Starting today I am going to help you with a set of simple commands that can bail you out in the event your computer has some problem.
Windows tip #1–many of you have never used the command line interface or even know what it does. Windows has a large set of programs that run in command line mode but you do not have an icon to any of them.
One of these programs is called taskkill.exe — C:\Windows32\System32taskkill.exe
This program is very powerful and can save you if some program gets stuck.
In order to use it, you will need to know the proper name of the program running … i.e.: Internet Explorer’s executable file is iexplore.exe — in order to find the names, open up the command line tool and run it as Administrator.
There are two ways to do this:
1) Hold down the Windows key while pressing the “R” key
2) Click on the Start button (if you have it)
Either way you get the Run line to come up, type in “cmd admin” and press enter. A box that resembles an old school black and white computer screen pops up.
The first command you should know is C:\Windows\System32\tasklist.exe — this opens up a list of all running programs and gives you their name, the name of the program, the process identification number, and whether it is a service (meaning that it starts up when you boot up your computer) or if it is a console (meaning it runs when you ask it to) program.
Your screen should like this:
Find the AppleUpdateService.exe program. It has a process identification number of 1872. This is an example of a program that is harmless to terminate/kill.
With the commandline console still opened type in ‘C:\Windows\System32\taskkill.exe \f \im AdobeUpdateService.exe’ — now you should know that the \F means “FORCE” and the \IM means image name. There is a bunch of these and you can find them explained on DOSPrompt.com.
This will immediately terminate the program and it will react as if you have just unplugged the system. It will immediately stop and not allow any process it may be controlling to complete. Where the taskkill.exe command is most useful is in terminating browsers should one indicate a site that will not let you leave it unless you click on a box asking you to perform some task.
There is a reason why you will want to stop that browser immediately but we will go into that later.
You can also use the ‘C:\Windows\System32\taskkill.exe \f \PID 1872’ and it will terminate the same program. Only now, instead of using the programs name, you are using its process identification number.
This is the first of a series of tips on using the commandline in Windows. If you have questions, comments, something to add, or think this is stupid…please let me know.
For a list of commands that run in Windows command line, you can go to Microsoft’s Technet Site. You should also feel free to perform your own searches to find a list of commands that are explained in a way that makes better sense to you. Technet is a Microsoft product but it is not really meant to be used by the home user.