfig, etc. Also it is useful to list a directory to a text file.

  22. Dave

    All day, every day. (g)vim is the first thing I install on every computer I get, followed closely by cygwin.

  23. Ann E.

    One of the first shortcuts I set up on any new machine goes to “The Dark Place”. Some ping & ipconfig, but I use it the most to generate a list of files in a directory / sub-directories and save the list as a txt file for reference or data extraction. Love it!

  24. Trojan

    Yes, today at work i learned how to check which userid is logged on to a specific pc and then check the specific details about this user and his domain permisions.

    nbtstat -a
    net user /domain

    CLI ftw!

  25. Kieran

    nope only to check my sites stats using ping

  26. Russell

    I still use it several times a day. It is just faster to type rather than taking the time to navigate a mouse. Like Dave gVIm is the first thing I install.

  27. Raghu Semburakkiannan

    I’m early DOS users and I like to do most of file manipulation, batch scripts etc through command line

  28. ylefevre

    Every Day !

  29. Olt

    Robocopy is the main cmd tool i use… it was the best decision ever to include it in Win7/Server ’08 without needing to add it… otherwise ping, arp and a lot of different batch files…

  30. Asgaro

    I brag with it: I type in it veeery fast when people pass behind me.

  31. C_3PO

    defrag C: /a
    Too be honest not that much, we used quite a lot while studying Cisco but it got all rather repetitive?? I do however use cmd to check websites :-)

  32. Dmitry

    Yes, every day.
    Also I am using linux-like command line – Cygwin.

  33. Brodiemac

    If you want to automate your Windows 7 deployments, you need to know command line for ImageX, sysprep and diskpart. I’ve worked side-by-side with Engineering grads from RPI who couldn’t do any of these while I ran typed circles around them with my lowly associated degree and 30 years experience with the command line.

  34. Grant Johnson

    It depends on what I am doing. If I am working with one or two files, I use the GUI, but when I need to do the same thing to several hundred files, or do the same thing many times, command line is easier. This applies to all three OS’s I use regularly, Linux, Windows, and OSX.

  35. Trent Bentley

    I use it a lot for IP stuff like release, renew, ping, and flush dns. I also use it to force group policy updates. Not as often, I’ll use it for formatting a drive as something Windows doesn’t have as a default. Or if there is a virus on a PC I use command prompt to show the admin account at login to bypass profile specific viruses.

  36. Harvey Arkawy

    I use TCC command from JP Software. Been using it and its predecessors 4Dos for many years. I like the ability to use alias with multiple commands within each alias such as…
    wash=cdd c:\t-pascal\workingm&ex (*.hlp *.res *.dof *.dsk *.dsm *.mfg *.cus *.mkf *.cnt *.dpr *.pas *.dfm) d8y&d

    Where wash is the alias,
    cdd = change drive and directory
    & = start of new command
    ex = alias for Except
    d8y = delete *.* and accept the y as a yes with no further prompts
    d = dir

    I used many aliases for cleanup while developing software, moving files from one directory to another, renaming files, deleting only certain files.

  37. Ramón

    CLI > GUI

  38. markiz

    just these past few days i had to use it to create a root user on my router. I hope it never happens again.

  39. johnp80

    I use it on whatever operating system I’m using, as it makes certain tedious tasks easier. Of course there are the usual ipconfig related tasks, and to compile things.

  40. Njitram

    Terminal is the main reason I refuse to use Linux. It’s fine for batch scripts and very short commands such as “make” or “ipconfig” but anything long should have a GUI. I know plenty of people don’t share my opinion but even more do. So there, that’s my view on things.

  41. A.Rod.1994

    Yes! Forever and always!

  42. Zibeb

    When building machines at work, I use the command line (or commands typed into the Run window) almost more often than I use a keyboard and mouse. (“net use X: \\UNC\Path” is much faster than drilling through menus to map a networked drive.) On my linux server, I use it for everything, as it’s much easier to grab root privileges that way, even using gksu if I *need* a GUI app. On my home Win7 box, I do have cygwin, but I generally just boot a vanilla cmd prompt and use it to telnet into

  43. BassPlayer

    I use it to clean my laptop…temp files, junk files, all the crap files…..fine-tune & fix my connections..

  44. Jack

    Just for Ipconfig /all in windows, but I use terminal a lot in linux (as it works a lot better in my opinion).

  45. BassPlayer

    Oh….BTW, I love the “netsh” command line…

  46. Nathan

    I love the command line! Being able to string together commands, and run programs with parameters is essential. The ability to whip up and quickly run a batch script is important as well.

  47. Michael Titman

    I use the command line for most networking issues and setup. SSH, quick-and-dirty ftp, piping directory contents into a text file. It used to be a lot more, but unless you’re working for a company (working with *nix, Active Directory, SQL, etc.) or are a developer the need for the command line for most things just isn’t there.

  48. Andrew

    You mean theres a GUI ? damn!

  49. Jason Wu

    I do (kind of).
    Command lines are useful for many network tasks (pinging, tracing) but I primarily utilize the Windows command line through the use of .bat files which I right to backup my programs. In my Ubuntu system, I have to use the terminal (sudo apt-get) to install pretty much every program (I don’t use the Ubuntu Software Center).

  50. Jon

    Absolutely. I have a cmd window open all the time for ping, nslookup, etc, and for more advanced tasks, PowerShell. I have PoSH modules to allow me to work with AD, Exchange, DataONTAP, Equallogic, VMware.

  51. octect

    I wonder when the linux people, or maybe those who think they are cool by calling themselves so, will drop this “discrimination” against windows. So tiring.For goodness sake, most of the things that were named here can be done from the windows command line. Yes, including grep, though it may not be as perfect as the unix version.Maybe the question is ( as someone put it here ) not when will Windows mature enough, rather when those so called linux people will mature. And just in case, yes, I do have some 15 linux servers in my work environment. And now to answer the question, yes, I do, all the time, especially using tools like sysinternals and the resource kit, and, of course, scripting. Strange question this one, is the any network admin who can do without the command line?

  52. fabiei

    I’m using all kind of terminals for just about everything since I installed Arch on my primary machine because it makes every little task so much easier and faster. On my Windows-Desktop/Gaming-PC I don’t need a good shell that often, but when I do I really miss bash + a set of “standard” tools like wget or grep. The Windows cmd and the so called “PowerShell” are just useless in comparison to those shells. They are just enough for basic things like ping or ipconfig for me.

  53. Leonardtj

    Hells yes I use it all the time even on my win 7 laptop. and if I am booted in to linux (mepis) I almost always have a terminal open.

  54. Sebastian

    Use it for the usual things (msconfig, dxdiag, ipconfig, chkdsk, ping, sfc /scannow, etc. etc.) but I’d very much like to familiarize myself in more commands. I’d very much like to see a dedicated cmd section on HTG, a collection of commands, what the do and how they work. Possible? :)

  55. krunk fu

    Command line is too essential to trouble shooting networks. ipconfig, ping, tracert, route statements. Copying files is better with robocopy. Rebooting servers. Trouble shooting PCs on a domain, you can use tasklist and taskkill to stop spyware from running.

  56. CF

    Right know using the convert command on my imac

  57. RC

    I install cygwin and use the bash command line constantly. CMD, on the other hand, is dead to me.

  58. cypher

    It’s almost always quicker and easier (at least for my day to day work) to use cli

  59. Edmenje

    I sometimes use the command line in windows, I use terminal in linux more often. Windows cmd for some things like sfc /scannow, and right now I am using it on a series of machines I maintain to keep limited user’s passwords from expiring (a computer lab for the members of a senior center to whom expiring passes confuses them) the function is available in the GUI in Win7 Ultimate and Pro but not in Home Premium which necessitates going to the command line to accomplish these types of administrative tasks.

  60. Lee

    I mainly use it for things like ipconfig and ping. It’s so much easier to find network info with ipconfig (like the internal IP address) than it is to muck around in the GUI.

  61. mr3rown

    ping (lots of PINGING!!)
    ipconfig /renew
    iponfig /release
    ipconfig /flushdns
    wget (not a windows system file but I use it in cmd)
    gpupdate /force

  62. Cris Nunes

    Command line r the most essential thing for any IT professional whatever OS you manage.
    I ‘ve used on a daily basis for more than a decade on many OSs, and i still do.

