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Commodore 64 commands

People frequently ask me for a list of common or useful Commodore 64 commands, including disk drive commands. Since the C-64’s built in operating system is more of a combination command line/Basic interpreter, it takes some getting used to if you didn’t grow up with it.

These commands assume a stock, unmodified C-64, freshly powered on. Many fast-load cartridges, ROM replacements, or so-called DOS wedge programs include shortcuts for these commands. But these commands work on any C-64 with a disk drive, modified or stock.

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System restore from command prompt

Sometimes a Windows computer is so broken that you have to run system restore from the command prompt. If you’re reading this, I don’t have to elaborate. This works in Windows 7, Windows 10, and any other recent version.

And when a system is that broken, you can expect to run into a couple of snags. Maybe you can’t even get a command prompt. Or maybe you got a command prompt but the executable file is buried. Here’s how to solve those two problems.Read More »System restore from command prompt

Common AmigaDOS commands

The Amiga had a command line, or CLI. It was a rather powerful CLI, especially for its time. But there are a number of differences between AmigaDOS and other operating systems you may be familiar with. These are the common AmigaDOS commands and their equivalents from other operating systems like DOS, Windows, Unix or Linux.

I’ve never seen a primer that relates or cross-references Amiga commands to Windows and Unix. So I wrote one. I hope it helps you understand your Amiga better. Because Amiga is sometimes like Windows and sometimes it’s like Unix, I think it might. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn something you didn’t know about Windows or Unix too.

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Solve the NSIS error

I was trying to install some software last week and I got an NSIS error. The message certainly suggests corrupt downloads, but corrupt downloads are relatively rare, and when they happen, redownloading it ought to clear that up. Getting two of these failures in a row with different programs is really a freak occurrence, so I started looking for another problem.

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Compress system files doesn’t show up in Disk Cleanup

One of the new features of Windows 10 is better file compression, which was intended to help Windows fit better in low-resource devices like tablets. But it’s helpful on computers with SSDs too. But for whatever reason that option doesn’t show up on mine.

But you can still compress your system files even if the Disk Cleanup utility (which you can also launch from the Free up disk space by deleting unnecessary files control panel) doesn’t show the Compress system files option.

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Accessing the Programs and Features control panel app from the command line

From time to time I have to pull up Programs and Features (formerly known as Add and Remove Programs in obsolete versions of Windows), but I’m not an administrator. Not normally, at least. When I need to do so, I run cmd.exe using my administrative ID–I created a shortcut and pinned it to my Start Menu so I can right-click cmd.exe and select “Run As”–and then, from the command prompt, I type appwiz.cpl. Then I can make all the changes I need to make, without the hazards associated with logging in as an administrator and running everything with admin rights.

CMD.EXE and its shellshock-like qualities

“So did you know there’s a Windows version of Shellshock?” a coworker asked the other day.

“What, Cygwin’s bash?” I asked.

“No, in CMD.EXE.”

I thought for a second, back to some really nasty batch files I’ve seen that do goofy stuff with variables and parenthesis and other reserved characters. Suddenly it made sense. Those cryptic batch files are exploiting the command interpreter to do things that shouldn’t be done. Then I smiled.

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Revisiting Microsoft/Sysinternals Du as a batch file

My tips for using Sysinternals’ Du.exe were well received last week, and my former coworker Charlie mentioned a GUI tool called Windirstat that I had completely forgotten about. For the command-line averse, it’s an incredibly useful tool.

But there’s one thing that Du.exe does that makes the CLI worthwhile. It will output to CSV files for further analysis. Here’s the trick.

DU -L 1 -Q -C \\SERVERNAME\C$\ >> servers.csv

Sub in the name of your server for servername. You have to have admin rights on the server to run this, of course.

For even more power, run this in a batch file containing multiple commands to query multiple servers, say, in your runup to Patch Tuesday. Open the file in your favorite spreadsheet, sort on Directory Size, and you can find candidates for cleanup.

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Clear print queue command line sequence

Here’s an old, old, but still useful tip that works on all NT-based versions of Windows (including Windows 7 and Windows 10). This is the clear print queue command line sequence for Windows, and it’s the fastest, most reliable way to recover from a hung print job. It works from the standard Windows CMD prompt.

The sequence is to stop the spooler service, delete the contents of the spooler directory (usually c:\windows\system32\spool\printers\) and then restart the spooler service.

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