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Seven command-line tools to make your life easier

Nothing makes administrators happier than discovering a cache of free utilities to handle all those little tasks that they have been too busy to carry out. This nice little collection of command-line tools will make their lives a little easier.

One of my favorite things related to system administration is discovering a cache of free utilities – the programs designed to handle those little tasks you haven't been able to handle or get around to. Timo Salmi, a professor at the University of Vaasa in Finland, has a nice little collection of command-line tools available for public use. Here's a list of my favorite tools from this freeware collection, which Salmi calls Garbo:

CHOOSE: A version of the old CHOICE command for batch files, doubly useful now that CHOICE is no longer supported by Windows 2000, XP or Server 2003.

DELE: A replacement of sorts for the command-line DEL function. Rather than deleting a file outright, it moves it to a designated trash folder so it can be recovered later if need be. If you have batch files or other automated operations that use DEL, you can substitute DELE.

FILEAGE: Finds out how old a file is; very handy is you don't want to deduce this by performing data math on a file (especially when dealing with things like irregular months or leap days).

FULLNAME: A context-menu add-on that produces a DOS box with the full path to the target file.

RECENT: Searches folders for recent files. For instance, any file modified today after 3 p.m. or only files made yesterday.

WHEREIS: Finds a given file or set of files anywhere on a drive. Results can be sorted by date, and hidden files can also be searched.

XPMOVE: Moves files from one folder to another if an older file with the same name is found in the target folder. This utility is a simpler version of a tool like Microsoft's SyncToy (a personal favorite), since it doesn't do recursion across multiple folders.


Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators – and please share your thoughts as well.


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