    I really love these Linux guys…
    they blindly take any other OS for granted not even knowing a dick about them…
    why not talking about how much better OS/390 and VOS are comparing to RedHat???
    Or how do you plan to manage like a thousand client pcs using RedHat and/or Ubuntu???

    Linux guys BS its still the most amazing thing in the IT world…

  63. Jack

    I use it every couple days for ipconfig, ping etc., because i work in IT. I also use it at home for ocassional batch scripts, and type commands, to circumvent some of the annoying windows security messages when executing files.

  64. Djf

    I use it at work to check FTP credentials and connections. It even returns error codes.Netsh adds a block of IP’s much faster than the GUI. I’ve already got it open to do nslookup, ping, etc anyway.

  65. Hans

    I’m really tired those “replace” guys and sayings. The GUI is just a new technique we acquired after the cmd. We need to master both to work efficient. I use bash for ssh, scripts… and I use a mouse to do GIMP, video editing.

  66. Nate

    Several times a day–and considerably more now that I’ve become quite proficient in PowerShell.

  67. RvdP

    Only for /ipconfig and ping :)

  68. June Blender

    I use Windows PowerShell to automate all of my internal processes so they’re efficient, repeatable and standardized. Copying and distributing files, parsing XML files, detecting OS/applications versions, verifying and testing processes, reading and setting registry settings. Everything I need to do more than once is automated with a simple function or script. You can’t automate GUI actions.

  69. David R

    On Windows: ping and ipconfig. I don’t use Windows for things that would work best in a command line. For that kind of stuff, I generally load a Linux VM.

    On Linux: I use it all the time, ‘course, I do a lot of programming and sys admin work, so it’s required. If I didn’t need it for those things, I’d do most stuff through the GUI.

  70. Joel

    Yes, every day. Windows CLI is significantly less useful without something like cygwin. Can’t live w/o the command line on any of my systems

  71. Dan

    As little as possible. I left DOS or Windows almost twenty years ago, and while I am still quite adept at using the CLI, I would prefer to do things on Windows GUI. And I can still create and run batch files without opening CMD. I played around a bit with Windows Powershell but decided it’s not for me.

    On Linux the CLI/Terminal is still a necessary evil, though I try to avoid it. Given a choice, I’d rather use a GUI frontend than to meddle with the CLI.

  72. utkarsh

    Yes to rename batch file to ping also in my clg to transfer data they hide all drive other then your login drive and also net is given after a clg finish so using command line i use to transfer data to c or d drive and then another user login and copy data from there to his drive back.

  73. Wayne

    It seems like it is required for some things like managing IP assignment on a PC. At least if you want valid feedback. However, I use it as little as possible.

  74. Prashant

    Becomes necessary to use in Ubuntu, when it comes to installing programs. Also taking ownership with the “$sudo chown” command is painlessly easier. In windows, i have completely moved on to powershell for my every rare need. Formatting virus infected usb key is also very simple in cmd.

  75. TekBoi

    All the time, every day.

    ipconfig, ping, ver (to prove to customers that Windows 7 is actually Windows 6.1)

  76. Caroline

    I use the command line sometimes, unfortunatly i don’t think cmd is the greatest tool in windows.
    In Unix system on the other hand, you can’t live without it! :D

  77. Muggs

    Every day at work for fixing group policy, getting ip’s and pinging (amongst other things)
    not so much at home on Linux these days, mostly apt-get for the odd bit of software and running programs.

  78. Mohit

    for pinging, and when some of your article to-dos require me to :)

  79. Efrain

    Yes, for everyday troubleshooting and for teaching myself Powershell.

  80. Kamran

    Oh, all the time. You can call me old fashioned, but I work so much on command line (cmd and bash from Cygwin in Windows) that I don’t know what could I do without these things.

    And the main reason to do command line is repeated tasks, e.g. tasks which can only be done using some sort of loop (i.e. for loop). Although I am so much proficient in VIM that I never edit any text/code file in any other editor.

    As I was using CYGWIN I missed the enhancements of CMD which I started to grasp now.

    In the old days of DOS/Win31/Win9x I had written and used many batch files which still today I have with me (many of those for historic reasons only)

  81. J

    I do most of my work on linux machines (CFD, mostly OpenFOAM) where I barley ever see a GUI. Screen, emacs and rsync are some of my favorite tools.

    On windows I don’t use the command line much. However, judging from the comments above maybe I should give powershell another chance?

    In paraview (a data visualization software) you can record everything you do in the GUI and get it as a python script. Every button and setting in the GUI has a command line counter part. I wish all applications had this feature. You learn the software using an easy to understand GUI, and as your skill level increase you move on to using the faster command line instead.

  82. kikko

    Of course i use it on my LinuxBox. And I’ve integrated some bash into my Windows 7 CMD too !

  83. Loser

    Of course! Command line is still much more effective even today. I use it to check my network state, check my disk, many many occasions. Batch programing is also a basic skill which requires your familiarity with command. There is always ‘cmd’ in my Run, and this is enough.

  84. rebelhed

    I love the command line and the terminal. When I’m assisting noobs, its really impressive. It also means I can disregard the mouse. I hate the mouse it just slows me down. My favourite trick is the scheduled shutdown command. Great for practical jokes.

  85. Eric

    I use the command line for various things, like the “sfc (/scannow)” and other similar tasks…
    Some people tend to totally forget that the command line still is a powerful tools with has many different uses.

  86. ekadim

    Still using it. There are so many things that I can do with command line but not with any GUI. Batch programming, renaming, net commands, boot troubleshooting…

  87. TheMrBugz

    im starting to use it a lot more now but for basic things ill do it normally

  88. Weimer

    I use it for several different things. Troubleshooting network issues (ping and tracert) and AD issues (net user) are probably the ones I use the most.

  89. Manojit

    I like command line. It always works. GUI is good for user friendly and faster navigation. I use 20% of my PC works via command-line. Using command-line takes time to practice only, but after you are familiar, command-line is one thing you will like very much.

  90. C.L.

    Yes, use CLIs very often. Nowadays have powershell almost everywhere and use that instead of cmd.
    I don’t use GUIs on Linux or UNIX

  91. trm96

    I still use the command line! In windows it’s the number one way to ping and to do traceroutes. I also still enjoy writing batch files. On the Linux side (Fedora) I use it anytime I modify file permissions. I also use it for pings and traceroutes as well as updating my install packages (via yum). And on the OS X side it use if for everything listed above.

    Most of the time it’s easier to just type in commands rather than looking for ways to do common things via the GUI.

  92. david

    use it all the time, especially since i started to use linux
    there’s nothing in the gui side that can compare to the power of bash.
    also i work as isp tech support, sometimes i prefer to spend 20 minutes(if I’m lucky) to explain
    to some of our less tech savvy customers how to activate the CLI to solve their problem,
    you can’t go wrong there and you can’t click on something that for example will delete your local are connection.

  93. spoko

    I use it quite a bit, on both Windows and MacOS. Batch files/scripts are an indispensable time-saver, and some things are just simpler from the CLI. I would like to start using PowerShell quite a bit ore on Windows, but have only learned a few limited things with it. Really, though, I doubt I’ll ever stop using the CLI. For automation, and for running a specific command across a range of files or folders, it’s probably always going to be the most direct approach.

  94. Boubakr Nour

    I use the command line for every things, updating, testing… my system

    I changed the command prompt style (background, colors, fonts…) and I made and short-cut for call it, I use also the history as it’s save time, and makes a short links for a long commands to make them simple for the other users, and make for every user a style (.bachrc)

  95. Rick

    wow, what a response. Yes, I use the command for system administration. Nothing beats the speed and reliability of a command line.

  96. AbbaDabba

    I use it for nslookup, pings and ipconfigs. I never bothered to learn where those were in the new environment and I’m comfortable with the cmd format.

  97. Sean Ike

    Yep, renewing ips, tracert, etc. Exchange powershell is a must.

  98. Hydrox24

    I always have a CLI open when in ubuntu, through that it mostly because I am always halfway through some hack or programming task. I have always felt that the windows CMD line was a bit weak, even powershell didn’t impress me. Now that I have read the above comments though, I admittedly feel differently about that and will try to learn some basics, though I am getting to a level of efficiency with bash that I can’t be bothered with the confinement of learning a windows CMD program

  99. Zenchaos

    I use the command prompt in Windows to map network drives, share folders, push down permissions, and make registry edits. I also use it for obvious functions like ping.

