The Sysadmin Wiki

Windows is a series of software operating systems and graphical user interfaces produced by Microsoft.


Version Description Status
Windows 3.1 First popular Windows distribution. Some 32-bit functions. Discontinued.
Windows NT First fully 32-bit Windows. Introduced NTFS. 4.0 had a 9x GUI. Discontinued: still found on older production systems.
Windows 95 First Windows with revamped GUI. Discontinued.
Windows 98 Popular version of Windows. SE introduced FAT32 filesystem. Discontinued: still found in use with some gamers.
Windows Me Disliked version of Windows. Kernel and boot was hybrid of 9x and NT systems. Discontinued.
Windows 2000 Popular upgrade of Windows NT. Partially-supported; still in use on many servers.
Windows XP Merge of 9x and NT lines. Popular OS during the 2000s. Support levels dependent on variant.
Windows Media Center XP Professional rebadged and retooled for home theater use. Support levels dependent on variant.
Windows 2003 Robust server platform with elements of XP. First to support x64 CPUs. Support levels dependent on variant.
Windows Vista Heavily panned retooling of XP/2003 for consumer use. Successor to XP.
Windows 2008 Vista-based server OS, but with a more stable kernel. Successor to 2003.
Windows 7 Proposed redesign of OS to use a "MinWin" kernel. Proposed successor to Vista. Expected by 2010.

Password reset[]

For local windows accounts, you have the following options:

Remote commands[]

Execute commands on remote windows computers from windows and linux, with psexec and winexe, respectively. For instance to restart the IIS service on a server called webserver from a linux machine:

winexe -U domain\\user //webserver "cmd /c net stop w3svc && net start w3svc"

Or to simply get a console on the remote windows machine run this command:

winexe -U domain\\user //webserver "cmd"

Installing winexe[]

The program winexe used to be included in the Ubuntu repositories in the wmi-client package. It's available now as an unofficial deb package (might want to find a better source or try to vet this one).


The services add-in can be opened with the command services.msc. The settings for them are saved in the following registry key:


The Start key can have the following values:

  • 0: Started by the bootloader
  • 1: Loaded at kernel initialization
  • 2: Automatically load as a normal service
  • 3: Load on demand (manual)
  • 4: Disabled


Slipstreaming is the art of customizing your installation CD. This usually means that you get a CD with all updates, perhaps some extra programs and you can change and remove existing features.

Slipstreaming can be done with programs like nLite for Windows XP or vLite for Vista.


Pinoy tech guy has an article summarizing various commands for various windows utilities for windows 2000/xp/vista.

Connection test[]

Here's a simple script that tests whether it can ping various IP's and hostnames, which is tested in win xp and vista (vista needs elevated privileges the first time to get pretty colors, because of an issue discussed on the forum):

@echo off

rem init
set fail=�[1A�[30C[ �[1;31mFail�[0m ]
set ok=�[1A�[30C[  �[1;32mOK�[0m  ]
set ansisys=on

rem check for ansi.sys
type %systemroot%\system32\config.nt | find "ansi.sys" > nul
if not errorlevel 1 goto ansisys
if errorlevel 1 echo device=%systemroot%\system32\ansi.sys >> %systemroot%\system32\config.nt

rem doublecheck
type %systemroot%\system32\config.nt | find "ansi.sys" > nul
if errorlevel 1 call :noansisys


echo VPN test:

call:pr Internet access
call :ping

call:pr Server ip
call :ping

call:pr Server FQDN name
call :ping server.domain.local

call:pr Server local name
call :ping server


ping -n 1 -w 500 %1 > nul
set err=%errorlevel%
if %err%==1 call:pr %fail%
if %err%==0 call:pr %ok%

set cmdloader=
if "%ansisys%"=="on" set cmdloader=command /c
if "%*"=="" %cmdloader% echo.
if not "%*"=="" %cmdloader% echo %*

set fail=Fail
set ok=OK
set ansisys=off

Num lock on startup[]

If you prefer having num lock on, you can set what windows forces it to at startup with this command:

reg add "HKCU\Control Panel\Keyboard" /f /v InitialKeyboardIndicators /t REG_SZ /d 2

A list of values for the keyboard indicators can be found on this article.

See also[]

External resources[]