Net Send Command

Net Send Command Examples, Options, Switches, and More

Screenshot of the net send command in a Windows XP Command Prompt
Net Send Command (Windows XP).

The net send command is a Command Prompt command used to send messages to users, computers, and messaging aliases on the network.

Windows XP was the last version of Windows to include the net send command. The msg command replaces the net send command in Windows 10Windows 8Windows 7, and Windows Vista.

The net send command is one of many net commands.

Net Send Command Availability

The net send command is available from within the Command Prompt in Windows XP as well as in older versions of Windows and in some Windows Server operating systems.

Note: The availability of certain net send command switches and other net send command syntax may differ from operating system to operating system.

Net Send Command Syntax

net send {name | * | /domain[:domainname] | /users} message [/help] [/?]

Tip: See How to Read Command Syntax if you're not sure how to read the net send command syntax above or in the table below.

nameThis option specifies the username, computer name, or messaging name (defined with the net name command) that you want to send the message to.
*Use the asterisk to send the message to every user in your current domain or workgroup.
/domainThis switch can be used alone to send the message to all the names in the current domain.
domainnameUse this option with /domain to send the message to all the users in the specified domainname.
/usersThis option sends the message to all the users connected to the server that the net send command is being executed from.
messageThis net send command option is obviously required and specifies the exact text of the message you're sending. The message can be a maximum of 128 characters and must be wrapped in double quotes if it contains a slash.
/helpUse this switch to display detailed information about the net send command. Using this option is the same as using the net help command with net send: net help send.
/?The help switch also works with the net send command but only displays the basic command syntax. Executing net send without options is equal to using the /? switch.

Tip: You can store the output of the net send command in a file using a redirection operator with the command. See How to Redirect Command Output to a File for help or see Command Prompt Tricks for even more tips.

Net Send Command Examples

net send * Please proceed to CR103 immediately for a mandatory meeting

In this example, net send is used to send the Please proceed to CR103 immediately for a mandatory meeting message to all the members {*} of the current workgroup or domain.

net send /users "Will the person with the A7/3 client file open please save your work and close it? Thank you!"

Here, the net send command is used to send all the members of the current server {/users} the message Will the person with the A7/3 client file open please save your work and close it? Thank you!. The message is in quotes because a slash was used within the message.

net send smithm You're Fired!

While it's a completely unprofessional way to terminate someone's employment, in this example, the net send command is used to send Mike Smith, with the username smithm, a message I doubt he wanted to hear: You're Fired!.

Net Send Related Commands

The net send command is a subset of the net command and so is similar to its sister commands like net use, net time, net user, net view, etc.

More Help With the Net Send Command

If the net send command isn't working, you might see the following error in Command Prompt:

'net' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.

There are two ways to fix this error, but only one is a permanent solution...

You can move the current working directory to be the path where the cmd.exe file is located so that Command Prompt knows how to run the net send command. Do this with the change directory (cd) command:

cd c:\windows\system32\

From there, you can run the net send command without seeing that error. However, this is only a temporary solution that you'll have to do all the time for every command. The real problem is that the current environment variable has not been set up correctly.

Here's how to restore the proper environment variable necessary for Command Prompt to understand your commands in Windows XP:

  1. Open the Start menu and right-click My Computer.
  2. Choose Properties from that menu.
  3. Go into the Advanced tab.
  4. Select the Environment Variables button.
  5. In the bottom section called System Variables, select Path from the list.
  6. Choose the Edit button below the System Variables section.
  7. In the Edit System Variable text box, look for any paths that read exactly like this:

    C:\Windows\system32

    or...

    %SystemRoot%\system32
     
  8. You should only have one in there, but if you have neither, then go to the very end of the text, type a semicolon and then enter the top path from above, like this:

    ;C:\Windows\system32

    Is one already in there? If so, it's most likely the second one that reads "%SystemRoot%" at the beginning. If so, change that part of the path to be "C:\Windows\system32" (so long as your Windows installation is on the C: drive, which is most likely true).

    For example, you'd change %SystemRoot%\system32 to C:\Windows\system32.

    Important: Do not edit any other variables. If there happen to be no variables in this text box, then you can enter the above path without the semicolon since it's the only entry.
  9. Click OK a few times to save the changes and exit the System Properties window.
  10. Restart your computer.
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