    As for the Linux side of things, which would encompass all my home PC’s, I use the terminal for updating, installing software, file management, and trouble-shooting. I use a lot of terminal-based software, such as Midnight Commander, wordgrinder, vim, and lynx.

  100. Joe

    I use the command line because the mouse hurts me. My RSI issues are mouse-related, so I try to use it as little as possible, which means I stick to the keyboard as much as possible. So, keyboard shortcuts for GUI programs rule the day.

    Besides that, the CLI is much more powerful than most GUI’s for things that I do, which is very programming-centric. You can’t beat “ps -ef | grep java | grep -v grep | wc -l” or “ant clean dompile deployhv deployrvm javadoc” with a GUI.

    Alternatives for GUI programs are useful, too, like Emacs dired instead of Windows Explorer or Nautilus. Emacs is very good at replacing lots of GUI programs for me.

    Of course, when it comes to creating Word docs or Spreadsheets, you need a GUI.

  101. GirlGeek

    Old DOS user!! Still use CMD for ping, ipconfig, msconfig, regedit, directory listings (to keep my music/videos updated in a spreadsheet). You never know when you might need it when a desktop or OS is trashed.

  102. Wyhteagle

    Batch Files FTW! there really is alot to do with batch files, and even more you can do with powershell.

  103. John

    I still break it out in Windows for IP related stuff, and defragging XP. In Linux it is essential.

  104. Plasmed

    Yes, batch tasks or when GUI is unsufficient/fails

  105. Angela

    I use it for ping and ipconfig. Sometimes other CMDs for commands not available in Windows GUI, such as xcopy (freeware).

  106. Brad

    ping, ipconfig, and PSTools rule!!

  107. Stevie

    Yep, ping, net use, xcopy, batch scripts..

  108. Tony

    I find the CLI indispensable for getting my job done quickly. I primarily utilize CYGWIN on my Windows machine because of the breadth of tools available.

  109. Jeff

    YES, for a number of purposes. ESSENTIAL!

  110. Sid

    Yep. Totally! CLI \m/

  111. RORO


  112. Mark Hinrichsen

    I cut my teeth on command lines and went crying and screaming to Windows. I still use the C:\ often especially when troubleshooting network connections issues; releasing and renewing IP addresses; Pinging addresses and when cleaning out a HD and installing a new OS I use the C:\ to delete partitions; create partitions;and format HD. I agree that batch files still rule!

  113. StarsLikeDust

    In windows I usually use ping, ipconfig and shutdown. Very occasionally I use some of the other network related commands. For everything else there are batch files. When on a *nix OS I use the command line quite a bit: scripts, server administration, installing programs, editing config files, networking, etc.

  114. dls

    CLI all the way. I use it when ever I can. I can use net commands to create groups and add users faster then the GUI. Ping, telnet, nslookup, netsh are daily commands with me. Also nothing beats diskpart to handle partitions.
    Powershell is the best!

  115. maharlika

    ping, ipconfig, flushdns and a few others I use all the time. I’ve even taught some of the non-IT coworkers how to use these–I’ve asked the question: “what’s your IP address?” so often they automatically do ipconfig!

  116. wblake

    A command line really can simplify “batch” tasks. Like other commenters, I use cygwin bash. I have used the MKS toolkit as well. PowerShell has some enhanced facilities that merit review when I get time ;)

    cmd.exe : ping, ftp, gnuemacs, xcopy, xharbour xbprompt (clipper dot prompt work-alike)

    cygwin bash: ssh, ftp, gunzip, gnuemacs, grep, gawk, sed, find, head, tail, ls, wget, view, xbprompt, ps,

  117. csanabria

    Of course, there are still many tasks that require command line and many tools available only that way.

  118. Barnabas

    When you have to turn hibernation on, ping test, batch file scripting, enabling Administrator in vista & win 7 and password change etc, not to mention the file attribute setting – where else can u trun back to other than the CMD line – it will look like you don’t have the pointing finger without the command line- Essential one folks, essential one…

  119. Dave sioda

    My programming experience started with punched cards, paper tape & assembler level programs before COBOL and higher level languages arrived. I naturally migrated to Linux, command lines and batch files for my home PC.

  120. John

    No, it is too confusing to use the command line.

  121. Richard Walker

    I use the command line all the time.
    -/ I edit music files and create sheet music using software I’ve used for years. It is “MUCH” easier than Windows versions.
    -/ I use batch files for many items that involve file names. Windows is not ideal for these type needs.
    -/ Disk maintenance is easiest at the command line level.
    -/ Some internet functions (like ping) are a piece o cake from the command line.
    Every time I hear Billy or other WinDoze creatures say that the command line will be ending I shudder. He should know better by now.

  122. Serj

    I use the terminal allways in Ubuntu, but very rare in Windows. In Linux, you can do everything with the comand line and only a few things with GUI.

  123. xamian

    Command lines suck donkey !@#$%. GUIs were made to make things easier, which in turn make us more efficient and productive. Unfortunately the IT world in infected with eggs-heads that like to make things more complicated than they need to be because that’s how they get off. If that’s the mind set than we should all throw away our computers and go back to using type-writers. In short CLIs are for douche bags.

  124. Zeke

    You know, ten years ago (or so) we said we’d be using voice to control our computers, but the technology isn’t quite there yet. Forty years ago the mouse came about and we’re still stuck on the command line. The two are directly related…

    The computer is a text based device and it takes two hands to type. Anything done on the computer (other than graphics intensive work) will be done better and more quickly with a keyboard. It interrupts flow to switch between mouse and keyboard, and the mouse cannot navigate through the computer as quickly (for example: getting to a deep path in an explorer type window is much, much slower than using ‘cd’ with tab completion). One of the reasons touch devices are so popular is that the pointing device and input device (text or other) are one in the same.

    If we had prehensile tails, perhaps things would be different:

  125. }liriccall

    I still use it for deleting, renaming, find some files, configure wifi/eth, encrypt/decrypt even to use the “edit” :) CMD is power, I use linux too and it’s cool.

  126. Jeeepers

    By and large I usually avoid it although 2 commands have proved to be indespensable:
    “fsutil resource setautoreset true C:\” often fixes system restore errors, and “sfc /scannow” cures about 70% of general ailments on my Win7 x86 home premium.

  127. Rizan

    Yes I use it day in and day out. The power of the cmd can’t be compared with any of the GUI’s. I use it for network troubleshooting mostly. e.g. ping, tracert, ipconfig etc..

  128. }liriccall

    @xamian more eficient?? first of all. you need to find the cursor, find the button, wait for the windows management system to show everything, try this: use some app that isn’t in the menu (directly) Excel as example, click on start/all programs/microsoft…/microsoft excel… ok… or just do it: wds key + R , this shows the run window here type excel and enter. thats all.
    cmd for command line
    control for control panel
    winword for ms word
    powerpnt for you know powerpoint

    easier ???? think about it

  129. Chris LTQ

    If you count the use of batch files, then command line is a major use on my part. Everything from Managing print jobs, renaming folders, migration tools, MSIExec, PSExec and loads and loads of stuff that i have ‘personalised’ that all comes with command line variants and/or switches. I even purchased a book ( so i could get a bit more in depth with it. As i learnt more and more i then began to use CMD Line in conjuction with VB scripts, all this recently led me to discovered the up and coming Windows Power Shell ( which I believe has some insane power potential.

    GUI’s were designed to make things easier for the normal/standard user, after all, reports and spreadsheets, photos and graphs don’t have the same impact in text only format.

    ( )
    ( )
    -^x^- ( )
    /~ ~\ ( )
    | | ( )
    | | ( )
    | __ _, (~~~~-( )
    /\/\ (. ).) `_’_’, ( )
    C __) (.( .)-( )
    | /~~~ \ (_ ( )
    / \ ~====’ /_____/` D)
    /`-_ `—‘ \ |
    .__|~-/^\-~|_/_ |^^^^^^^|| |
    __. ||/.\ | |OooooO
    \ —. \ | | \ _
    _- ,`_’_’ .~\ \|__ __|-____ / )
    \ ( .\ (. ) \(_/ )
    ~- _) \_- ooo @ (_) @ \(_//.
    / /_C (-.____) /((O)/ \ ._/\~_.
    / |_\ / / /\\\\`—–” _|>o< |__
    | \ooooO ( \ \\ \\___/ \ `_'_', /
    \ \__-| \ `)\\-^\\ ^–. /_(.(.)- _\
    \ \ ) |-`–.`–=\-\ /-//_ ' ( c D\
    \_\_) |-___/ / \ V /.~ \/\\\ (@)___/ ~|
    / | / | |. /`\\_/\/ / /
    / | ( C`-'` / | \/ (/ /
    /_________- \ `C__-~ | / (/ /
    | | | \__________| \ (/

    *This is meant to be the simpson's…..d'oh!!!

