Road To MCSE -- Don't 'Dis The Command Line

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Nov 12, 2000


Deb Shinder

What makes Windows the industry powerhouse that it is today? Some might say that it's the marketing "machine" that Microsoft employs to push the product onto witless CEOs and technology reviewers. Some believe that it's the raw power and stability of Windows operating systems that give them the edge and explain Windows phenomenal growth in the marketplace. Others claim that Windows is where it is today because it's the lowest cost alternative.

What makes Windows the industry powerhouse that it is today? Some might say that its the marketing 'machine' that Microsoft employs to push the product onto witless CEOs and technology reviewers. Some believe that its the raw power and stability of Windows operating systems that give them the edge and explain Windows phenomenal growth in the marketplace. Others claim that Windows is where it is today because its the lowest cost alternative.

I don't believe any of these reasons. First, CEOs and technology reviewers for corporations are neither witless nor ill-informed. We are often the people the decision makers go to in order to come up with the best solution for a company, and we are definitely not affected by marketing hype and doublespeak. Second, Windows has not been the most powerful and stable operating system available to companies. Linux, OS/2 and a host of lesser known operating systems are available that provide more "raw power" and stability than any version of Windows. Lastly, Windows never was the lowest cost alternative. You could get a version of Linux or FreeBSD and create powerful and flexible solutions for your server and workstation environs.

Then why has Windows won? Because its easy to use. And Windows is easy to use because of the GUI. If you were to take all the functionality of Windows operating systems and put them into a command-line environment, competing operating systems would win hands-down. The overwhelming advantage of Windows is that you can start the operating system and get to work without paging through sheaths of Byzantine command line arguments.

We know that, and that's why we like Windows. However, sometimes we forget that you can save a lot time by bypassing the GUI and going straight to the command line to get some quick and dirty jobs done. Also, sometimes Microsoft engineers don't get around to coding a GUI interface for some very useful and important tools.

Therefore, if you want to be a good Windows 2000 systems engineer, you need to have more than a passing familiarity with some of the command line tools that are available in Windows 2000.

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