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If you like to use shortcuts to get tasks done in the most efficient way, there is a large collection of commands you can run from the run dialog (XP/Vista/7/8) or the Start Menu (in Windows Vista/7/8.) In this guide, I’ll show you how to run the commands and what effect they have.

Where to Run Commands

Note: see below for an even quicker method for Windows Vista/7/8.

To run the commands, listed below, in Windows XP (can also be used in Windows Vista/7/8):

1. Click the Start button and click Run (or press Winkey+R):

2. Type the command in the Run dialog and click OK (or press Enter.)

To run the commands, listed below, in Windows Vista/7/8, you can also use the Start Menu search function:

Press the Start button (or press the Winkey), type the command, and press Enter.

If the command fails, use steps 1 & 2 above.

Environment Variables

Environment variables can be used to open common folders in Windows. You can even append strings to the end of an environment variable to go directly to a folder i.e. %UserProfile%\Music

%ALLUSERSPROFlLE%Open the All User’s Profile
%HomeDrive%Opens your home drive e.g. C:\
%UserProfile%Opens your user profile
%temp%Opens the temporary file folder
%systemroot%Opens the Windows folder

Commands to Run

Most of the commands, listed below, will work; however, some commands such as QuickTime.cpl (requires Quick Time) or gpedit.msc (requires Business, Professional, or Ultimate Windows versions) may not run depending on installed components, Windows versions, Windows editions etc.

access.cplAccessibility Controls
hdwwiz.cplAdd Hardware Wizard
hdwwiz.cplDevice Manager
appwiz.cplAdd/ Remove Programs
control admintoolsAdministrative Tools
wuaucpl.cplAutomatic Updates
fsquirtBluetooth Transfer wizard
certmgr.mscCertificate Manager
charmapCharacter Map
chkdskCheck Disk Utility
clipbrdClipboard Viewer
cmdCommand Prompt
dcomcnfgComponent Services
compmgmt.mscComputer Management
control panelControl Panel
timedate.cplDate and Time Properties
ddeshareDDE Share
devmgmt.mscDevice Manager
directx.cplDirect X Control Panel
dxdiagDirect X Troubleshooter
cleanmgrDisk Cleanup Utility
dfrg.mscDisk Defragment
diskmgmt.mscDisk Management
diskpartDisk Partition Manager
control desktopDisplay Properties / Personalization
desk.cplScreen Resolution
control colorWindow Color and Appearance
dn /vtsn32Dr. Watson System Troubleshooting Utility
verifierDriver Verifier Utility
eventvwr.mscEvent Viewer
sigverifFile Signature Verification Tool
control foldersFolders Properties
OR control fonts
Fonts Folder
freecellFree Cell Card Game
joy.cplGame Controllers
gpedit.mscGroup Policy Editor (Select editions)
msheartsHearts Card Game
iexpressIexpress wizard
ciadv.mscIndexing Service
inetcpl.cplInternet Properties
IexploreInternet Explorer
javawsJava Control Panel (lf lnstalled)
toy.cplJoystick Properties
main.cpl keyboard
OR control keyboard
Keyboard Properties
secpol.mscLocal Security Settings (Select versions)
lusrmgr.mscLocal Users and Groups (Select versions)
logoffLogs You Out Of Windows
winchatMicrosoft Chat
winmineMinesweeper Game
OR control mouse
Mouse Properties
netsetup.cplNetwork Setup Wizard
nvtuicpl.cplNview Desktop Manager(If installed)
packagerObject Packager
odbccp32.cplODBC Data Source Administrator
oskOn Screen Keyboard
ac3filter.cplOpensAC3 Filter(If installed)
password.cplPassword Properties
perfmonPerformance Monitor
telephon.cplPhone and Modem Options
powercfg.cplPower Management
control printersPrinters and Faxes
printersPrinters Folder
eudceditPrivate Character Editor
QuickTime.cplQuicktime Preferences (lf installed)
intl.cplRegional Settings
regeditRegistry Editor
regedit32Registry Editor
mstscRemote Desktop
ntmsmgr.mscRemovable Storage
ntmsoprq.mscRemovable Storage Operator Requests
rsop.mscResultant Set of Policy (Select versions) 
sticpl.cplScanners and Cameras
control schedtasksScheduled Tasks
wscui.cplSecurity Center
fsmgmt.mscShared Folders
shutdownShuts Down Windows
mmsys.cplSounds and Audio
spiderSpider Solitare Card Game
cliconfgSQL Client Configuration
syseditSystem Configuration Editor
msconfigSystem Configuration Utility
sfc /scannowSystem File Checker(Scan Immediately)
sfc /scanonceSystem FC (Scan Once At Next Boot)
sfc /scanbootSystem FC (Scan On Every Boot)
sfc /revertSystem FC (Return to Default Setting)
sfc /purgecacheSystem FC (Purge File Cache)
sfc /cachesize=xSystem FC (Set Cache Size to size x)
sysdm.cplSystem Properties
TaskmgrTask Manager
nusrmgr.cplUser Account Management
utilmanUtility Manager
explorerWindows Explorer
firewall.cplWindows Firewall
magnifyWindows Magnifier
wmimgmt.mscWindows Management lnfrastructure (WMI)
syskeyWindows System Security Tool

Windows 7: wuapp

Windows Update Launches
winverWindows Version
tourstartWindows XP Tour Wizard

Which commands did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix the problems he creates.

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  • Anonymous

    interesante aporte

  • Scott

    Great list! I just wanted to mention that if you type some of these commands using Windows 7 Start menu search they do not work (I am assuming Vista has a similar result). A work around is to start typing what the command is supposed to launch. Example, “control folders” does not launch Folder Properties; but if you type “folder ” not only do you get some more options under the Control Panel heading the first one selected should be Folder Options (at least it was for me). Worst comes to worst I guess you can just use the Winkey+R to open Run and than type the commands as they appear in the list above.

    • Rich

      Thanks for checking and for your contribution Scott.

  • CD Printing

    I have Windows XP OS for almost 10 years and this was the first time I know about this. Definitely an awesome list. Keep posting more useful info.

  • Uvais

    ipconfig /all
    ipconfig /displaydns
    ipconfig /flushdns
    ipconfig /release
    ipconfig /renew
    ipconfig /registerdns
    ipconfig /showclassid
    ipconfig /setclassid

  • Octan Studios

    just so you know taskmgr works in windows 7 and 8

  • Daffy1948

    The command to fix the master boot record

  • Rich

    Glad you found it. Thanks for stopping by!

  • redwindspkt


  • Karthiknbca

    very useful the cmd

  • Stuart Lynch

    wupdmgr was changed in Windows 7 to ‘Wuapp.exe’ so to launch Windows update in windows 7, run ‘wuapp’.

    • Rich

      Thanks Stuart, I’ve update the guide.

  • Stuart Lynch

    Also there are others like, 
    Microsoft Office Word – “Winword”
    Microsoft Office Excel – “Excel”
    Microsoft Office Outlook – “Outlook” 
    Paint – “mspaint”

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