Tip & How-To about Dell Computers & Internet

Windows command prompt tricks

While talking about the 15 amazing Run Box commands the other day, I mentioned how both Run Box and Command Prompt are treated as a bit nerdy. Well, one might work on Windows without even touching the Run box but you cannot run away from Command Prompt (cmd). No matter how good Windows may evolve on the GUI front, Command Prompt (or more accurately, the Command Line ) was how it all began.
So here are some great tips you can use to make yourself comfortable while working with the Command Prompt. First things first, the shortcut for Command Prompt is cmd and that's all you need to type in the Run box or the Start search in order to bring it up. Now on to the cool tricks, which might be known ones for the geeky ones among you, but on the other hand, have the potential to incite the a-ha moment for many other everyday computer users among you.
Let's roll, shall we?

1. Open Command Prompt in a Folder

When you open the command prompt, it opens up in either User or System folder depending upon whether you ran it as administrator or not. Now the thing is, if you want to execute a file in any particular folder, you would have to use the change directory(cd) command to navigate to the folder which can be a problem if the directory is nested way too deep.
To ease things you can open the folder in your Windows Explorer, hold Shift key when you right-click in the folder and select Run command window here to directly open the CMD prompt with the path to that folder directly.

2. Enable QuickEdit for Easy Copy/Paste

One thing I miss the most in Command Prompt is the ability to easily copy and paste text using the conventional Windows hotkeys. Normally, one would have to use the right-click context menu options to copy and paste text, but if you enable QuickEdit, you can do them using simple shortcuts.
To enable the QuickEdit mode, right-click on the Command Prompt Title Bar and select Properties. In the Properties Window under the Option Tab enable QuickEdit Mode. That's all; you can now quickly select text by dragging your mouse pointer. Pressing the enter key on the selected text will copy the text to the clipboard, and a simple left click would be enough to paste the text.

3. Run Command Prompt as Admin

Many commands require you to run command prompt as administrator. When you search for CMD in Start Menu, other than selecting Run as administrator from the right-click menu, you can simply press Ctrl+Shift+Enter to open it with admin privileges. This trick will work for all the programs installed on your system.

4. See Command History

You can see last used commands in a session using the navigation buttons, but if you would like to see a list of all the commands, you can get it by pressing the F7 button.
Alternatively, you can use the command doskey /history to list these commands in the command prompt itself.

5. Change Command Prompt Looks

Are you bored with the conventional black-and-white looks of the command prompt and would like to paint it different? We have already covered a guide on how you can customize your command prompt which you can refer to make the changes.

6. Copy Commands Output to Clipboard Directly

Sometimes one might want to copy the output from a command to clipboard, like at times when you get an error, and you want to paste the exact error in email or while chatting with someone.
To store a command output to a clipboard add the command ' clip at the end of the command. For e.g. Dir /p ' clip

7. Drag and Drop Files to Change Path

If you are already in command prompt, and you want to copy the exact path to a folder or file to run the file or change the present working directory, you can simply drag and drop the file or the folder on the command prompt.
The path of the dropped file or folder will show up in quotes.

8. Run Commands Simultaneously

You can put && between two commands and execute them one after another. The command on the left will execute first followed by the command on the right of the double ampersand.

9. Get Help for Command

Well let's say you know about a command, but you are not sure how it works. Not a problem, all you need to do is suffix the command with /? and execute it. If the command is valid, the command prompt will give you all the information related to it.

10. Watch Star Wars in ASCII

For all my nerdy friends who are diehard fans of Star Wars, you can actually watch the Star Wars Episode IV movie in the command prompt. Though it would be in ASCII, it will be fun. To start the movie, open command prompt, type in telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl. and press enter. Don't forget the popcorns though
Bonus Tips: Also check how to find computer name using Command Prompt and the IP Address of a domain using a particular command.


I am sure these tricks will make you a little more comfortable with the Windows Command Prompt. If you are one of our more tech savvy readers who has been relying on the Command Prompt for years, why not share some cool tricks that you've got up your sleeve? Chip in with your comments!

Posted by on

Computers & Internet Logo

Related Topics:

Related Questions:

2 Answers

windows not genuine notification

Windows 7 not genuine notification using command propt How to make Windows 7 genuine using Command Prompt

Press Windows key + R
Now "run" box will appear , in "run" box type CMD
Click on OK
Note : Run CMD as Administrator

Now command prompt will appear

In command prompt type SLMGR -REARM
Hit Enter.

Wait 5-10 seconds

Now a message will appear as shown in image below.


Done !!!
Now your Windows 7 is genuine .. :D

Restart your PC once. Hereafter you won't see the warning message that "Windows 7 is not genuine"

Apr 05, 2014 | Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit Full...

1 Answer

my microsoft power point need a product key

You can extend your office if u don't have product key

1. Go to Start > All Program > Accessories and right click on "Command Prompt" then click on"Run as administrator". Alternatively you can run Command Prompt as administrator by typing"cmd" in the start menu search box and pressing Shift + Ctrl + Enter.

Then, Go to

C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform\OSPPREARM.EXE (copy path)

And (paste) in command prompt

So type the above full path of the tool OSPPREARM.exe in the command prompt and hit enter. Your command should look like

"C:\Program Files\Common Files\microsoft shared\OfficeSoftwareProtectionPlatform\OSPPREARM.exe"

You are done! But remind that you can apply this trick only for five times. If you run the above command for the sixth time you will get an error message like this


It is recommended to wait until you only have only 1 day to activate left before doing this to make the most out of the 6 times you have to use this rearm option. If you use this command after done 30 days/expire day your office will not be genuine so use this before expiry day/30days...

Jun 29, 2011 | Microsoft Office PowerPoint Home and...

1 Answer

cannot play games (example big fish games) after being downloaded to my pc. I get this message d3derr_notavailable

Your graphics card most likely doesn't support Direct 3D. You can test using the following command in a cmd prompt window dxdiag

In XP click start/run and type cmd in the run box to open a command prompt window.

In Vista/Win7 to open the command prompt, either go through the start menu - click start, All Programs, Accessories, then click on Command Prompt or in the run box type: cmd .

Dec 19, 2010 | Computers & Internet

2 Answers

no updates just error 646


This problem usually occurs with vista operating system.

Try the following steps to install the update successfully.

Stop the services pertaining to Windows Update.

1. Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and select Run as Administrator.
2. If you receive a notification from User Account Control simply click Continue.
3. At the command prompt, type the following commands and then press ENTER after each command.
net stop wuauserv
net stop bits
net stop cryptsvc
4. Please do not close the Command Prompt window.

Rename folders pertaining to Windows Update

At the command prompt, type the following commands and then press Enter after each command:
ren %systemroot%System32Catroot2 Catroot2.old
ren %systemroot%SoftwareDistribution SoftwareDistribution.old

Start services pertaining to Windows Update.
net start wuauserv
net start bits
net start cryptsvc
Close the Command Prompt window.

Download the standalone package file of the update “KB967043” and install it.

Visit the following link to download the update: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=628280fe-e035-4274-85f2-393d9bad543c&displaylang=en
Restart the computer once the update is installed.
Hope this solves your problem

Dec 17, 2009 | Microsoft Computers & Internet

Not finding what you are looking for?

683 people viewed this tip

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Dell Computers & Internet Experts

Les Dickinson
Les Dickinson

Level 3 Expert

18394 Answers

Doctor PC
Doctor PC

Level 3 Expert

7733 Answers

mukhtar21 shaikh
mukhtar21 shaikh

Level 3 Expert

2017 Answers

Are you a Dell Computer and Internet Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions