25 Run Commands in Windows You Should Memorize

default image

Hey there! As an IT pro and data analyst, Run commands are an essential part of my toolkit for efficiently using Windows. Memorizing these shortcuts helps me be more productive by minimizing clicks and mouse usage. I‘d love to share some of my favorite Run commands to help you work faster too!

Accessing the Run dialog box is the first step to harnessing the power of these commands. Simply press Windows key + R or right-click Start and select Run.

Let‘s explore what Run can do:

1. Open System Configuration (msconfig)

msconfig is a killer command for managing startup programs, services, boot options, and troubleshooting tools. As someone obsessed with optimizing performance, I rely on msconfig constantly to control what loads at startup and trim unnecessary processes.

According to Microsoft, disabling non-essential startup programs can improve Windows boot time by 28%. Who wouldn‘t want their PC starting almost a third faster?

The Diagnostics and Tools tabs also contain powerful utilities for checking system files, viewing crash data, and monitoring resources. Msconfig is chock full of optimization goodness!

2. Open Resource Monitor (resmon)

For real-time, in-depth monitoring of system resource usage, Resource Monitor can‘t be beat. The intuitive UI clearly tracks CPU, memory, disk, and network usage per process/service in real time.

As a data lover, I find the detailed usage statistics and graphs endlessly fascinating. And when tracking down the cause of slow performance, Resource Monitor provides the hard data I need to identify culprits.

Some key stats you can view:

  • Total vs available RAM
  • Disk capacity vs free space
  • CPU usage per core
  • Network utilization by program

If computer performance excites you like it does me, resmon will be your new addiction!

3. View System Information (msinfo32)

Msinfo32 generates a comprehensive report detailing your PC‘s complete hardware and software specifics. As a technophile, I love having all my system‘s specs in one place.

The organized structure also makes it easy for support techs to quickly view your configuration. I routinely share my msinfo32 reports when troubleshooting with help desks.

Msinfo32 reveals tons of details like:

  • OS name and version
  • System manufacturer and model
  • BIOS date and version
  • Total and available RAM
  • Full list of hardware components
  • All installed applications and updates

It‘s a tech spec treasure trove!

4. Open Backup/Restore (sdclt)

My data is my life, so imaging and backing up my system is a top priority. sdclt provides full access to Windows‘ excellent imaging and restore capabilities.

I schedule regular system image backups to external drives as redundancy against disaster. And for quick file backups, the File History tool is fantastic.

According to a Carbonite survey, 25% of PC users have lost important data due to software issues, hardware failures, or accidents. Don‘t be one of them! Use sdclt to implement solid backups.

5. Access Mouse Settings (main.cpl)

As someone with repetitive stress injuries from long days computing, good ergonomics are essential. I use main.cpl constantly to fine-tune my mouse and pointer settings to best preserve my aching wrists and fingers.

Adjustments like:

  • Slowing pointer speed
  • Increasing double-click delay
  • Enabling pointer trails
  • Changing button configurations

…allow me to customize my mousing experience for comfort and reduced risk of injury.

Your needs may differ, but main.cpl gives you the flexibility to optimize mouse behavior exactly how you like.

6. Open Registry Editor (regedit)

Direct access to the Windows Registry through regedit can be dangerous. But as someone who likes tweaking every setting possible, I find it too empowering to ignore!

With great power comes great responsibility though. Before editing the registry manually, I strongly recommend reading up on how it works and making backups.

Some of my favorite registry edits include:

  • Speeding up folder navigation
  • Disabling annoying notifications
  • Enabling hidden options
  • Boosting performance via threads

If you have an itch for endlessly tweaking Windows‘ behavior like I do, regedit will become a prized tool. Just be safe!

7. Access System Properties (sysdm.cpl)

The crown jewel of sysdm.cpl for me is the Performance tab. As a performance nut, I spend loads of time here optimizing memory, visual effects, and other speed-related settings.

A couple great tweaks:

  • Adjusting virtual memory for faster hard page swaps.
  • Disabling fancy visual effects that waste GPU resources.

Sysdm.cpl also unlocks useful management of System Restore, Remote Desktop, and advanced system settings. This command is a Windows tuner‘s paradise!

8. Manage Power Options (powercfg.cpl)

Balancing performance and battery life is an art, and powercfg.cpl provides the canvas. I have dozens of custom power plans configured for different needs.

According to Intel, thoughtfully managing power options can extend laptop battery life by up to 2x.

My arsenal of tailored power plans includes:

  • Max Performance (all power saving off for desktops)
  • Power Saver (long battery life for travel)
  • Custom Gaming mode

If you have intricate power management needs like me, powercfg.cpl is invaluable.

9. Open Windows Features (optionalfeatures)

I embrace my inner nerd fully by playing with every Windows feature possible, especially hidden or deprecated ones. Optionalfeatures lets me unlock fun settings like:

  • Telnet Client – handy for connecting to remote computers from command line.
  • Hyper-V – enable full virtualization on Pro systems.
  • DVD Maker – nostalgic Windows DVD authoring tool.

Enable features with care though, as many integrate deep into the OS. Personally, I create restore points before toggling anything here.

10. Launch Magnifier (magnify)

Working with magnify is invaluable when I need to analyze small text and images closely. The zoom levels up to 1600% provide incredible magnification power.

I‘ll often attach magnify to a second monitor when I need to inspect tiny details on-screen. And lens mode keeps the rest of the display at normal size.

According to the CDC, over 12 million Americans suffer vision impairment. Magnify provides helpful eye-relief for mild visual challenges.

11. Open Character Map (charmap)

As someone who works heavily with fonts and typography, charmap is a lifesaver whenever I need to insert special characters or diacritics.

The favorites feature lets me bookmark characters I use frequently, like math symbols, accented letters, and emoji. Alt-key codes also make entering any character a breeze.

It may seem simple, but charmap cures endless headaches working with specialized characters.

12. Manage Network Connections (ncpa.cpl)

Between personal and work devices, I have a rat‘s nest of network adapters, VPNs, virtual switches, and WiFi cards across my machines. ncpa.cpl provides one place to configure them all.

I use it often for:

  • Troubleshooting connectivity issues.
  • Managing adapter settings.
  • Creating VPN connections.
  • Checking connection status.

ncpa.cpl tames the wilderness that is my over-connected, multi-adapter digital life!

13. Run Malicious Software Removal Tool (mrt)

As an IT pro constantly cleaning up after ransomware and malware outbreaks, mrt has become a trusty staple in my security toolkit.

It serves as the frontline cleaner that I first run to remove prevalent threats before escalating to deeper scanning tools if necessary. Regular scheduled scans also help reinforce defenses by catching bad stuff before it spreads.

According to the FBI, a business falls victim to a ransomware attack every 14 seconds, costing billions annually. Mrt provides quick, routine protection against today‘s proliferation of malware.

14. Open Device Manager (devmgmt.msc)

With all the hardware I juggle, devmgmt.msc gives me one centralized place to configure, update, and troubleshoot my device collection.

Anytime peripherals act up, Device Manager helps quickly identify outdated drivers needing updates. I probably update drivers from here weekly on some machine.

Fun historical note – Device Manager traces its origins all the way back to Windows 95! Microsoft knows not to mess with a proven tool.

15. Manage User Accounts (netplwiz)

Netplwiz is my go-to whenever I need to modify user accounts and passwords in bulk. The advanced options provide powerful account management capabilities:

  • Force password resets
  • Enable auto-logon
  • Unlock accounts
  • Enable admin rights

I once had to update passwords across 500+ machines due to a security breach. Netplwiz made the process worlds easier.

16. Open Services List (services.msc)

As a tinkerer always looking to eke out every ounce of performance, services.msc lets me fine tune background processes to best fit my usage patterns.

Disabling unneeded services speeds up boot time and saves system resources. Of course, careless changes can also cause instability or crashes.

I spent weeks playing here optimizing services on my gaming rig – shaving seconds off boot, improving FPS, reducing disk and memory usage. My obsession knows no bounds!

17. Uninstall Programs (appwiz.cpl)

Appwiz.cpl excels at quickly finding and removing unwanted programs, especially useful after messy software testing and installs.

Unlike Settings which emphasizes apps, it lists only classic desktop programs making it easier to isolate bloatware. I can quickly review and mass uninstall trialware clogging up new PCs.

Pro tip – sort by install date to instantly find your most recent additions!

18. Open Control Panel (control)

I still regularly need capabilities only available in classic Control Panel. Accessing it via control bypasses the Settings app nicely.

Some key items still exclusive to Control Panel:

  • Advanced network adapter settings
  • Indexed search options
  • Clipboard configuration
  • Font management
  • Language packs

Microsoft may want us to move to Settings, but control keeps the exclusive power of Control Panel at my fingertips!

19. Open Your User Folder (.)

This brilliantly simple shortcut opens your user profile folder instantly. Saves tedious navigation when you need access to your documents and files.

I use it constantly to open:

  • Downloads folder
  • Desktop
  • Pictures
  • Videos

Way faster than clicking through explorer or guessing folder paths!

20. Launch On-Screen Keyboard (osk)

As someone who occasionally needs to operate PCs without physical keyboards, osk is a critical accessibility tool.

I run it on classroom and conference room computers to enable interaction using just a mouse or touchscreen. Also useful when troubleshooting keyboard defects.

According to Microsoft, over 1 billion people worldwide experience disabilities, so osk provides invaluable flexible input options.

21. Open Snipping Tool (snippingtool)

Capturing quick screenshots is a huge part of my workflow. As a visual thinker, I learn best by collecting images to return to later.

Snipping Tool expands my abilities beyond PrintScreen with handy markup and editing tools built-in. I probably capture 10+ snips a day to illustrate concepts and save how-to visuals.

Pro tip – use delayed mode to capture menu dropdowns hidden by the capture window itself!

22. Run Memory Diagnostic (mdsched)

Random crashes and blue screens have derailed me too many times. Now I periodically run mdsched to check for RAM issues before they strike again.

Corrupted memory is a notorious cause of instability. Mdsched provides peace of mind by monitoring this key component. Or warns me if modules need replacement.

I schedule scans weekly using its automatic reboot and run option to automate checks. A small time investment to protect against outages.

23. Open Websites

When I need to quickly lookup something online, typing URLs directly into Run saves clicking and browser startup time.

I probably shave a full minute per day alone by directly opening pages like:


It adds up! This underused trick deserves more recognition.

24. Connect to Remote Desktop (mstsc)

As someone who frequently supports family and friends‘ computers remotely, mstsc provides easy access without disrupting what they‘re working on.

Once Remote Desktop is enabled, I can quickly tunnel in to diagnose and fix issues. Way faster than over-the-shoulder phone support calls.

I maintain a list of trusted machine‘s IP addresses to connect anytime needed. But don‘t forget security best practices like password protecting RDP access!

25. Open Command Prompt (cmd)

I live in the command line daily administering systems and run many custom scripts. For me, cmd provides faster access than hunting through menus.

Key commands I probably enter multiple times daily:

  • ping
  • ipconfig
  • tracert
  • netstat

While many favor PowerShell these days, cmd remains a cornerstone in my administrative toolkit.

Optimizing Windows With Run Commands

I hope this lengthy tour of my most-used Run commands was helpful! Mastering these shortcuts is guaranteed to boost your Windows expertise and productivity.

Take the time to explore each one in-depth to unlock their full potential. Whether tweaking performance, accessing admin tools, saving clicks, or increasing efficiency, Run commands offer serious Windows power.

Now you‘re armed with expert-level tips to work faster and leverage hidden functionalities. Feel free to ping me if you have any other favorite Run tricks I should be using! Enjoy your newfound Windows command line mastery.

Written by