    I think Command line should be rattling around in most (what i call) Power Admin's heads as it is very useful knowledge to have. Anyone who is serious about IT should definatly know a thing or two about Command line, be it Windows or Linux (Linux command line is a nightmare but very very good!!! I believe it can also be used cross platform, unlike MS Cmd Line)

  130. Erik

    yep, I use the command line regularly. Anybody that doesn’t use it doesn’t savvy computers.

  131. Ken

    Use it for file directory listing to text file.
    Also several command line programs and functions.
    Also for IP configure and status.
    And a couple of batch files I made.

  132. Erik

    @xamian = obvious troll and probably a meatball to boot.

  133. Stephen Mann

    I use batch files and the command line daily. Most often to change the drive letters of my external drives (using the subst command). I also have two HOSTS files. One it the original (do nothing) file from Microsoft, and the other is loaded with known spam IP’s (a free download from Batch files let me quickly swap them. (Sometimes I need to let a tracker see me in order to use a website).

  134. Doug Jensen

    Yes, I use the native CLI occasionally but usually I use PromptPal which is what the native CLI should have been.

    @xamian, you are an ignoramus.

  135. outRIAAge

    Of course! Sometimes just out of habit, but you can’t (yet) do things like this any other way:

    fsutil behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0

    Win7’s Windows Explorer further dumbs down search, so I recently reminded my fingers how to grep and fgrep.

    And to get some repetitive things done, it’s still much easier to list files, pipe them to a .bat file, then batch-paste the command on the front and the other arguments on the back of each one.

    Favourite trick: If I’m going to keep a big, complicated batch file, I add comments, and instead of using REM, which slows things down, I use :: which works MUCH faster :-)

    And when I get just terminally irritated by Win7 mothering me, asking for confirmation that I really want to delete items in a folder tree, there’s always the glorious rm -r *

  136. Tura

    I prefer to do ipconfig /renew, dnsflush etc in command prompt, ít seems more ‘real’. Besides you look more like a geek typing white text in a black box than clinking options in something user-friendly. Good for remoting on user computer – look at me I do commands!

  137. Robert

    I love Terminal and use it daily. It is so much easier than traversing Directory paths, running commands and moving files and directories around.

  138. Jerry

    Yes, I tend to move to it when doing any debugging on my system, and running some of the batch files I use.

  139. Aaron Pace

    I use the Command Prompt pretty regularly for basic ip renewal and admin installs.

  140. DarkWinterNights

    Absolutely for a variety of tasks, especially since I’m constantly configuring new systems. To that end, I could spend hours making everything right in an operating system, or type a few lines in terminal and save yourself from having to navigate a hundred different places to accomplish small things. It only magnifies when you start putting it all into tweakable scripts.

    The GUI is great if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, or if you’re fiddling with things, but at the end of the day you’re hard-pressed to match the efficiency of a command-line tool when it comes to overhead, speed and overall efficiency, especially when you’re dealing with routines that require babysitting or are scalable.

  141. Scott Dunn

    I didn’t get back into the command line until I started using Linux. The DOS prompt in Windows is so primitive compared to Linux. In Linux, they thought of everything and put it in there. In Windows, the CLI has memory problems, among other things.

    So yeah, I use the command line. Loathed in Windows, loved in Linux.

  142. William Gale

    love the command line learned to use computer using dos and still use forms of it

  143. Ernie

    I manage my own systems and don’t claim to be a techie, but I use the command line to improve ops (msconfig) or to delete files temp, %temp% and prefetch.

  144. Daniel

    Yes I do. More switches and better control. I always used MS-DOS way back, when I was using 3.1 and Win95 (dual-boot).

  145. cactusdr

    Pinging, boot and system problems. Wished I would have taken the time to learn it and all of its capabilities. Just cheating myself.

  146. Gian-Luigi Valle

    I always make batch files at school because we are not allowed to access command prompt. In linux i do a lot of stuff from the terminal.

  147. Silver Sparrow

    ALL THE TIME! I consistently use it to make backups, pinging, getting to hidden administrative properties and through batch files! I did however use terminal more often when i was running ubuntu 10.10

  148. Chris G.

    I work at a community college in the Networking Labs and we use command line often for various tasks. Diskpart, ping, ipconfig, dism; the uses of command line are nearly endless.

  149. John

    I’ve been using command line on unix servers since 1985 when we had DEC Writers as the consoles. All of my work unix/linux servers are managed by command line and on rare occasion I still use “ed”.

  150. Elliot

    I use it constantly both a work and at home.
    Mostly for automating processes. I have hundreds of perl scripts I couldn’t live without.
    Also, there are some things I just got used to doing from a command-line from the old DOS days, and I just never bothered to use the GUI equivalent.

  151. omagana

    I used in my Windows Desktop to ping, trace different sites or servers in my LAN. In my Linux servers, I use command line in the server console. I am a big fan of Vi editor.

  152. Derek

    chkdsk /r
    ipconfig /all

    to name but a few


  153. mrBrightwork

    Yes, it is always open, I can type in the name of a document or a batch file much faster than clicking around.

  154. Matt

    I utilize the command line daily for batch files, Powershell, deployment, troubleshooting, etc., etc.

  155. Jim

    >I use it for some batch files (.BAT), ipconfig and also chkdsk /f/r. I go all the way back to DOS 3.0 which had an extroardinary number of commands that were long since discarded by Microsoft, who dumbly believed we no longer should need these. I would like to see more utility and maintenance commands added – everything seems geared to the IT professional, not for us home users (who are too dumb to know anything, right?). I have used Linux command line and I think that many of those commands should be migrated to the Windows command line. If I had my way, I would have a text driven shell and a GUI shell and work in both equally well. I personally miss the text driven programs – the GUI programs are too simplified and sterile looking, whereas, you get the feeling of really being in control of the machine when using the command line. My sentiments, I guess.

  156. cam2644

    The terminal in Linux systems.

  157. GKI

    Since I’ve gone to W7 with a very fast cable connection: never. When I’m working on someone’s XP w/DSL, I might have to resort to the cmd line for tests.

  158. TsarNikky

    Sometimes you just have to use the “big sledge hammer” to force the OS or application to do something you want to do; but the GUI is trying to prevent you. It is similar to a lot of the nonsense out in the marketplace that is there “for your protection.” I’ll assume the risk, thank you.

  159. Sue

    I use it to run my Perl and other web generating programs.

  160. Rich

    All the time.

  161. blakistone

    xcopy is the best way to back up files – batch files make it simple – use windows scheduler to automate them – ex: if exist h: xcopy /d /y *.xls h:\ – this backs up excel files to flash drive

  162. defenderTX

    Every single day. I build large .NET applications with multiple solutions using batch files, and run a VM with a linux distro to do all my dirty work: server/database management, networking issues, and VIM!

  163. Andrew Kinchen

    command line ALL THE TIME.
    sometimes if you can’t remember where something is in the control panel it’s easier to call it by command line, such as
    add remove programs….appwiz.cpl
    sounds……. control sound
    restarting the pc.. shutdown -r -t 5
    and of course batch files RULE!!!

  164. Shyam Sharma

    i used when some time external memory disk wont respond through window or some file misplaced or convert into shortcut of command prompt……
    format is also an gud task as some time window deny to format the device.

  165. Ross

    Most days I use it for sorting people’s network problems – ipconfig, nbtstat, netsh and occasionally for renaming groups of files. (The comments take me back to days when I had to enter PDP bootstrap loaders on the front panel in binary and then install the OS from paper tape. Then we moved on to CP/M, supercalc, …) OMG – I’m ancient!

  166. Cori

    and many other tasks
    The command prompt is an invaluable tool that I use often.

  167. ofa

    I see myself using it once in a while. Sometimes it’s faster and easier to use the command line.

  168. Ashiq Irphan

    I use command line for network related functions such as

    I hide my secret contents on to a local disk and remove it`s drive letter by using the “diskpart”.

