Net Send Command

Examples, Switches, and More

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The net send command is a Command Prompt command used to send messages to users, computers, and messaging aliases on the network. It's one of many net commands.

Windows XP was the last version of Windows to include the net send command. The msg command replaces this command in Windows 11, Windows 10Windows 8Windows 7, and Windows Vista.

Screenshot of the net send command in a Windows XP Command Prompt

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.

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] [/?]

See How to Read Command Syntax if you're not sure how to read the command syntax as it's written above or shown in the table below.

Net Send Command Options
Item Explanation
name This 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.
/domain This switch can be used alone to send the message to all the names in the current domain.
domainname Use this option with /domain to send the message to all the users in the specified domainname.
/users This option sends the message to all the users connected to the server that the net send command is being executed from.
message This 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.
/help Use 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.

You can store the output of the net send command in a file using a redirection operator with the command. 

Net Send Command Examples

Here are some examples that show how to use the net send command:

Send to All Workgroup Users

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.

Send to All Server Users

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

Here, the 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.

Send to Specific User

net send smithm You're Fired!

While it's a completely unprofessional way to terminate someone's employment, in this net send example, it's used to send Mike Smith, with the username smithm, a message he probably didn't want 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 this 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, but only one is a permanent solution...

You can move the current working directory to be System32, 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 cd command (it stands for change directory):

cd c:\windows\system32\

From there, you can run the 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 hasn't 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.

  3. Select the Environment Variables button from the Advanced tab.

  4. Select Path from the list of variables in the System Variables section.

  5. Choose Edit below the System Variables section.

  6. In the Variable value text box, look for any paths that read exactly like this:



    Windows XP path system variable text box
  7. 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:


    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.

    If it helps, copy all the text into Notepad and do the editing there. When you're done, just paste the edited variable value back into that text box to overwrite the existing text.

    Don't edit any other variables. If there happens to be no variables in this text box, then you can enter the above path without the semicolon since it's the only entry.

  8. Select OK a few times to save the changes and exit the System Properties window.

  9. Restart your computer.

If net send commands appear to work in Command Prompt with a "successful" message, but the pop-up doesn't show up on the computers the message is sent to, check that the receiving computers have the Messenger service enabled.

You can enable the Messenger service in Windows XP through Services: go to Start > Run, enter services.msc, double-click Messenger, change Startup type to Automatic, and then go to Apply > Start.

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