Windows Tip Sheet

Take Command of DNS

You can wield some awesome power just by using DnsCmd.exe.

One of my favorite tools in the Windows Support Tools (which you can load on your XP desktop) is a command line tool for managing DNS called DnsCmd.exe. The tool does much more than I have space to discuss but I will point out a few features.

The most important feature is that you can run it from your desktop, provided you have the proper credentials. The first thing you'll want to try is to get server information with the command:

DnsCmd YourServername /Info

You can either use the IP address, FQDN or Netbios name. You'll need RPC connectivity to the DNS server, but if you manage DNS now that shouldn't be an issue. Personally, I love having all that information in one screen without having to navigate through the DNS management console.

If you are curious about how the server is performing run:

DnsCmd YourServername /statistics | more

I pipe the output through the More command, because otherwise a lot of data will fly by.

With DnsCmd you can create, load, pause, reload and delete zones. You can add, delete, enumerate and age records. You can create, enumerate and delete directory partitions. You can start the scavenging process. You can clear the cache. Are you starting to see that this tool packs quite a punch?

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Once you become familiar with DnsCmd, you could probably administer DNS faster than through the MMC. Best of all you can create shortcut batch files for common DNS administrative tasks. Double click the shortcut and move on to the next task on your to do list.

I'm not saying DnsCmd will completely replace the DNS management console, but it could make some of your regular tasks easier.

About the Author

Jeffery Hicks is an IT veteran with over 25 years of experience, much of it spent as an IT infrastructure consultant specializing in Microsoft server technologies with an emphasis in automation and efficiency. He is a multi-year recipient of the Microsoft MVP Award in Windows PowerShell. He works today as an independent author, trainer and consultant. Jeff has written for numerous online sites and print publications, is a contributing editor at, and a frequent speaker at technology conferences and user groups.

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