    Format flash drives when the GUI refuses to work, by using force format

  169. Mike_W

    Use it all the time. Also use keyboard shortcuts (‘Ctrl Key’ commands and the ‘Windows Key’ commands) just makes life easier. Wouldn’t use the mouse if I didn’t have to, keyboard commands are a lot faster. GUI was not created to make life easier, it was a marketing tool for those too lazy or inept to use a computer.

  170. Joe O'Loughlin

    I seldom have a computer session where I don’t use the DOS command line. I have
    numerous (very)old .com and .exe items that allow me to manage my computer
    the way I want. Although I have found several “replacement” items that work with
    windows, that number of items is very small compared to what I am still using
    from the DOS command line.

    I also find it easier to maneuver among directories (folders) thanks, especially,
    to the ability to use the * in any directory name.

    I have numerous batch files(over 1000), painfully assembled over a 30 year period,
    that allow me to quickly perform tasks that are painful at best otherwise(windows).

    I would not be pleased to be denied the use of my materials just because others
    refuse to take the time to learn how to use the DOS command line. I am more
    than a little annoyed that some of these valuable items that function well now
    refuse to work in Windows 7. That is the main reason that 13 of my computers
    still run fine for me with Windows XP. Only one computer has Windows 7. I am
    old enough to say that I will only be making limited use of Windows XP for my
    foreseeable future. It is highly unlikely I will live long enough to worry about
    not being able to use Windows XP. It’s always been different strokes for
    different folks. This so-called issue is not an issue for me.

  171. HR_PR

    I use it for troubleshooting purposes and for batch files. In each new windows version additional options and utilities are added. Knowing them allows you to used the via the command prompt. Sometimes you want to release yourself of the GUI and have fun..

  172. dave

    Yes, and yes

  173. Jack

    I actually used to teach DOS at night school in the late 80s and early 90s. But for me, the days of batch files (copy con:autoexec.bat, etc.) and config.sys are long gone. It’s too easy to find and use GUI replacements.

    echo off :-)

    – Jack

  174. Schmidty

    I use command line in Windows mostly for ftp. I got used to command line ftp in the 90’s and it’s ingrained into my muscle memory. When I’m on a client’s computer that either needs a file that I have, or I want to copy/backup a few of their files, I don’t have to worry if they have an FTP client installed, I just open up the command line, connect to my ftp server and within seconds I have the transfer going.

  175. Chrunchstick

    Yes, on Ubuntu almost every day and on my Arch linux( without GUI) Always:)

  176. E.W.

    Not everyday, but sometimes a lot, when I’m checking an error or fixing and fiddling.

    ipconfig comes to mind too. Pinging, etc.

  177. bill

    I cut my teeth on CP/M and Oasis, so the command line is essential to me. Without it – what is the difference between Windows and a MAC?

  178. Allen

    Ping and ipconfig is all really.

  179. Lukas

    Use it to browse,find and replace files on system32. Clear DNS cache and sometimes when customizing Windows look. For other purposes I use the run command directly from shortcut Win+R.

  180. JerrySte

    I use it daily for various admin and network tasks as well as batch files and scripts I’ve written

  181. Rob

    There was a very short-lived and much reviled GUI for Cisco, which are effectively CLI-only devices. And MUCH more complex than DOS! Someone in the Bay’s looking after their job(s)

  182. Robin Mathew Rajan

    Yep, I use the Command Prompt in Windows often, but I’m not that geeky about Terminal in Linux. Well, I use the CMD for certain troubleshooting & other miscellaneous works. Troubleshooting is mainly backing up & restoring the BCD store of my Windows 7 & repairing my Boot Sector as well as MBR if necessary when installing or removing Linux partitions or when restoring up the partitions using CloneZilla. Also, SFC (System File Checker) in Windows is also a command line utility. I use it for when my Windows 7 system files get corrupted because of my faulty UPS, which goes off instantly when there is a blackout :D. Other miscellaneous works include renaming files using CMD. CMD is essentially a great offering when we need to rename the extensions of couple of files all at once, which cannot easily done in GUI without a third party app. And yes, I use it for making my pen-drive Windows 7 installation source for other troubleshooting purposes when things can’t be done in normal mode such as SFC or MBR fixing etc.

  183. Edward Dunagin

    Absolutely do I use the command line. For almost everything I do in Linux, except calling up browsers and such things. I think it is a holdover from DOS. I never used windows and I wont start now

  184. Op3

    I work on pipe organs, and the control system I use utilizes Command Prompt for compiling the files into whichever level of system I’m making use of for that job.

  185. Eric

    Use the old school cmd line and powershell quite a bit to administer AD and SQL.

  186. rajaspidey

    yes fcrz..!!!!!

  187. Jeff Franklin

    Doesn’t the Bible say that ” if you teach a man “DOS” when he’s young, He’ll return to it all of his life.” I still feel more comfortable in dos than windows. Especially when doing things, like formatting.

  188. david

    Whenever i can!

  189. danaross

    I’m a Ubuntu user but don’t use the command line too often. Just a little copy and pasting to get things in my repository from time to time.

  190. bhm22mc

    Yes mapping printers and drives >net use-batch file in start up folder

  191. Stephen

    I live by the command line..

    I do the scripting at a major pc refurbishing company.

  192. Robyn

    I use the command line whenever I’m trying to clean up an infected computer or have issues – like many others ping and ipconfig are some of my most common uses too. I haven’t beefed it up, but then I don’t actually use it very frequently on my own machine – always seems to be someone elses LOL

  193. ShaggyVW

    Rarely, but time to time I do use it to change the way windows works.

  194. Elliott Rand

    I would be lost without the command line which I use many times each day..
    There are still many features that cannot be reached thru Windows.
    I despise the touchpad and no longer will consider notebooks that have no way to disable it, such as
    Toshiba because of the cursor instability when typing, forcing me to use a USB keyboard…..
    I use mingw and cygwin heavily.
    I use Linux and find its ability to access both GUI and command line from same program a major plus.
    I find your column very useful and informative.

  195. cwcarlson

    I’ve been using command line since the 70’s. What I like about windows (whether M$ Windows or X Windows) is the ability to have multiple command lines available to me at once. I work considerably faster if I can do everything without having to take my hands away from the keyboard, thus I like Emacs as well.

  196. Al

    I just used it to pipe a directory listing into a text document. (dir *.* > filelist.txt). I have yet to figure out how to do this using the GUI. In WORD I use the “Shift+Control+Alt” to do a rectangular select and delete everything but the file name. My files are named with document number so you don’t know what the document title is when they are listed in Windows Explorer. I add HTML tags with labels with the document title. Now you can easily create a webpage that lets you find a document by its title and click to open it. Otherwise you need to create a separate cross reference table file. Nice touch if you are turning a set of documents over to someone on a CD, DVD…

  197. Saptashwa

    Well, I use the CMD in Windows for usual pinging and writing JDK JAVA files (using EDIT), compiling them (JAVAC) and running (JAVA).
    Linux installations means terminal which could have been a OS in itself by the sheer number of features it offers. CMD pales in comparison.

  198. saikia81

    I use it while running server stuff on my Linux server, and batch files are great for friends or myself.

  199. Tony

    After I create a backup of my data files and personal files, I use the command line to compare the copies to the original data. Sometimes you find the copy is not complete or accurate because of a DVD write problem, especially when writing 8 gigs to a DL DVD disk. I also use it to create folders.

  200. Jack

    Every few days, typically for checking system issues, especially network problems.

    I also live at the end of a low speed shared network connection. I can ssh out and get
    a reliable usable connection where working with a gui (windows or unix) is just burdensome

    I also use it to get in and check security logs on other machines without disturbing
    ‘local users’.

    … an admin’s job is never done.

  201. pasavare

    I use it to explore potentially dangerous external storage

  202. Nick S.

    I always say, “When all else fails, the command line doesn’t.” I’ve used the command line many times when either the GUI takes too long to perform the same actions (e.g. too many clicks and windows), or the GUI wasn’t responsive; or worse, it wasn’t even present. I had to backup an XP machine once when explorer.exe would load for anything, yet I was able to plug in a flash drive, open up the command prompt, and copy all the important files off of it.

    And in Linux, the alternative terminal displays have saved my life on a number of occasions when Gnome or KDE have completely crashed/bugged-out on me.

