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All Places > Licensing and Installation > Blog > 2013 > August

I have just discovered a single Windows command which combines the functionality of ping and tracert.


The "pathping" tool tests every node along the way over a period of time, so you get more than a snapshot result.


The command is:


pathping  target_name


More information can be found at:

If you find that Windows is taking far too long to startup, or maybe you're getting some annoying system tray alerts from mysterious programs that you've never installed, a good place to start is by looking at the Windows startup programs. Here are some techniques that I like to use to find and disable those unwanted startup programs:


Note: Some startup programs may run as part of your company's corporate policy. If you're not sure whether to disable a startup program you should check with your local I.T. department.



  • Check the Startup folder in your Windows Start Menu:




  • Most of the other startup program entries can be found in the Windows Registry; better to use MSConfig
    • Given the risks of editing the Windows registry, it's safer to use the Microsoft MSConfig program to disable these entries. You even access the above mentioned startup entries at the same time
    • To start MSConfig just go to the Start>Run area and type in msconfig






  • Another option is a freeware utility from Microsoft called Autoruns
    • Be warned it is not for the novice user (there are MANY options!)
    • For most users the Logon tab is where you will go to find and disable startup entries



Troubleshooting a variety of networking problems typically involves frequent use of the ping command, which can quickly tell you whether or not there is a route between hosts. But what if ping returns with zero packet loss yet you still have problems? Those TCP/IP packets often have to travel through routers or switches and those points can create problems. Fortunately, there's a very handy utility on Windows called pathping that will trace the route between hosts and give you some data on performance or potential bottlenecks. This can be very helpful in diagnosing network problems, especially those related to latency.


Here's an example of using pathping:



C:\Users\guyw>pathping silver


Tracing route to[]

over a maximum of 30 hops:







Computing statistics for 100 seconds...

            Source to Here   This Node/Link

Hop  RTT    Lost/Sent = Pct  Lost/Sent = Pct  Address

  0                                 []

                                0/ 100 =  0%   |

  1    1ms     0/ 100 =  0%     0/ 100 =  0%[]

                                0/ 100 =  0%   |

  2    9ms     0/ 100 =  0%     0/ 100 =  0%[]

                                0/ 100 =  0%   |

  3   16ms     0/ 100 =  0%     0/ 100 =  0%[]

                                0/ 100 =  0%   |

  4    1ms     0/ 100 =  0%     0/ 100 =  0%[]


Trace complete.

Last time I wrote Tip of the Week I told you about how you can get the Windows Task Manager to show you more data. This time, I'm going to show you an even better tool- Process Explorer.


Process Explorer, which is available as a free download from Microsoft TechNet, is a Windows Sysinternals tool that not only shows you what is running on your system, but also lets you see information about which file handles and DLLs a process has open or has loaded. It is useful for tracking down DLL problems, memory leaks, or troubleshooting an application that refuses to start or terminate. If has too many features to cover them all, so today I'm going to show you one of my favorites, and contrast its functionality with that of Task Manager.


One of the limitations of Windows Task Manager is the view of your processes is flat. In other words, you can't tell from the view of what's running if any of the processes you see are parents or children of any other process. That is really good information to have, especially if you need to manually terminate something.


Note the view on the left, which is a typical Windows Task Manager view. The highlighted processes are all related to the DxDesigner and Expedition PCB applications I'm running. The view is completely flat, so I can't see what is related to what. If I wasn't familiar with the product architecture, I couldn't even tell that these were related to each other at all. The view on the right is the same view of the system displayed with Process Explorer. Note how I can now see the hierarchy and know which sub-processes are the children of these applications. (Click on image to enlarge).




Another handy feature is that you can configure your system to replace Task Manager with this tool, so that any time Task Manager is invoked, Process Explorer comes up instead:




This operation is easily reversable by simply toggling the Replace Task Manager feature off.


I've only scratched the surface of this great tool, one that is a staple for us in Customer Support. Give it a try!