Top 3 MS-DOS Commands for Your Practice

Image of series of MS-DOS CommandsI’m often asked about MS-DOS and why it gets such a bad rap within the legal profession. I don’t know how to answer that. It provides great granular control over your PC, something that we all strive to do (and, believe me, we also fail a lot to do it!). MS-DOS is also simple, both in its interface and how to use it. I expect the antipathy may be related to confusion about how to use it effectively, especially in an active practice. Here are three powerful commands that I like to use, and I recommend that you learn them and incorporate them into your day-to-day work.

chdir

chdir allows you to change your directory on your computer, something that you likely do frequently when you are working on client files. Say, for instance, you need to change directories to access a client folder in another directory. Use the format of chdir [[/d] [Drive:][Path] [..]] [[/d] [Drive:][Path] [..]] and you are there in a jiffy. Nice. Remember, though, that when you disable command extensions, chdir does not treat white spaces as delimiters.

Prnjbs.vbs

This is a great little command that helps you control your printers. It can be used to pause, resume, cancel, and list your print jobs. Handy when you are wondering why something’s not coming off the printer fast enough and you want to find out what the problem is. Just dash off a script like cscript prnjobs -z [-s RemoteComputer-p PrinterName -j JobNumber [-u UserName -w Password] and you are good to go.

secedit

Though not the most glamorous command, it does help you immensely with your security settings, especially in a pinch. Just type in secedit /analyze /db FileName [/cfg FileName] [/log FileName] [/quiet] and your security template  will be imported into the database for analysis (though remember to type in the correct file names and database paths for it to work).

With just these three commands, you should be able to increase you efficiency in your practice, improve overall computer performance, and get better control over your work flow. Microsoft also maintains a nice list of other commands on its site here. I’ll check back in later with some more MS-DOS tips to incorporate into your practice. In the meantime, remember to fsutil your reparse points!

C. Hank Peters ("Chank") is an attorney whose background includes a rural, small-town, solo practice in Minnesota. He uses his practice experience from the late 1970s to advise attorneys who want to establish a lean and client-focused legal practice. He is one of a few legal marketing attorneys online and remains the inspiration for the website Big Legal Brain.

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