  203. Srikanth Rao

    I love CLA more than GUI..! I daily use some command prompt commands at least just for killing time..!

  204. Sarasvati80

    Not really, unless I need too. I’m not skilled enough for that yet.

  205. Snert

    Yes, quite a bit. I cut my teeth on computers that didn’t have a GUI.
    You had to program the idiot machine to do anything that wasn’t provided on a 5 1/2″ floppy.
    If you know where to look, and don’t mind typing, you can find damned near everying. you can delete anything you don’t like. If you’re not careful you can really screw things up. I have.
    That’s why I backup. If everything works, cool – if it don’t, punt.

  206. exPCman

    Yep, I was using command line with Windows even before my first exposure/experience with Linux [which was with Knoppix but now Ubuntu] and still do but only for some of the more technical stuff rather than routine things; of course, with Ubuntu I use “terminal” all the time and happily so, perhaps just because it seems to be more “geeky” (???). Or more fun or a sheer act of nostalgia.

  207. Xeogin

    Nothing beats being able to fully script exactly what you want to do, and that’s what the CLI is good for. A lot of the time it also lets you view things a GUI wouldn’t (Although should in a lot of cases). Running something via CLI usually has performance advantages as well, and unlike some GUIs (e.i. Explorer.exe) one hose up doesn’t prevent you from using everything else (e.i. A locked up file copy). One of the first things I do personally on a Windows box is force cmd.exe to open with Administrative credentials. This is both a convenience & prevents limited users from fooling around. I also like to a .reg with the following:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment]
    “Prompt”=[%computername%\%username%] $_$p$g

    So I know when I’m executing a command on my local machine or remotely. There are so many useful commands, a good handful for networking are:

    getmac /S (Find out the MAC address of a remote machine)
    net time / /set (Sync system time with the DC)
    ping -a ::1 (Ping & attempt to resolve host name (Using IP6 localhost since it’s super short))
    pathping (Basically see where hose ups are when trying to connect to a host)
    ipconfig /displaydns (See what sites users may have been going to, even if they delete there history…)
    arp -d (Good to run on all clients if a NIC was just switched out on a server, etc.)
    server server IP
    set type=SRV
    (Standard probe for DNS server info)
    netsh wlan show networks interface=”Wireless Network Connection” mode=bssid (CLI version of nearby wireless networks, it tells a whole lot more than the GUI)

  208. Chak

    Yes, frequently. In fact I’m still using one program I developed in Basic.

  209. Greg O.

    Just like many others have pointed out: Cygwin!

  210. ezra Ben-Meir

    I have ubuntu as a backup in case Windows goes down. I use the command line in Windows as a help with problems that require solving via the command line.

  211. Naseer

    I use the below commands that might be helpfull

    ipconfig /release
    ipconfig /renew
    netsh winsock reset
    ipconfig /flushdns
    wmic bios get serialnumber

  212. MyrnaT3

    Yes. I still use batch files, move directories around, print directory “trees,” etc. I’m 67 and have been using “command” for over 20 years. My needs are too simple to learn code at this time of my life.

  213. F11

    Yes, for ipconfig, pinging, batch files and file extension renaming

  214. DIS-Hooch

    I’m a computer support tech and, YES!!! I’m on the cmd line quite a bit. Lots of info you can get from there, when you know the commands.

  215. Avatar-IT

    I couldn’t live without the command line! Being a busy Windows/Linux/OS-X consultant and admin for small companies, there is no way I could manage all the servers and workstations via GUI’s.

  216. Phil

    I would like to be able to use it but I simply don’t know how. How can I learn?

  217. coldfire7

    Yes. CLI FTW!

  218. Astronomer

    I’m a recent ‘nix convert and am just learning to use the CLI. Trying to learn how to do all the things I usually do from GUI with it. So far I’ve installed, uninstalled, and run wicd, madwifi-ng, and synaptic frok the CLI.

  219. Scott

    On Windows 7 I use Cygwin rsync to do backups… haven’t found anything better…. and use the Android command line tools such as ‘adb’.

    On Linux/OpenBSD I still run headless servers (really VMs now) so use the command line all the time.

  220. Cole

    Just used at again the other for a new purpose- used in conjunction with Hammer of God’s Extra Outlook program = Multiple Instances/Profiles open in Outlook simultaneously! Love it!
    Check it out:

  221. Joe Johnson

    I can’t function properly when using Windows — unless I’ve got the Address Bar in my Taskbar.

  222. Bryan Cuneo

    I mainly use it for apt-get. Occasionally use it for (un)archiving and manual .deb installation. I also use it for compiling source code and other opperation for installation of some peograms.,I used FFMPEG a few times, buy I rarely use that anymore. I use BASH by the way on Konsole. Gonna try xTerm though.

  223. Oz DiGennaro

    Of course, you are not showing a real command line, which would, of course, be bash.
    Anytime I need to do anything even slightly complex, like getting a list of files in a directory, the command line is required, not to mention processing a large set of image files to produce reduced resolution for a website.
    Also “apt-get”, “make”, and so on.
    You get the idea.
    For anything even a bit harder, go to Python, which is also a really good command line.

  224. Jason B.

    The command line is essential on Windows 7 or Vista when doing any kind of system configuration. If you know you’re going to be doing admin tasks, just type ‘cmd’ into the start menu search box, right-click the result and “Run as Administrator”. From that point you can god-mode a bunch of programs without having to manually elevate each one.

  225. Eric

    One of my home PCs is running Arch Linux with no window manager on a 1080p monitor. That’s 1920 horizontal pixels of command line.

  226. Benjamin R

    Of course. That is one of the most frustrating things with Apple things. I often find that it is far easier,and of course far faster, to do things in DOS rather than messing with the GUI. I think the people who answer this question, of course, are not representative of the general public, but I think there are many of us out here who find the lack of a command line in Apple the huge item lacking in the OS.

  227. twxMike

    I grew up with CPM/DOS and the like, graduated to Unix and Unix like systems and then moved to every version of MSDOS and it’s GUI interfaces “ala Windows”. (I was in the Corporate world.) To say that I do not rely on CLI or “shells” would be an outrageous lie. When I bounce between OS’s as I do multiple times daily, I have to use what I know, which is command line, regardless of how you frame it. No GUI has an ICON or “click” for every function, therefore, command line use is essential in my world. And much more satisfying than a GUI!

  228. Carol Southern

    Not that often; mostly to find files. Even if you never use it, it’s good to understand the concept of what’s going on “behind the curtain.”

  229. Linux-Warlock

    I cant live without CLI

  230. dlgn

    I use it for almost everything on Linux. On Windows, I barely ever use it except when using command line-only applications.

  231. JohnC

    I use the command shell quite often. Sometimes, it dramatically decreases the time it takes for the task at hand. Other times, the command shell is the only way to complete a task. The average user never has any reason to be concerned about it.

  232. batsdude

    ABSOLUTELY! I was a DOS user way the hell back when and (oops-now i feel old) I NEVER liked Windows, not from 3.2 (original mass released version) nor 7 now when I still despise it even more. Face it. Windows was designed to make people who were too lazy to learn to use the command prompt love PC’s, and for RAM manufacturers to be induced to make way bigger ram, as Windows 3.2 couldn’t run in the little bit of RAM that it used. I miss DOS. If Windows is so great, why all the service packs?

  233. batsdude

    P.S.- Why isn’t XTree gold around anymore? I would LOVE a copy! When you deleted, it was DELETED!

  234. Raymond Keenan

    While I still use the Command line, that is, on my XP or Vista Drives, having only just made the move to 7, time will tell. After reading through a lot of comments here, I thought I’d tell you about “ZtreeWin”,
    I’ve used it for probably longer that some of you have been alive. Even a thing called XTGOLD before then. However, have a look at it, greatest thing for changing attributes, file extension names, finding every *.jpg on the HDD and lots more. And no, I do not have an interest in it, – except for what I can do with it.

  235. vicsar

    Yes of course I use it. Also, batch files for repetitype tasks and network diagnostics.

    P.s.: I also find it iseful to impress girls :)

  236. Josegre

    That’s the only why I do not have Linux!!

  237. Zale

    Pinging an IP address is my most frequently used command.

  238. Zach

    I do many administrative tasks from the Windows 7 Command Prompt.

  239. the old rang

    It is what finally told me how truly lousy Ubuntu 11.04 was. Most of the ‘tweaks’ were both not implimented, but, the files and folders used by the ‘tweaks’ were moved or ditched.

