TOP 10
NET Commands
NT's best-kept secrets

Each month in this column, I'll present my top 10 list of Windows NT-related technical tips and resources. I'll cover a wide range of topics including little-known NT commands, helpful Microsoft articles, useful freeware and shareware tools, and network troubleshooting tips. In David Letterman fashion, I'll present these tips starting with number 10 and work my way to my favorite, or number 1, tip.

This month, I'll share some of NT's best-kept secrets—NT NET commands. Because these commands aren't graphical, you don't typically run across them as you navigate the NT desktop.

The NET commands provide powerful functionality. Many of the commands accept a variety of parameters that let you use the commands to perform several different functions. You can use the NET commands from NT's command line or incorporate them in scripts to automate common administrative tasks. Most of the commands return error levels that you can leverage in scripts. To find out more about NT's NET commands, enter NET HELP from a command line.

10. NET STATISTICS shows statistics about your system's Workstation and Server services. To show network statistics for your system's Server service, enter

net statistics server

9. NET GROUP lets you list and manage NT groups. Use the /domain switch to run the command on the Primary Domain Controller (PDC). For a list of all the members of your PDC's Domain Administrators group, enter

net group "domain admins" /domain

8. NET START starts network services. For instance, to start the Computer Browser service, enter

net start "computer browser"

7. NET STOP stops network services. For instance, to stop the Computer Browser service, enter

net stop "computer browser"

6. NET COMPUTER adds and removes machine accounts. This command is handy for adding multiple machine accounts in a batch file, but you can use NET COMPUTER only at a domain controller. To add a machine account for a system named NewSystem,enter

net computer \\newsystem /add

5. NET SHARE lists your available network shares if you use the command without adding parameters. NET SHARE can also make a directory available for sharing on the network. To make C:\shared\docs available with the share name docs, enter

net share docs=c:\shared\docs

4. NET USE lets you connect and disconnect from network resources such as shares and printers. When you use NET USE without parameters, the command lists the resources you're currently connected to. To connect the first available drive letter to a share named docs, enter

net use * \\server\docs

3. NET USER lets you list and manage user accounts. This command lists user accounts when you use it without parameters. You can use the /domain switch to execute the command on the PDC. To add a new account named NewUser with a home directory of C:\users\newuser, enter

net user newuser /add /homedir: c:\users\newuser

2. NET VIEW lists the systems and network resources in a domain. To check the availability of a server named server1, enter

net view \\server1

1. NET SEND is my favorite NET command. You use NET SEND to send pop-up messages to other systems; it's much more immediate (and more fun) than email. To send a message to system PC02, enter

net send PC02 "Meeting at 11:00"