Windows XP and Advanced Command Line Utilities

Both Windows Command-Line Administration Instant Reference and Administering Windows Server 2008 Server Core contain a number of advanced commands, such as SetX, that don’t come with the operating system. A number of readers have written to ask about these commands and where they can get them. Fortunately, Microsoft makes it easy to get what you need by downloading and installing the Windows XP Service Pack 2 Support Tools.

The Support Tools site contains a list of the commands and utilities you get. Included in this list are two important MMC console configuration files (ADSIEdit.msc and SIDWalk.msc) that make management tasks considerably easier. There is an executable form of ADSIEdit, but Support Tools doesn’t include it and you can’t use ADSIEdit as a command line tool anyway. The SIDWalk utility comes in executable (.exe) form as well so that you can use it in batch files.

In order to install the Support Tools, you must provide 5 MB hard drive space. Of course, coming up with that small amount of space isn’t the problem it once was. You must also have Windows XP Service Pack 2 (or higher) installed.


Something that Microsoft doesn’t emphasize is that these tools don’t work with the 64-bit version of Windows XP. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a workaround for the problem. Utilities created for newer 64-bit versions of Windows, such as Windows 7, don’t appear to work with Windows XP. If someone has a solution to this problem, please let me know.

After you download Support Tools, you may have to add a new path to your Windows setup. You perform this task using the Environment Variables dialog box. Simply open the System Properties applet, select the Advanced tab, and click Environment Variables to access it. Make sure you add the path to your installation to the existing Path and don’t overwrite the existing path with the new information. (Highlight the Path entry in the System Variables list and click Edit to display the Edit System Variable dialog box.) In most cases, the Support Tools install to the %Program Files%\Support Tools folder, which means you’d type ;%Program Files%\Support Tools at the end of the existing Path environment variable.

I’ll provide updates to this post as needed. If you have any questions, please contact me at


Author: John

John Mueller is a freelance author and technical editor. He has writing in his blood, having produced 99 books and over 600 articles to date. The topics range from networking to artificial intelligence and from database management to heads-down programming. Some of his current books include a Web security book, discussions of how to manage big data using data science, a Windows command -line reference, and a book that shows how to build your own custom PC. His technical editing skills have helped over more than 67 authors refine the content of their manuscripts. John has provided technical editing services to both Data Based Advisor and Coast Compute magazines. He has also contributed articles to magazines such as Software Quality Connection, DevSource, InformIT, SQL Server Professional, Visual C++ Developer, Hard Core Visual Basic, asp.netPRO, Software Test and Performance, and Visual Basic Developer. Be sure to read John’s blog at When John isn’t working at the computer, you can find him outside in the garden, cutting wood, or generally enjoying nature. John also likes making wine and knitting. When not occupied with anything else, he makes glycerin soap and candles, which comes in handy for gift baskets. You can reach John on the Internet at John is also setting up a website at Feel free to take a look and make suggestions on how he can improve it.