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Windows Command Line Guide - Launch Windows Applications from RUN

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/26/2011

The first part of the "Windows Command Line Guide" offers basic Windows Command Line commands to speed up computer tasks. This second part serves as a reference for using Windows Command Line commands that bring up Windows applications/components that can't or take time to be accessed through GUI.

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    Windows Command Line Commands - Accessing Windows Components

    [A] DEFRAG: There is a GUI command and several third party software that can speed up defragmentation of drives. For a safe defrag, there should be a minimum of 15 percent free space on the drive. If the space is less, most GUI software will not defrag saying disk space is low. Under such case, you can always defrag using Command Line Interface (CLI).

    Usage: DEFRAG driveletter: {optional parameters}

    The optional parameters are: /F: forces defragmentation even if the disk space is low; /A: analyses and tells you if you need to defrag the drive; and /V: Offers a detailed analysis about fragments on the drive specified with DEFRAG.

    Example: "Defrag D: /F /V" offers a report and continues with defragmentation even if disk space is low.

    IMPORTANT: Defragmenting from Windows Command Line saves on computer resources thereby making your computer faster unlike the Windows GUI Defrag command.

    [B]CONTROL: Brings out the Control Panel from Windows CLI (Command Line Interface). Sometimes, due to some malware or corrupt DLL files, you may not be able to access the Control Panel. To check if the Control Panel itself is corrupt or something else is stopping it from appearing, you can use the command. Just type CONTROL at the Windows Command Line. If the Control Panel is fine, it should appear within a minute. If it does not appear, there is problem with the DLL associated with the CP itself.

    [C] EVENTVWR: While helps you determine if the Viewer is corrupt and also helps you save time. Instead of navigating to the Control Panel to select Computer Management and then Event Viewer, you can simply type EVENTVWR at command prompt. This saves you much time. As with CONTROL, if the Event Viewer is working, it should appear within a minute and not more. If it does not appear, it may be a malware or a corrupt DLL preventing you from using it.

    [D] TASKMGR: Opens the Windows Task Manager. As with CONTROL and EVENTVWR, the command helps you assess problems while also saving time to open the Windows Task Manager. TASKMGR is especially useful when any of your key is not working properly. For example, if the DEL key on you computer is not working you can use the command to bring up the Task Manager.


    If you are using a limited account, you may not possible access the Control Panel. Another reason can be any of the applets being corrupt. If not anything, these commands save you time as you do not have to navigate to the Control Panel.

    The following Windows Command Line commands help you open Control Panel Items:

    • access.cpl opens Accessibility Options Window
    • hdwwiz.cpl opens Add Hardware Wizard
    • wuaucpl.cpl opens Windows Update Window
    • appwiz.cpl opens the Add/Remove Window
    • desk.cpl opens Display Properties Window
    • firewall.cpl opens the Firewall Component in Control Panel
    • inetcpl.cpl gives you the Internet Options Window
    • main.cpl opens the Mouse Properties Window
    • netsetup.cpl gives you Network Setup Wizard
    • ncpa.cpl opens the Network Connections Window
    • powercfg.cpl gets you the Power Management Window
    • mmsys.cpl opens the Sound and Audio devices Window
    • sysdm.cpl opens the System Properties Dialog
    • timedate.cpl gives you the Date and Time Window
    • nusrmgr.cpl opens the User Accounts Window
    • telephon.cpl gives you the Modem and Phone Properties Window
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    Windows Command Line Commands - Start Windows Applications from Command Line

    The following is a list of Windows Command Line commands that you can type in the RUN dialog box under Start Menu to quickly open a Windows application, to speed up your computer tasks.

    NOTE: Some of these commands require the application to be installed on your computer before you can use them.

    1. ACCWIZ: opens the Accessibility Wizard. Generally you will have to navigate to Accessibility under All Programs in Start Menu to access the wizard.

    2. FSQUIRT: opens the Bluetooth Transfer Wizard. This command requires the Wizard to be present on your operating system before you can use it.

    3. ACRODIST: Opens the Adobe Acrobat Distiller from command line. You need to have Adobe Distiller installed on your machine before you can use the command.

    4. MPLAY32: Opens Media Player (version 5.1) generally shipped with Windows XP though there is no shortcut present to access this application through Windows GUI. Windows Media Player 9 is visible through GUI. Version 5.1 is also present in the Windows folder in case you wish to use it.

    5. CHKDSK: Offers extra capabilities over the default one you get by right-clicking on a drive in Explorer. CHKDSK is used to check and repair a drive.


    When used as such, CHKDSK checks for errors on the drive. When used with /F, the command fixes errors, if any. This option too is available in the GUI. /R attempts to retrieve readable information from bad sectors and stores them in the drive being checked as CHKDSK files. /X unlocks the drive if it is being used so that you can run the command. Please note that /X is not applicable to the system drive. /X and /R option cannot be specified using Windows GUI.

    Example: CHKDSK D: /R /X unlocks the D drive and checks it for errors. If it finds any bad sectors, it attempts to recover whatever readable data is present in the bad sectors and saves them as CHKDSK files in the D drive.

    6. CHARMAP opens the Character Map, normally available through the Accessories - > System Tools menu.

    7. DRWTSN32 opens the Dr Watson Troubleshooting Utility.

    8. Control folders opens the Folder Properties Windows.

    9. CONTROL KEYBOARD opens the Keyboard Properties Windows

    10. MRT opens the MSRT (Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool) so that you can scan your computer for malware. Note that though MSRT is included into SP2, there is no way you can access it using Windows GUI. MSRT can also be installed into Windows OS using Windows Automatic Updates for Windows XP without any service packs. For Vista and Windows 7, the MSRT and Defender come as built-in protection with the operating system.

    11. WINCHAT opens the Microsoft Chat Window. I do not remember exactly where you can find it using the Windows GUI. Do you?

    12. MSPAINT and NOTEPAD opens MSPAINT and Notepad respectively. You don't have to navigate to the Accessories to open these applications.

    13. WINWORD, EXCEL, POWERPNT opens MS OFFICE Word, Excel, and PowerPoint respectively. Please note that if you try to use these commands via the CMD window, they will NOT work. However, they do save you time when you type in the commands in the RUN dialog box.

    14. CONF quickly opens the Microsoft Net-Meeting.

    15. Wiaacmgr opens the Microsoft Windows Image Import Wizard so that you can import images from your digital camera to the computer or vice-versa.

    This list is not comprehensive. You can open most of the Windows based applications if you know their filenames. You can easily locate the filename of Windows applications in Windows folder and other applications in Program Files folder.

    Thus, Windows Command Line commands help you get started sooner than using the GUI to start the application. The final section of the Windows Command Line Guide contains commands for maintenance of a Windows based computer or network.