The easiest way to view information about your computer is to use Windows built-in graphical tools like the Task Manager or System Information. However, just like us, some people prefer to use the Command Prompt for, well, anything. That’s why, in this article, we thought it would be useful to show you how to view the complete system information directly from the Command Prompt, as well as how to manage your running processes, all with the use of just a few advanced commands:
NOTE: The information shared in this tutorial applies to Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. For simplicity, we will use screenshots taken in Windows 10.
1. How to view your system information
Command Prompt allows you to view system information by using a simple command called systeminfo. Open Command Prompt, type systeminfo and press Enter. Do you see what’s happening? Just like in screenshot below, a complete list of information about your operating system and computer hardware and software components is displayed.
You will see details such as the version of the operating system installed on your computer, the status of your RAM memory or the processor you have. There’s also some network information, like the IP and the MAC addresses of your network cards.
2. Display the list of currently running processes
To view the list of currently running processes, you have to use the tasklist command. Type tasklist and press Enter. Command Prompt should display a list similar to the one below, where you see details about the names of running processes, their PID (Process identifier) and the memory they use.
3. Stop a process using taskkill
To kill or stop a running process, you have to use the taskkill command. Let's assume that you want to stop the Snipping Tool application that is running on your computer. Its process is called SnippingTool.exe. In order to kill it, you should use Command Prompt to run the command “taskkill /im snippingtool.exe”. The /im parameter is used to identify and stop a process by typing its name.
There are times when you need to open a program twice or even several times. Every new window of a specific program (for example, Internet Explorer) creates a separate process called instance that has attached a unique PID (Process identifier).
To stop a single instance of a process, you need to specify its PID(Process identifier). Let's assume that there are two instances of Internet Explorer open on your computer. The process’ name is iexplore.exe, but you want to close only one of its two running instances.
If you want to kill the process that has a PID of 6984, you will type taskkill /PID 6984 and then press Enter.
Another interesting parameter that you can use for the command taskkill is /t. This parameter allows you to terminate a specified process and any child processes which were started by it.
Take the same example: the Internet Explorer process. Let's assume that you have three processes and you want to kill all of them using the parameter /t. You should type the command “taskkill /t /im iexplore.exe” and then press Enter. Check the screenshot below to see the confirmation of the command you just typed.
Note that if you misuse the commands listed in this article, you can risk losing the data opened in the running processes. It is important to be careful and have a backup available for your data. Therefore proceed carefully and don't say we did not warn you. :)
Also, keep in mind that, in order to kill any running process, you need to have administrative permissions and run the Command Prompt as administrator. Check out the 7 ways to run programs as administrator in Windows to see how to run Command Prompt as administrator.
We hope you've liked this guide which continues our series of advanced commands that can be run in the Command Prompt. Now you know how to display the system information and you know how to stop processes, all by using just some text commands in the Command Prompt. Don’t you feel geeky right now? :) Don’t forget that, if you have any questions about the commands shared in this article, you can always leave a comment below.