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Finger \windows\system32\finger.exe

Display information about a user account.

To Open

Command Prompt finger


finger [-l] [user][@host]


The Finger client uses a standard protocol to retrieve publicly available information from any networked computer. Let’s say you want to find out about a username “Woodrow” on your own system; you would simply type:

finger woodrow

Finger accepts the following options:


The username you wish to query. Omit to list all the users currently logged in on the specified host.


The target machine containing the user account(s) you wish to query. Omit to query the local machine (localhost).


Displays information in a long list format

The finger protocol has been around for long time and is supported by all versions of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Unix, Solaris, and other platforms. The output from a Finger request varies widely (if you get a response at all); it depends on the operating system running on the specified host and the specific settings imposed by that machine’s administrator.

Finger, when it works, commonly retrieves a report that looks something like this:

Login: woodrow                            Name: Gordie Howe
Directory: /usr/local/home/woodrow        Shell: /bin/csh
Never logged in.
New mail received Mon Oct  1 23:35 2001 (PDT)
     Unread since Wed Nov 20 11:54 1996 (PDT)
No Plan.

Although most the information included in this simple report is self-evident, the last line makes mention of a plan. The plan is a text file to be shown when one’s account is fingered. It might contain contact information, office hours, personal statistics, or anything else the user wants. My plan file, for example, has several of my favorite quotes, including my favorite poem by Robert Creeley, “I Know a Man.”


  • The Finger daemon is the service responsible for responding to finger requests. This service is disabled by default, but can be enabled or otherwise configured using the services component of the Microsoft Management Console. Note that enabling the service on your computer may pose a security hazard, allowing outsiders to gain some information about one or more users on your system.

  • As more users and administrators become security savvy, you’ll find fewer occasions when a finger request actually gets a response. Typically, you’ll receive a “connection refused” message.

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