One of the greatest features in Windows has always been the Run command. It’s such a simple concept, yet if exercised properly, can be a power user’s dream come true. What we’ve got in store for you today might be a little much to absorb all at one time, but rest assured that once you become accustomed to how the Run command works you’ll be thankful that it is at your beckon call.
For starters it is important to know how you can bring up the Run command. In any version of Windows it can be done by using the keyboard shortcut WinKey+R. The odds are pretty good that there will also be an option located in the Start Menu labeled Run, or if you’re using Vista the search box essentially serves as a Run box as well (clever, huh?). Now lets get
The Run box has a lot of different elements to it. There is the box where you enter in your command, the OK and cancel buttons, and, oh, I guess that’s pretty much it. Don’t mistake the simplicity for weakness! ;)
Here are some of my favorite things you can do with the Run command:
Quick Tip: Capitalization is ignored in the Run box, so don’t worry about whether you accidentally capitalize a letter or not.
- Launch a program – If there is a program that you’ve installed, such as Firefox or Nero, you can launch them by simply typing in the name of their main executable file in the Run box pictured above. For example, to run Firefox simply type firefox into the box, or to run Nero type nero. This will only work for applications that have been installed on the computer.
- Open a Control Panel item – You can open every single Control Panel option from the Run command, assuming that you know the proper command needed. Each Control Panel command starts with the word control (which by itself will open the Control Panel), and is then followed by the name of the item that you want to open. For example, to open the Mouse properties type control mouse into the Run box, or control printers for the printer configuration. Microsoft has a helpful guide with some of the commonly used Control Panel options listed.
- Shutdown a remote computer – By using a command such as shutdown /r you can restart the computer you’re using, but that’s not where the command comes in real handy. Assuming that you know the name or IP of a computer on your network you can actually shutdown or restart it from your own Run box. Just type shutdown /m \\MACHINE /r where “MACHINE” is the name or IP address of the computer you want to restart. If you just want to shutdown the computer leave off the “/r” on the end. More information on using the shutdown command can be found here.
- Remote Desktop – We’ve showed you how to create a shortcut for some of your Remote Desktop destinations, but you can also use it with the Run box. To connect to a computer with the IP address 192.168.0.101 just enter mstsc /v:192.168.0.101 into the box. For a few more parameters that you can use consult our last article.
- Refresh your IP address - In the past I’ve had troubles with our ISP, and I would frequently have to get a new IP address in order for my Internet to continue working. That could simply be done by entering ipconfig /renew into the Run box, which disconnects the computer from the network and then reconnects it again. The ipconfig command can be used in a lot of other ways as well, all of which can be found here.
There are many other things that the Run command can be used for, but those are the things that make it useful for me. In doing my research I came across an extensive list of things that can be used in the Run box, but many of them only apply to Control Panel items.
We know that many of you are Run command guru’s, so let us know what you use it for in the comments below!