When you have such an attractive interface, using Command Prompt might seem like a old fashioned thing. When you can easily navigate to a location or access different settings in your PC customize them, why go for complex commands and a dull interface? Well, it might not be as bad as one might think. Command Prompt might be a bit complex, but it makes all the manual tweaking just a single command’s work. The current users of Command Prompt understand how powerful it is, which is why they don’t mind learning few tricks or commands to take care of daily work in a snap. So learning at least basics of Command Prompt is worth saving few seconds of extra work everyday.
We have created this list of Command Prompt commands and tricks that may help you work better. Whether you just started using Command Prompt or you are a regular user, you should be able to find a trick to ease things up a bit.
Update: If you want the latest Command Prompt tricks, you can also check out our fresh post on cool Command Prompt tricks (Part 2).
Some Useful Command Prompt Tricks
1. Get help on almost every Command
This is especially helpful for beginners, but advanced users may get to learn few things too. You can easily get info on almost every command you provide in the Command Prompt. Information includes complete details of what a command does and what process are used, it may also show some examples.
To get the help, just type “/?” at the end of the command of which you need info. For example, you can type “ipconfig/?”, and you will get all the info.
2. Use Function Keys
You can use function keys (F1, F2, F3, etc.) right inside command prompt and get different results. Below are the uses of functions keys in Command Prompt:
- F1: Pastes per character last used command
- F2: Pastes last used command only to a specified command character
- F3: Pastes Last used command
- F4: Delete command only to a specified command character
- F5: Pastes last used command without cycling
- F6: Pastes ^Z
- F7: Provides a list of already used commands (selectable)
- F:8 Pastes cycleable used commands
- F9: Will let you paste command from the list of recently used commands
3. Save a Command to a File
If you want to save results of a command to a .txt for future reference, then it is quite easy as well. All you need to do is add “> (destination/file name with .txt extension)” at the end of the command you are about to execute.
For example, you can type “ipconfig > c:\Networkdetails.txt”, this command will create a .txt file in C drive with name “Networkdetails”.
4. Copy Data from the Command Prompt
Copying data from the Command Prompt isn’t just a Ctrl+C away, the process is actually different. It is not that hard, just right click anywhere in the window and click on “Mark” from the menu. After that, just select the text you want to copy and hit Enter to copy it.
Important Note: With Windows 10, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V commands to copy/paste has been enabled in Command Prompt. So you don’t need to follow the above process, if you are using Windows 10. Also, In Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts for CMD are enabled by default which wasn’t the case with earlier version of Windows.
5. Cycle Through Folders
Specifying exact directories can be a bit frustrating task if you don’t have the destination copied. However, if you just know in which drive or folder the required folder is located, then you can cycle through all the folders to reach it. To do this, just type specified drive and start press TAB key on your keyboard to cycle through all the folders inside it.
6. Use QuickEdit Mode
Command Prompt comes with QuickEdit Mode to quickly copy and paste content with just your right-click. In QuickEdit mode, you can highlight content and right-click to copy it or right-click in a blank area to paste content from the clipboard (if there is any).
To enable QuickEdit Mode, right-click on the top of the Command Prompt interface (where exit button is located) and select “Properties”. In the properties, check the checkbox next to “QuickEdit Mode” to enable it (you will have to disable it later).
7. Check IP address of any Website
You can see IP address of any website just by entering “nslookup” command along with the name of the website. For example, you can type “nslookup beebom.com” to find its IP address.
8. Execute Multiple Commands
You can easily execute one command after another by provide all the commands and putting “&&” between each command (may save some time). For example, you can type “ipconfig && dir” to execute both commands one after another.
9. Check Default Programs
You can check which applications are used to open specific types of programs. For this purpose, just type “assoc” in the Command Prompt and hit enter. You will see all the extensions and their associated program that opens them written next to them.
10. Get PC Drivers List
You can open list of all the drivers installed on your PC with just a single command. Just type “driverquery” in the Command Prompt and press Enter. After a short delay, you will see all the drivers installed in your PC along with, Name, Type and Link date.
