How to Open the Command Prompt on Windows 10


Don’t worry—Microsoft did not kill cmd.exe. Here’s how you can use Command Prompt instead of PowerShell in Windows 10.

Ten years ago Microsoft introduced PowerShell, a modern command line environment with advanced functionality far above and beyond the tried and true Command Prompt. For many users and developers, this was seen as the beginning of the demise of the classic Command Prompt, which has been part of Windows since the initial release of NT. Surprisingly, for the past ten years, the Command Prompt has survived in Windows; though there have been many a rumor that Microsft would be nixing it in the upcoming Creators Update.

In a blog post, Microsoft stated that the rumors of Command Prompt’s death have been greatly exaggerated; Command Prompt will still be available in the Creators Update. Although PowerShell is the default command line utility in Windows 10 Creators Update, users can still revert to Command Prompt as the default or launch it just as they normally do in current Windows versions. Let’s take a look at how to do that.

How to Bring Command Prompt Back in Windows 10

Since Windows 8, a favorite way to launch Command Prompt is from the Power User Menu (Windows key + X). Usually, this displays an option to run the Command Prompt or Command Prompt (Admin) option.

Launch Command Prompt Windows 10

You can quickly change the default by opening Settings > Personalization > Taskbar. Toggle off Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right-click the start button or press Windows key + X. When you launch the power user menu, you will now see your trusty old Command Prompt menu.

Settings Taskbar

Other Options to Launch Command Prompt on Windows 10

If you prefer having the best of both worlds, you can keep Powershell as the default and launch Command Prompt from the search or run command. Press the Windows key, type: cmd, and press Control + Shift + Enter.

Click Start, type: cmd, and press Control + Shift + Enter ( and right-click Command Prompt and then click Run as administrator) if needed.

run command prompt as administrator

The Run dialog is another fast way to launch the Command Prompt. Press Windows key + R then type cmd and press Enter.

cmd run dialog

There are unconventional ways you can launch Command Prompt too. Press Windows key + X > Task Manager. Once Task Manager opens, click File > Run new task, type: cmd then hit Enter. If you need to open it with administrator privileges, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking Run new task.

create new task from task manager

From within File Explorer, you can type cmd in the Address Bar then hit Enter.

cmd from file explorer address bar

If you want to open a specific folder directly in the Command Prompt, hold down the Shift key, right-click the folder then click Open command window here.

open command window here

Alternatively, you can select a file or folder, then click File > Open Command Prompt.

Open command prompt as administrator

If you prefer the old methodical way of opening the Command Prompt, it’s still there. Click Start > All Apps > Windows System > Command Prompt.

command prompt start menu

You can also drag and drop the Command Prompt icon to your desktop from the Windows System folder. Right-click it, click Properties > select the Shortcut tab, click Advanced, check the Run as administrator box, click OK, click Apply and OK again to confirm changes.

advanced properties

You can then drag and drop Command Prompt to your Taskbar for even quicker access with administrator privileges.

pin command prompt windows 10 taskbar



  1. bromberg

    January 15, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    PowerShell seems intended for Sys Admin folks but does anyone have examples how PowerShell may be useful for home users as well?

    • Andre Da Costa

      January 16, 2017 at 6:10 am

      Hang tight, we are working on an article just for that! :)

  2. bromberg

    January 16, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Cool! Never seen any documentation on PowerShell for the home-user so this will be a rare but welcome article.

  3. petronellius

    April 12, 2017 at 1:18 am

    After installing Creators update I cannot see “Open command prompt” options in File Explorer. Is it possible to enable it somehow? Also “Open command prompt” option in Quick Access is disabled now.

  4. dan

    April 12, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Any update on your “PowerShell for the Home User” article (as stated in your previous comment)?

    • Andre Da Costa

      May 24, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      Its coming, we just have a backlog of articles we would like to get up first. Is there anything in particular you would like to see?

  5. dan

    May 24, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Nothing in particular other than what commands a home user might user that DOS doesn’t already offer. I once contacted an author of a PowerShell book and he replied that it is definitely not meant for a home user so I’d love to see you prove him wrong!


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