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6 smart ways to use the Windows command prompt



Select disk 3

…Obviously, you replaced the number 3 with any number corresponding to that disk. Finally, run:

Clean

Your system will wipe the drive clean, no hidden partitions or tables will confuse your PC. You can then click the Start menu, search for Disk Management, and right-click the drive to initialize and format it. Please note that this only erases the partition table and does not safely erase all your data, some of which can still be accessed through file recovery tools. To safely erase all traces (for example, if you want to recycle the drive or sell the PC), you need to right-click the drive in Windows Explorer, select “Format”, and then uncheck the “Quick Format”

; box. Or use a third-party tool (such as DBAN), which has many other secure erase options.

Get a list of every program installed on the PC

When you buy a new laptop or reinstall Windows, you might forget some of the tools you use every day, and that’s right. Before wiping the drive, you can use one command to get a list of every program installed on your PC.

However, unlike the other lists in this list, this command must be run from PowerShell (a newer, more powerful tool built into Windows). Open the “Start” menu, search for PowerShell, and launch a new window. Then run the following command (very long, but it’s just a copy and paste command), it will capture the contents of three different registry keys and output them to a text file on the desktop:

Get-ItemProperty HKLM: Software Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Uninstall *, HKLM: Software Wow6432Node Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Uninstall *, HKCU: Software Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Uninstall * | Select the object DisplayName, DisplayVersion, Publisher, Size, InstallDate | Format Table-AutoSize> C:UsersWhitsonDesktopProgramsList.txt

Replace Whitson with the name of the user folder at the end of the command to get the file on the desktop. Please note that despite this, it does not include Windows Store applications, you can list them by running the following command:

Get AppxPackage> C:UsersWhitsonDesktopStoreProgramsList.txt

Similarly, replace Whitson with the name of the user folder. There will be a lot of rubbish in this list, but you can manually get the few programs you want to remember and paste them into the original list (if easier).

Watch Star wars (Nothing serious)

Okay, this is not a “useful” trick, but it’s really neat. If Telnet is enabled in Windows (search for “Turn Windows features on or off” in the “Start” menu, and then check the “Telnet” box), you can run:

telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl

Watch the ASCII version Star wars In the command prompt window. This has been around for many years, and it still impresses me.


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