11. Scan System Files
The system files can also be scanned and repaired from the Command Prompt. Type “sfc/scannow” and press enter, the scan will start and may take quite some time depending on your PC speed (up to an hour may be). It will either automatically repair the files or let you know if there is a problem and provide its details.
12. Change Command Prompt Color
You can also change command prompt color to make it look less dull and a bit easy on the eyes. To do so, right-click at the top corners of Command Prompt and select “Properties” from the menu. In the properties, navigate to “Colors” tab and you will find all the options to change color of both text and background.
13. Create Undelete-able Folders
You can create undeletable folders using specific set of keywords. In the Command Prompt, type the name of the drive where you want to create the folder (it must not have Windows installed in it). After that, type any of these keywords “md con\” or “md lpt1\” and press Enter. So it should look something like this “D: md con\”.
This will create a folder with the same name that could not be deleted or renamed. To delete the folder replace “md con\” with “rd con\” or “md lpt1\” with “rd lpt1\”.
14. Get Network Details
You can get quick network details, like IP address and subnet mask or Default Gateway with a single command. Type “ipconfig” and press Enter, you will see all the details of your network.
15. Hide Files and Folders using Command Prompt
You can hide folder with the help of Command Prompt that cannot be accessed using the traditional hide feature of Windows. To do this, type the drive name where the folder is located and then enter this command “Attrib +h +s +r” and afterwards, enter the name of the file/folder you want to hide. So it should look something like this “D: Attrib +h +s +r haider”.
If the folder is inside another folder, then the command must come before the folder/file you want to hide not just after the Drive name. To again see the folder, use the same process above but change the command to “Attrib -h -s -r” from “Attrib +h +s +r”.
16. Compare Two Files
You can also compare two text files in command prompt and see the difference. The results won’t be as good as third-party available file comparison tools, but it is worth a shot and fun do!
All you need to do is type “FC” command and then enter directories of both text files (the files must be in .txt format for proper working). For example, you can type “fc C:\haider\sample1.txt C:\haider\sample2.txt” and hit enter to get comparison of both files with answer such as, files are different or both files are identical.
In the above example, “C:” is the drive where text file is located, “haider” is the name of the folder in which the text file in located and “Sample1.txt” is name of the text file. Both files can be located anywhere in your PC, you just need to provide the right directory.
If both the files have different content then running this command will show the different content and if both the files have exact same content, the command will return this message ‘no difference encountered’.
17. Watch Star Wars Episode IV
This is a really cool trick, although not productive, but fun to do. You can actually watch the famous Star Wars Episode IV right inside your Command prompt. It will be an ASCII version so don’t hope for a HD movie.
The process is simple, open Command Prompt and enter this command “telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl” and hit Enter. The movie will start automatically without any delay.
Note: Make sure Telnet is enabled in your PC, you can get information to install and enable Telnet from Microsoft website.
18. Create Wi-Fi Hotspot using Command Prompt
You don’t need any third-party apps to create a Wi-Fi hotspot to share your PCs internet, you can easily do so from the Command Prompt.
In the Command Prompt, enter the following command to enable Wi-Fi Hotspot.
“netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=Hotspotname key=password”
Once enabled, you can start the Wi-Fi hotspot by entering the command “netsh wlan start hostednetwork” or stop it by entering the command “netsh wlan stop hostednetwork“.
You will also need to share your internet connection to this hotspot for everyone to use. Go to “Network and Sharing” option from the “Control Panel” and then click on “Change adaptor settings” in the left panel.
Here, right click on the internet connection you are using and click on “Properties“. In the properties, go to sharing tab and check the option “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection” to share your internet connection.
Note: Using Administrator privileges for CMD is must to run this command otherwise it will show an error.
These CMD tricks will definitely help you understand Command Prompt in a better way. If you happen to know some other trick which is worthy of a mention in the post, let us know in comments section.