    Ubuntu is losing popularity among a significant part of their formerly loyal base.

    They want to be like Windows…

    They want to be as good (bad?) as Windows…

    They want to treat their clients just like Windows….

    Forgetting that those were the reasons we dumped ‘windoze’

    In any OS… for now…

    Someone that doesn’t know at least how to follow instructions for the command line…

    Is probably letting the Credit reporting company that owns facebook (and gives access to your posts to current or future employers), and also cluing in all the ‘social engineers’ about the times they will not be home and for how long… (and this is just the surface of why not…

    This is not a time to live, and have no idea about security, or how to find important things about your computer.

  240. Charvin

    I do use the Command Line Prompt cause i use to Play with Bath Files.. I use CMD to extract and compress files using various compression utilities for testing.. I love batch files and CMD..

  241. adib

    Since I have been using linux as my os , I use the temrinal alot, learning it more and more, even though there is a simple gui, but I rarely .. rarely touch the command line in windows.

  242. matt taylor

    on Windows have always used cmd to find files and move files around. Explorere and other GUIs are just too inefficient – quicker to use cmd history, tab completion, and a bit of typing. Now am a huge fan of powershell even though the commands are onerously verbose (early as a dev i used vi on unix, and still often resort to vi on windows). GUI is efficient if you (1) dont know where to go (2) dont need to repeat similar but different actions (3) constantly changing context of your work. CMD line is more efficient if (1) there is lot of repeatability in what is needed to type (2) you need to ‘build’ things on the fly like searchs/commands (3) need to string tools together using pipes to get a process done rather than a task.

  243. Andy Woll

    I use ipconfig, ping, and dos commands fairly frequently. The other day I had to join about 20 files created with linux dd. I used the copy command with the appropriate switches (don’t recall which ones right now) and it worked like a charm. I wrote and used many batch files when dos ruled the world, but I have not found much use for them anymore. I see from the comments above that others use the same commands I do. I look forward to hearing from everyone who has a new use.

  244. Grant

    Rarely, but I use Windows, so there’s hardly ever a reason to (ipconfig occasionally). Though I use the Terminal a lot in Linux. In fact, it’s hard to use Linux and *not* have to use the command line.

  245. John

    I prefer the command line and terminal and typically avoid gui apps on my mint box. I like mint for the web browser and twitter, but everything else I do from the command line if I can. I still have a lot to learn and tons to memorize. It is time to go through a shell script tutorial…

  246. Nick

    YES! I love to code in batch when my internet is down (often)!

  247. delukze


  248. Sam

    Lab situations, batch files for all purposes:

    Deleting and reupping everything from hosts to default bookmarks
    Addition of AD users and groups
    EZ PZ shutdown and reboot
    With PS tools all kinds of fun

    Besides, the GUI is for the weak. ‘^)

  249. Walt

    Sysutils all the time because I am a Desktop Admin by trade.

  250. Mike

    I use command line FTP daily to download tools on Windows PCs that are so infected that the browser will not function.

  251. Brandon Jones

    I use the command prompt on a daily basis as a computer tech. I use it to open modules in the control panel, add remove programs, ping and to release and renew ip address. It is also a quick way to connect to our servers using RDP.

  252. sproket90

    every freaking day

    CLI rulez…

  253. Ben Fritz

    I use the command-line when required for tasks which don’t have a GUI, but also for batch files (of which I have many complex ones I use regularly). It’s also easier to copy large numbers of files or operate the same way on a bunch of files. Finally, I use it to drive Perl scripts. And, when logged into a remote computer, the command-line provides the only way I know of to trigger a shutdown/restart.

  254. Bruce

    I use the command line every day. For me GUI means – interative, that is, everything requires user interaction, good for inexperienced users. Command line means, automated processes that can mimimise user interaction.

  255. mookiemu

    I use the command line on Windows occasionally for system tweaking and maintenance. I installed cygwin, but find I still don’t use it much when I’m in Windows.

    On the other hand when I’m in Linux, which is about 80 percent of the time, I use the bash shell constantly. I have my linux machines configured so that the terminal automatic opens when I boot up. I also have the open shell hotkey set to ctrl-alt-t. Then I use the command line for everything from opening programs, to image editing and batch processing, navigating and creating files and folder.
    Tab- complete is wonderful and makes me really fast and efficient with the bash shell. So if I want to open a location on my computer, I’ll just type nautilus ~/Documents/FolderImLookingFor. If I want to get online, I’ll type something like firefox

    I have a mac as well and I find that I use the mac terminal quite a bit too. Not nearly as much as when I’m in Linux, but far more than when I’m in windows.

  256. Brumm

    Always but windows command line is the weakest. Cygwin is really helpful my favorite is tail to watch log files which is faster and easy. also the tasklist command shows processes which were not in taskManager (very helpful to kill viruses )

  257. John Rinehart

    I use ipconfig /all as a quick way to get the MAC address for a new device.

  258. iSalt0

    “command /k java -version” to check JRE version.

  259. Mike C

    I use ping, ipconfig, chkdsk. It’s about all I remember from the days of DOS. I do wish I could learn Linux…

  260. Rick S

    Yes I use it once in a while in Windows and a lot in Linux. It drives me nuts trying to learn it and my friendly Geek is gonna be on Prozak if I don’t learn it soon.

    For all you Linux haters please tell me how you beat a system that don’t have bugs sneaking in all the time and you never have to scan or update the anti virus every day. It runs the same speed all the time and launches real fast. It works faster than Windows and is free. If you don’t like the version you can get another one free. I found three versions that do everything Windows does except screw up.

    You just turn it on and it works the same. Every time.

  261. Khader Shameer

    I Used Command prompt for copying Bad VCD, It Can be played how much you copied even it interept copying in medile.

  262. skilz853

    When I first started using a computer, about 30 years ago, I had a dos manual and I learned dos, extensively. I didn’t even buy a printer for several years.
    Recently, I’ve forgotten most of the dos I learned. Today, I the cmd line mostly, for checking my network connection with ipconfig, ping and netsh. I also run sfc /scannow occasionally.

  263. skilz853

    When I first started using a computer, about 30 years ago, I had a dos manual and I learned dos, extensively. I didn’t even buy a printer for several years.
    Recently, I’ve forgotten most of the dos I learned. Today, I use the cmd line mostly, for checking my network connection with ipconfig, ping and netsh. I also run sfc /scannow occasionally.

  264. Rob

    I work at a college and I use command line and batch scripts all the time for simple things like installing office 2010 and i once even used a batch script to remote Conficker off our network.

    My fevorite use it when i make a VBscript to copy a batch file onto all the pcs in a classroom and the exicute the batch file once it has coppied. I tend to use it all install programs beacuse we dont have a mass install solution and im too lazy to go to each computer indevidualy

  265. Ellman121

    I hate the Windows DOS command line, but love the UNIX terminal. They are both useful, but Terminal is just better, DOS commands don’t make any sense…outside of cd (change directory for those who don’t use command line)

  266. astral_cyborg

    Always. I use it to play with user accounts, to work with my hard disk, to execute network commands etc.

    I also use it through batch files, to custom clean my temporary files and useless cache, to automate tasks, such as restarting the print pooling service when I want to cancel some already printing documents, to make pranks to my friends or to do some basic, but frequent backup of important settings and files to external storage devices.

    Imo, a command line terminal is always useful, whether it’s environment is an OS, a video game or any other application.

