Stupid Command Prompt Tricks

Windows XP isn't known for its powerful command line interface. Still, one of the first things I do on any fresh Windows install is set up the "Open Command Window Here" right click menu. And hoary old cmd.exe does have a few tricks up its sleeve that you may not know about.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

This is a great. I love cmd and this has really made it even better. There’s another shell replacement you may like called cmdow (
One question, do you know how to make the TITLE persistent? I’ll dig around a bit.

Looks like I wasn’t using the cmd prompt to its fullest potential. Thanks for the tips, Jeff.

I must admin, I too have the command console setup with green on black.
As it reminds me of my old WYSE PC, with it’s green monocrome monitor, where I spent much time writing commands in DOS.

Good tips, I added the ‘Discard Old Duplicates’ to my cmd settings. I didn’t notice that before.

At work I have four non-overlapping command prompt windows at fixed locations on the screen, effectively covering the whole monitor. Then I use the autohotkey utility to navigate between them using CTRL-1, CTRL-2, 3, 4. So I have my main compile/edit window at the upper left, a run window on the lower left, a spare ‘utility’ window on the upper right, and a miscelaneous one on the lower right. It also to helps to user a smaller font to get more text displayed in a limited space. After you get used to it, you can’t live without 'em!

Here’s how to add OTHER True Type fonts apart from Lucida console

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Notice that the correct registry path seems to be:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Microsoft/Windows NT/Console/TrueTypeFont

(at least it was for me)


Is there a way to set the buffer height during invocation?

FYI, XP Pro Service Pack 2 had it in a different location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Console\TrueTypeFont\

hey can you follow up on hawks5999’s question on how to make the title persistant. It would be a big help! Thanks your neighborhood pyro freak

Thanks, this is fantastic it has improved my usage of the cmd line. I’m still searching for a kde konsole like tabbed interface if anyone knows of one.

Easy way to have a personalized Title:
On the desktop (or wherever you feel like), create a new Shortcut that leads to the command promt. Name it whatever you like,and thats what you get for Title every time you use that.

I’ve used “Nihongo Yet Another OSes Shell” for OS/2 for years. They also have DOS/win9x AND WinNT/2K/XP versions. Open Source. Highly configurable…

I have a new XP laptop to replace my old one. For some reason, I can’t use the up arrow to scroll through previous commands. I’ve been searching for a way to turn that on. Can you help with that.

Good stuff here. I’ll have to try this on my home computer. I’m in computer class right now at my school and i got cmd running out of boredom (even though technically it’s blocked from running on this computer i got the admin password and yea…)so thanks ^^

I found some interesting tips here, but have come across a puzzle when using the command prompt.

If I execute any of the old DOS commands, it changes the current prompt with long directory names to use only short mangled directory names.

Any ideas on how to restore the long filenames

Norman, sometimes I see windows XP machines where command completion is disabled. Here’s how to enable it:

Also, try checking the help for CMD, eg:

c:CMD /?

… it’s actually very informative.

you guys have any idea where is the list of programs which run when executing cmd.exe located? every time I type “cmd.exe” I get an error aboute some obscure dll file which even google does not know…

My “dir” command doesn’t work. I’m running XP. This is at work. I’ve had people tell me it’s in my “rights”. Where are those and how do I change them? Any help with this would be great.


How do we change what sub directory the command prompts goes to when first opened.


Check out here:

Plenty of good ideas