Take control of remote PCs with PAExec

Managing a Windows network can be a full-time job; there’s always one problem or another demanding your attention. You could run around from computer to computer, addressing issues as they crop up. But you may be able to save some time and trouble by using PAExec, which can launch programs on remote PCs, and (if they’re console applications) redirect their output back to your own system.

Enter a command like  PAExec \\{SystemName} -s cmd.exe, for instance, and PAExec will connect to the specified system and open a command prompt there. You’ll then be able to enter regular Windows commands to find out more about the issue, they’ll be executed on the SystemName computer, and you’ll see the results on your own PC.

What if you need to launch some program that isn’t on the remote system? PAExec can handle that, too. Use the command  PAExec \\{SystemName} -u {username} -p {password} -i -c MyApp.exe  and it’ll connect to the specified computer, copy MyApp.exe there, and run it in the user account you specify.

If you’re thinking this sounds like Sysinternals PsExec, then you’re right -- PAExec is just a clone of that program, with some useful extensions. It may be freely distributed, for instance; it scrambles sensitive details such as user names and passwords for a little extra security; and it adds a few additional options, including the ability to save your PAExec session to a log file. Otherwise it supports all the same command line switches, though, so if you’re familiar with PsExec than you should be able to use PAExec right away.

Of course both programs have a few requirements for them to work properly. You’ll need to have file and printer sharing enabled on the local and remote systems, for instance. And the remote computer should have the default Admin$ share defined (see this blog post for an example of setting this up on Windows 7).

Once everything is configured, though, PAExec can be a real time-saver which makes it easy to run quick commands on any of your networked systems.

Photo Credit: Vladru/shutterstock

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