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Somehow, through all of my years in IT and supporting Windows Servers I never knew this.  You can send the Control-Alt-Delete to a remote desktop client by using Control-Alt-End.  Works like a charm and just saved me on a box that stopped responding. 

I had the glorious opportunity today of making a Microsoft support call.  Im not sure how many of you out there have made one before, but I have to say its getting WAY better.  I had a call back in less than an hour, and the tech was very knowledgeable.  All said and done, they had the issue fixed in 30 minutes.  Whenever I watch another tech work (this time remotely) I like watching what shortcuts they use when they are doing their work.  I picked up a couple from this support call that I thought were worth sharing.  The first one, in my opinion is enough by itself.

Display your network adapters (Without going to the network and sharing center first!!!)
My biggest pet peeve with server 08 is that it takes more than 2 clicks to see your actual adapters. Not anymore, this shortcut loads the adapter screen in one command!
Command: ncpa.cpl
Usage: Start Menu,  Run, Type  ‘ncpa.cpl’ – Press <Enter>

Display Add/Remove Program (program and features)
Not a huge breakthrough, but it saves time all the same
Command: appwiz.cpl
Usage: Start Menu,  Run, Type  ‘appwiz.cpl’ – Press <Enter>

Show IIS (7)
Another time savor
Command: inetmgr
Usage: Start Menu,  Run, Type  ‘inetmgr’ – Press <Enter>

I’m mostly on the network side, so the first command is most useful to me.  Nonetheless its useful to know some shortcuts even with a GUI OS like Windows.  As a side note you can also run all of these commands out of command prompt but for shortcuts that don’t have the ‘.cpl’ extension you need to preface the command with the word ‘start’ (EG: ‘start inetmgr’)


I ran into this the other day at work and thought I would share.  Hopefully this will save you some time.  I had a service on a windows box that locked up during a standard service restart.  Seeing as most people don’t like having their server rebooted during the day I had to come up with a way to deal with this.  My usual fix for this was to determine what exe the service was running, hunt it down in task manager, manually kill it, and start the service again.  However, when I looked at the service I saw that the listed executable was ‘svchost.exe’.  Knowing that I would encounter more than one svchost.exe process when I opened task manager I decided to spend some time and figure out exactly what the exe was. 

What is svchost.exe?
As it turns out, not all applications and services in windows have the ‘exe’ file extension.  Some of them are actually DLLs (Dynamic-Link Library) files that need a means to run.  Windows (unlike other operating systems) doesn’t have a way to run a DLL directly as a service.  Svchost acts as a platform (a separate EXE) from which to launch these DLLs are services.  So when you see a ton of svchost.exe processes running under task manager, they aren’t actually the same program. 

So which one is which?
So lets walk through an example of how to determine which svchost process is linked to a particular program.  So lets say that the DHCP client service on my windows server locked up and during the service restart the service hung in the dreaded ‘Attempting to stop’ state (Yes, I realize its highly unlikely that your DHCP client service would be a critical service on a server with a static IP, just bear with me as the concept is the same for any service).  So I open up the services MMC and check the properties of the service to find out what EXE the service is running.  The properties screen looks like this…


As you can see, the service runs under the svchost.exe process.  A look at my task manager on the server gives me this…


Notice that I have not one, but fifteen svchost.exe processes running.  So which one do I kill?  After some googling I found the answer.  The key to making this determination is the PID (Process ID).  If you cant see the PID in your task manager go to View – Select Columns – And Select PID (For Server 08).   You should now see the PID listed next to each process.  Now go to the command prompt and enter in this magic command…

tasklist /svc

Or if you just want to see the svchost.exe processes…

tasklist /svc /fi "imagename eq svchost.exe"

The output from the second command looks like this…


A quick review of the output reveals that DHCP is running over svchost.exe at PID 956.  Taking a look back at the task manager I locate PID 956 and kill the process.  Pretty slick huh?

I view this way of starting and stopping windows services as a last resort.  Often times multiple services run under the same svchost which can cause issues if you start killing them.  Additionally, a lot of windows services that run as svchost.exe don’t like being killed.  For instance, the DHCP client I used in this example when killed just started right back up again.  If you can do a server reboot to clear the hung process that’s usually the best approach.  But if you can’t, and need a quick fix, use this with caution.


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