  267. EddieDunlop

    Its the only way to get control of an action, without windows interfering (ps I love batch)
    :: From: C DUNCAN-DUNLOP

    color 1f
    mode con: cols=80 lines=1

    :: @echo Batch File Binary Clock by Eddie Duncan-Dunlop 2010 (c)
    @echo off
    :::::::: get time ::::::::::::::::::
    @For /F “tokens=1,2,3 delims=:,. ” %%A in (‘echo %time%’) do @(
    Set _hr=%%A
    Set _min=%%B
    Set _Sec=%%C
    :::::::::::: convert Time to binary 6 bits each ::::::::::::::::::
    set binary=
    set decimal=%_hr%
    for /L %%n in (5,-1,0) do call :loop %%n
    set decimal=%_min%
    for /L %%n in (5,-1,0) do call :loop %%n
    set decimal=%_sec%
    for /L %%n in (5,-1,0) do call :loop %%n

    ::::::::::::::::display results on window title bar:::::::::::::::::
    title %_hr%:%_min%:%_sec% = %binary%

    :::::::::::: Read again till seconds change :::::::::::
    @For /F “tokens=1,2,3 delims=:,. ” %%A in (‘echo %time%’) do @(
    Set _h2r=%%A
    Set _min2=%%B
    Set _Sec2=%%C

    if NOT %_sec2%==%_sec% goto start
    if %_sec2%==%_sec% goto read
    :::::::::Subroutine called Loop Starts here:::::::
    :::: store number entered ::::
    set store=%decimal%
    ::: remove leading zero if under 10::::::::::::
    if %decimal% lss 10 set decimal=%store:0=%
    :: make loop number=1,2,4,8,16,32,64 ….
    set /a power=”1<<%1"

    :: subtract power number from decimal
    set /a decimal-=%power%
    if %decimal% GEQ 0 set binary=%binary%1
    if NOT %decimal% GEQ 0 (
    set binary=%binary%0
    set decimal=%store%
    :::::: add a gap every 4 bits (nibble) for clarity ::::::::
    set gap=%1
    set /a gap="gap%%6"
    if "%gap%"=="0" set binary=%binary%
    goto :eof
    ::::::::::::::: end of loop ::::::::::::::::::

  268. Chris Wiktim

    On Friday afternoons when the geeks get frisky, shutdown -a is very useful!!! On a serious timesaving note, when cd ‘ing to a directory, ensuring the pathname is unique, use wildcards to get there. As in:- cd \*es\m*e\o*12 to get to the Office 2007 directory.

  269. herval

    i just use it for ping and msconfig as well as ipconfig/all…

  270. RogerWD

    I use it all the time for finding text in many files.

    find /i “text” *.sii >>results.txt

    often send it to a csv file for Excel.

  271. Shanif

    I still use command prompt
    i used it to remove viruses from computers
    ip releasing and renewing
    and many more

  272. Tom Lee

    I’m a non-techie, and computer semi-literate. I need the OS, and get along OK within it. I wish The Geek would post a tutorial. The geek is one of the few sources that non-techs can understand. I can never find instructions simple and complete enough for non-techs. Command looks like a goldmine of functionality

  273. Jonathan

    Ping/Tracert network checking. Forced shutdowns, or timed shutdowns. Batch files.

  274. bur64rr

    I use it near daily for net view, DNS flush, net stat, show hidden connections, remote reboots and restarting services remotely and starting services.msc, control panel on locked down systems. Very useful. Had and IT teacher tell the class in 96 that command prompt would not be used much longer. Wonder what he’s dong now!!

  275. superfahd

    I use launchy for a lot of my work. not sure if it counts even though it is a bit command line-ish

  276. jose

    use it all the time
    net use lpt2 \\€#@€€\432

    sfc /scannow

  277. Bart


  278. Tom

    I love my old dos commands. I was in love with it from 1985 It is good for deleting some virus, which even good virus remover will not do the job… (autorun.inf) By the way all autorun.inf are not virus carreers…..
    So I will not format my hard disk with nttfs… only fat,,, so I could access them easily….

  279. jerone

    > Do You Use the Command Line?
    NO. I’m a HCI-on-GUI-with-a-mouse-kind of guy.

  280. Al Lustie

    Yes, I use it often. Mostly for msconfig.exe and ipconfig.

  281. Tony Womble

    Pinging and ipconfig

  282. Xeogin


    “netsh winsock reset” saved my skin before, invaluable in the situations that require it. Damn corrupt uninstall of VMware Workstation…

    Anyway, I feel it’s worth mentioning the usefulness of Tab in command line, it’s often looked over, but it’s very useful! I was using * for nearly every handwritten command before learning how easy it is to just hit Tab instead.

    And I occasionally run this command at Best Buy… TASKKILL /F /FI “PID ge 0” /IM *

  283. BeeLady

    Every Day with ImageMagick and PerlMagick;
    a command line only imaging program.

    DOS user from another planet.

  284. Marc vanderkolk

    I use cmd to take ownership of the entire disk, check the disks for errors, and to ping websites.

  285. Bane

    No, never again.

  286. Michael

    Very, very rarely – maybe a ping now and again.

    But as someone who started out with computers in 1983, I miss the command line sometimes. Clean, quick and powerful.

  287. Wolfgang

    I use it regularily. Compiling from a tarball is easy done from the command line and a bunch of work in a GUI.

  288. Essam Fouad

    Sure, CLI is very powerful, Sometimes I prefer to use it rather than the GUI.
    Any IT pro do that.

  289. Bert H

    I use it rarely and then to change attributes when I can’t be bothered to use Windows Explorer.
    Also to delete files and folders that ‘bug’ me.
    Also to create batch files for quick icon creation to place on the desktop.

    PS: People are amazed that I can do those things just by knowing the correct ‘path’.

  290. Hassan Saeed

    i use ¨dir /ah¨ to find out to what .xe viruses the autorun.inf is pointing.

  291. gdawg

    I use the command line daily since my main distros are linux. I’m still hanging on to Win 7 because I don’t want to re-do all of my partitions.

  292. BobK

    As a software administrator I use CLI to deliver installs, updates, etc. Also to monitor license compliance. I use a combination of Cygwin, DOS (with MKS Toolkit for Unix like commands) and Powershell. DOS with MKS is very powerful.
    With the CLI, I use lots of Batch files and Shell scripts in Cygwin. With suitable Admin. privileges I can do things at the CLI that I just couldn’t do in Windows. After a new Batch file or Shell scipt is debugged, I know I can rely on it doing what its supposed to every time.
    I can also control software installs/updates without user interference, which provides consistency across all desktops.

  293. Philious18

    I try to use the command line every now and then as it gives an overall picture of how files are stored! Finding and reinstalling ip addresses is fun and sometimes that’s whats needed. There’s only a small percentage of the geeks that can use the command line, but that”s where i started

  294. Akash Shetty

    Command Line is still in use by the power users using computer management applications.

  295. kev

    mainly for fault finding

    sfc /scannow

  296. memBrain

    I use the command shell all the time. I use it for system maintenance, networking and batch functions. Sometimes I wish I had things back the way they were before the Windows 95 integration of the command shell. Just give me a clean operating environment without the baggage! I’ll choose when I want a GUI.

  297. mookiemu

    Earlier I mentioned that I use the command line a lot in linux but not so much in Windows. But there is one occasion where I always use the command line in windows and that’s when I am rendering an image created in Maya or when I render and image in Maxwell.
    Rendering, especially multi-million-poly scenes, can be very expensive on the system resources. If you close everything down and turn off as many unnecessary service as you can, using the cli to render, can save you, not only an enormous amount of time, it will in many cases keep the computer from grinding to a halt and or crashing.

  298. Charlie

    Wish i could, just from reading most of the comments in here it seems it is reserved to people with quite a bit of computer knowledge. In the 90’s i remember using basic commands as change dir
    checkdsk *.* etc. And id love to learn Linux to become free from Windows, I do not find clear and simple tutorials to learn.

  299. capecorral

    I often use it. There just are things that are easier done with the command line.

  300. Peter Retief

    Yes, I use Linux, I have tried using GUI editors and tools but find they are just wrappers to the command line

  301. the real neo

    i use it on a daily now that ubuntu is my main os,
    when i had windows installed i just used it to compile programs, check network settings, reset em, and usually pinging some websites

  302. onieprice

    I use the rdos command line prompt a lot. Too much reading with guis.

    However I HATE unix and unix based systems with every thing I have to hate with.

    Rdos and all the old main frames has cmd lines that were english like.

    vi grep root – these names don’t mean anything
    edit search superuser etc . easy to understand.

  303. Bob

    Started with ms dos and I still miss the hell out of it.
    Everything is so much faster and easy to do.
    The great thing about command lines is that they
    dont argue and dont give you the runaround.
    Somebody should have told Commander Bill!!

  304. Jake

    @echo off
    Echo Command Line Rules!!!
    pause >nul

  305. EricN

    Yes. I believe all geeks use them at least sometimes.

  306. Eric

    I mostly use it for pinging and checking ipconfig data. It does much more that I use rarely. It’s a useful tool.

  307. wolfo9

    I use it in Administrator mode for when I can’t move a file into a protected folder or to check ipconfig. I also use it in Linux just like windows users would use the start menu.

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