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New to using the command prompt? Check out the Windows Command Prompt Beginner’s Guide

Windows 7 NetworkThe internet changes very quickly; for that reason, stepping back to the basics is very important. As you may know, the internet is no more than a collection of interconnected networks.

In this post I will show a list of basic network commands. Even if you haven’t used any of these before, it is useful to know they exist. As always, increasing your knowledge is the better way to achieve your goals.

To run these commands, open a command prompt:

  1. Click Start and then click Run (or Winkey+R.)
  2. Type cmd and press Enter.

arp -a

This tool handles the resolution of a IP to a physical address. The command gives a list of IPs and physical addresses on your local network.

ipconfig /all

This is the main network tool. Using without parameters gives you basic information about your network. With the all parameters, a more detailed information about DNS, DHCP, and other network settings appears.

ipconfig /renew

This command renews the IP that a DHCP server has assigned to your computer. This is the command that Windows uses when it tells you that is trying to solve a problem with the network.

ipconfig /flushdns

Your computer has a table with the names of computers and their corresponding IP addresses. This command will remove all the entries on that table. It’s very useful if you change your DNS servers.

ipconfig /displaydns

This command display the content of the table we were talking before.

netstat -nab

With this basic command, you can know every open port on your computer and the executable that has the port opened. In Windows 7 this command needs Administration rights (Click Start, type cmd, right click cmd.exe and click Run as administrator.)

netstat -r

Display the routing table.


The easiest way to know if one of your computers is connected to the network.


Informs about the route to a remote host. The problem about tracert is that this uses a specific port that can be blocked in the route.

If you want to know if you can establish a connection between you and a router port use:

Elikfulkerson. Tcp ping.

This is an incredible light and useful tool.


A better version of tracert that gives you statics about packet lost and latency.


With this tool you can check your DNS servers. For example, imagine you are experiencing a problem with your current DNS and it cannot resolve the address www.mintywhite.com. You can test it with nslookup and use other DNS servers to try to resolve the address.

This program can inform about a PC name given his IP address.

There are many more commands (for example telnet), but I think these are the basic ones. What commands do you use and what purpose do they serve?

About Angel Luis

I am an Engineer of Telecommunications that love computers. My first computer was a Commodore 16kb, about 25 years ago and since then I am always fighting computers problems. Please visit my entries and ask me about whatever problem you have, I will be pleased to help you. My email is discoveryourpc [at] gmail [dot] com. You can follow me on twitter @agenlu or read my blog www.discoveryourpc.net

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6 thoughts on “Basic Network Commands and their Usage [Introduction]”

  1. Harry Help says:

    I never new half of these existed. Thanks a lot :)

  2. Rich says:

    Same here. When I read through the article, I was pleased to see I hadn't heard of some of these and suprised at how useful they can be.

  3. Angel Luis says:

    Thanks Rich and Harry.

  4. Froggman-tg says:

    When I first started using a computer there was nothing but DOS. I quickly learned how to do basic programming using it and created batch files that could be conveted into .com or .exe files. I even had a way to turn the prompt into a train or airplane. It was great! Thanks to the advent of Windows I forgotten how to do these things but I still use dos for ipconfig for flushing dns etc. and to ping far away places just for the fun of it, just to see how long it takes for a reply. most of these on a batch file to save typing. Example: f.bat for iconfig /flushdns or d.bat for f.bat for iconfig /displaydns. I would love to find out what other commands are available for DOS.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hey Frogman,
      Seeing as we both come from the same computer background I was inspired by your comment to go look for that convert to EXE solution. I think I might have found it (or something similar) and I will make an article for you :-)


    2. RSVR85 says:

      This .bat to .exe converter works fantastically.


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