Using Windows command prompt - with examples (CMD commands)

Using Windows command prompt – with examples (CMD commands)

The Windows command prompt is often called cmd.exe or just CMD. In our article you will learn what the CMD is, how to open it and with a visual example what you can do with it. This article is suitable for you if you want to have your first experience with Windows Command Prompt.

What is the Windows Command Prompt or cmd.exe?

Windows Command Prompt or cmd.exe is a console application, which means that it is not operated with the mouse, but in a command line using keyboard input of CMD commands. It has no graphical user interface. The console application cmd.exe can be run with a Windows operating system. It should be noted that not every version of Windows can necessarily use the same CMD commands as older or newer versions of Windows. For our article, we will use the Windows 10 operating system.

There is no difference between the Windows Command Prompt and cmd.exe. On the other hand, Windows PowerShell differs from Command Prompt in some functions and commands, which may be relevant for programmers and IT specialists, but they are basically the same thing, just not technically. Command Prompt is so named because the shortcut, which is a copy of cmd.exe, is so titled. It’s simply meant to make accessing Command Prompt “easier”. Finally, the app makes sure that you can visually find the Command Prompt app when you search for it.

What is the Windows command prompt or cmd.exe used for?

The command prompt is used to enter system commands and have them executed by the operating system. You do not need your computer mouse to use it. You can use the different commands in cmd.exe to perform different actions. From displaying and adjusting the time, to data processing, there is a lot you can do. However, some functions are only available to administrators.

How to open the command prompt in Windows?

The command prompt can be found via the search bar. Just type “Command Prompt” into the search field.

Picture 1 - Using Windows command prompt

If you select it, the command prompt will open and it will look like this:

How to open cmd.exe with a keyboard shortcut?

To open cmd.exe, type [Windows] and [R] at the same time. A window will open.

Picture 3 - Using Windows command prompt

Type “cmd” with your keyboard and click [Enter]. cmd.exe will open.

Picture 4 - Using Windows command prompt

You can see from the highlighted areas that the console and the console program each have a different title.

Example for the command prompt or cmd.exe

For this post & for quick success I thought we’d look at cmd.exe first, because at least to me it’s just fun and easy to explain. With the cmd-command color and two other characters, you can change the background and the font color of your console. You can choose from 16 colors. From black to purple to white, you have a lot of possibilities.

Change the color of the console – Select color

First you choose the desired color from the table. The first character changes the color of the background. The second character changes the font color.

  • 0 = Black
  • 1 = Blue
  • 2 = Green
  • 3 = Turquoise
  • 4 = Red
  • 5 = Purple
  • 6 = Yellow
  • 7 = Light grey
  • 8 = Grey
  • 9 = Light blue
  • A = Light green
  • B = Light turquoise
  • C = Light red
  • D = Light purple
  • E = Light yellow
  • F = White
  • 0 = Black
  • 1 = Blue
  • 2 = Green
  • 3 = Turquoise
  • 4 = Red
  • 5 = Purple
  • 6 = Yellow
  • 7 = Light grey
  • 8 = Grey
  • 9 = Light blue
  • A = Light green
  • B = Light turquoise
  • C = Light red
  • D = Light purple
  • E = Light yellow
  • F = White
  • 0 = Black
  • 1 = Blue
  • 2 = Green
  • 3 = Turquoise
  • 4 = Red
  • 5 = Purple
  • 6 = Yellow
  • 7 = Light grey
  • 8 = Grey
  • 9 = Light blue
  • A = Light green
  • B = Light turquoise
  • C = Light red
  • D = Light purple
  • E = Light yellow
  • F = White
  • 0 = Black
  • 1 = Blue
  • 2 = Green
  • 3 = Turquoise
  • 4 = Red
  • 5 = Purple
  • 6 = Yellow
  • 7 = Light grey
  • 8 = Grey
  • 9 = Light blue
  • A = Light green
  • B = Light turquoise
  • C = Light red
  • D = Light purple
  • E = Light yellow
  • F = White

In our example we will use a light gray background and additionally change the font color to green. The command for this is “color 72”. If you type this in the command prompt or cmd.exe, then you do not use the quotation marks. It is also important to know that the commands are not upper and lower case sensitive.

Picture 5 - Using Windows command prompt

Change the color of the console – confirm your input

To confirm your input, press [Enter] on your keyboard. Then the result will look like this:

Picture 6 - Using Windows command prompt

Conclusion

After a short introduction to the Windows command prompt or cmd.exe, it does not seem difficult to use the console. Here one can calmly say “appearances are deceptive”. Almost everything can be done via the command prompt, but not all commands are understandable or recommendable for beginners. In some cases, for example, there are no queries as to whether a command should really be executed. So the typical message in the sense of “Hey, only do this if you know what you are doing, are you sure?” does not exist.

Picture 7 - Using Windows command prompt

But don’t worry, in the next post I will show you how to navigate through folders, run applications or download files and other commands useful in everyday life. Have fun!

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