Chapter 6. Controlling Windows Server: The Command Line

When you get to this chapter, you might ask the question, "What is a command line — I thought Windows was about graphics?" Many years ago there was DOS — the Disk Operating System. DOS was very basic. You could only run one task at a time and it didn't have many of the features that people expect today. To run a task, you simply typed its name at the command line (or the command prompt as some people say — Microsoft uses both terms). Everything on the computer was in text back then. The task ran and then the computer waited for you to type another command. The command line in Windows is a legacy of DOS. Just like DOS, you type in the name of a command, press Enter, wait for the results, and type the next command.

Of course, this sounds easy, so why do we need graphics? People said DOS was hard to use because you had to remember tons of commands and type them at the command line without error, so vendors created Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) to make issuing the commands easier. Unfortunately, GUIs have grown to the point that now graphical things have become hard to find! Now, the GUIs are gooey and many administrators are returning to the command line to gain some level of productivity. In fact, some experienced administrators never left. The command line isn't this scary place that only geniuses use — it's the root of computer use that people have forgotten over the years.

The command line is actually pretty neat. You can ...

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