Using psExec to Open a Remote Command Window

System Center Essentials provides several ways to remotely manage computers, including:

  • Computer Management MMC
  • Remote Desktop
  • Remote Assistance
  • Tasks to show current information, such as process usage

Sometimes though what is wanted is just a remote command window without the overhead of opening a full remote desktop session.

The PsExec tool which is one of the SysInternals tools provides a way to open a remote command window without needing to install anything on the remote computer.

You can find out more about PsExec from:

With psExec installed you can open a remote command prompt by calling it as follows:

psExec \\computer cmd

If you have psExec installed on your computer with the Essentials console you can create a task in Essentials to open a remote command window from within Essentials.

To create this task:

  1. Go to the Authoring workspace
  2. In the navigation pane on the left hand side, expand Management Pack Objects and select Tasks
  3. From the Tasks pane, select Create a New Task
  4. Select Command Line from the Console Tasks folder and click Next
  5. In the Task Name field, type "Remote Command Window"
  6. In the Description type "Use the SysInternals PsExec tool to open a remote command window for the selected computer. PsExec must be installed on the computer with the Essentials console."
  7. In the Task Target, click Select and then choose Windows Computer and click OK
  8. Click Next
  9. In the Application field, type the full path the psexec.exe on the Essentials console (e.g. C:\pstools\psexec.exe). If you have the console on multiple computers you will need psExec installed in the same location on each of them.
  10. Enter \\ then Click the arrow at the end of the Parameters field and select Net BIOS Computer Name, then add a space and enter cmd
  11. Uncheck the Display output when this task is run box
  12. Click Create

In the Computers workspace, with a computer selected there is now a "Remote Command Window" task that is available. Selecting this task will open a remote command window for the selected computer.