The Windows Command Prompt has been there since the inception of the OS itself. It was initially released in December 1987 and was co-developed by Microsoft, IBM, and ReactOS contributors. The Command Prompt is a command-line interface that allows users to execute commands to perform tasks faster, automate tasks, troubleshoot specific problems, and so on. In this tutorial, we’ll check out all possible ways and shortcuts to open the Command Prompt in Windows 10 and 11. Most of these methods also work on older versions such as Windows 7 and 8.
The Command Prompt is no more the default shell utility. Windows PowerShell has now replaced the good old CMD with the Windows 10 build 14791 update. Being an upgraded version of the CMD, PowerShell has all the functionality of its predecessor but it also has system administration functionality. Do not forget to check out these 17 ways to open PowerShell in Windows 10 and 11.
Finally, let’s check out the ways you can open the Command Prompt in Windows 1o, 11, and most of the older versions of the OS.
1. Open Command Prompt through the Power User Menu
This method is probably the only way to open the Command Prompt in Windows 10 using a shortcut key. You must be familiar with the Power User Menu in Windows. It’s present on all versions of the operating system. It’s also known as the WinX menu because you can access it by using the Windows + X keyboard shortcut. You can also get to this menu by right-clicking the Start or Windows icon located on the bottom left corner of your PC’s screen.
When the Power User menu pops up, just click the Command Prompt or Command Prompt (Admin) option.
Replace PowerShell with Command Prompt
If you see PowerShell in Windows Power User Menu in place of CMD, you can easily make the Command Prompt to replace PowerShell by following the steps given below.
- Click Start (Windows icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen) and click the Settings icon.
- Click Personalization. You can directly open the personalization settings by performing a right-click with your mouse on the desktop screen.
- Now click Taskbar on the left panel.
- On the right panel, click the toggle button below ‘Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right-click the start button or press Windows key + X‘.
Done! You can now access the Command Prompt from the Power User Menu on Windows 10 or 11.
2. Open Command Prompt from Start Menu
You can also open the Command Prompt in Windows 10 or 11 right from the Start Menu. Just click on the Start icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen. Scroll down to a folder called ‘Windows System‘. Now click Command Prompt to launch it. On a Windows 11 PC, you can find the Command Prompt program under the Windows Tools shortcut in the Start Menu.
3. Open Command Prompt from Context Menu
Well, this is not a direct way to open the Command Prompt as the ones mentioned above as it requires extra effort to add an item to the context menu. However, you can easily customize the Context Menu on your Windows PC to add the Command Prompt shortcut to it. Once you do that, you can easily access it quickly right from the context menu itself.
You can add the Command Prompt to the context menu using the Registry Editor or Windows content menu editors like Easy Context Menu, Nirsoft Context Menu Editor, Context Menu Tuner, etc.
4. Pin Command Prompt to the Windows Taskbar
Another way to quickly open the Command Prompt in Windows 11 and 10 is to pin the shell program to the Taskbar. Just click the Start menu icon, navigate to a folder called ‘Windows System‘ and click on it. Now right-click Command Prompt, click More, and select the Pin to Taskbar option as shown below. The Command Prompt shortcut will be added to the Windows Taskbar. You can now open the Command Prompt the quickest way possible.
5. Open Command Prompt using Windows Terminal
Windows 11 comes with an in-built app called Windows Terminal. It’s a powerful hub of command-line tools like Command Prompt, PowerShell, and Azure Cloud Shell. If you are a Windows 10 user, you can download and install Windows Terminal from the Microsoft Store. When you launch the Terminal app, it will load PowerShell by default. However, you can easily open the Command Prompt in a new tab. Just click the reversed or downward-pointing caret (∨) icon and select Command Prompt to launch it. Alternatively, you can also use Ctrl + Shift + 2 keyboard shortcut to open the Command Prompt in the Terminal.
Don’t forget to check out these 250 Windows keyboard shortcuts to use Windows 10 or 11 like a pro.
The Windows Terminal app also adds a shortcut in the Context Menu using which you can launch PowerShell and Command Prompt whenever you want.
6. Open Command Prompt from Search
Windows has dedicated search functionality that can be launched right from the Taskbar and, on some OS versions, from the Start Menu. You can search the apps and files available on your system. Being a program, the Command Prompt can also be found using the Windows Search bar. Just click the Search icon or search bar and type “Command Prompt“. Just click the Command Prompt app in the search results, or click Open below the app on the right pane.
7. Open Command Prompt using Voice Command
Windows has a digital virtual assistant app called Cortana that can perform various tasks at your voice command. You can make Cortana digital assistant launch apps using voice commands. Cortana is available on all Windows 10 and 11 PCs and you can access it right from your Taskbar and Start Menu. Just launch the Cortana app, click the microphone icon in the bottom-right corner of the app window, and say “open command prompt“. Cortana will instantly open the Command Prompt for you.
8. Open Command Prompt from cmd.exe
The executable files (.exe) for all the apps installed on your Windows PC are saved on the C Drive. Depending on your Windows OS version, you can find the cmd.exe by navigating to one of the following paths.
Just double-click the ‘cmd.exe‘ file or right-click the file and choose ‘Run as administrator‘ to open the Command Prompt.
9. Launch Command Window from File Explorer Address Bar
While navigating to the Windows\System32 folder might be a bit time-consuming, there is an easier way to open the Command Prompt in Windows 11, 10, or older. Open File Explorer on your PC, click inside the address bar, type “cmd” and hit the Enter key to launch the Command Prompt.
10. Open Command Prompt from File Explorer Menu
There is another way to launch the Command Prompt in File Explorer with the folder path. Open a folder window, click File > Open Command Prompt or Open Command Prompt as Administrator.
11. Open Command Prompt from Command Prompt
This method might sound useless but it is not. Suppose you are already using the Command Prompt for some job and need another instance of the shell for some other task, you can open another Command Prompt window by executing
start cmd.exe command. Doing so will open another CMD window.
12. Open Command Prompt from PowerShell
In the same way, you can open the Command Prompt from Windows PowerShell as well. Just type
start cmd.exe in the PowerShell window, and hit the Enter key.
13. Open Command Prompt via the Run Box
The Run app in Windows is a versatile tool that can open a program, document, folders, etc. on your computer. You can also open the Command Prompt using the Run app. Just launch Run by pressing Windows + R keyboard shortcut. Type “cmd” in the text box and click OK or just press the Enter key.
14. Open Command Prompt from Task Manager
You can also open the Command Prompt on your Windows PC from the Task Manager. Use the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keyboard shortcut to launch Task Manager. You can also do that by pressing Alt + Ctrl + Delete and selecting Task Manager. Make sure you’ve selected More details from the bottom-left corner of the Task Manager window. Click on File > Run new task.
Then type “cmd” in the text box of the Create New Task pop-up window and click OK. Don’t forget to select the “Create this task with administrative privileges” option if you want to open Command Prompt as an administrator.
15. Open CMD from Task Manager with Admin Privileges
You can also launch CMD from the Task Manager by holding the Ctrl key while clicking the Run new task option in the File menu. This method opens the Command Prompt with administrative privileges.
16. Open Command Prompt from a Folder’s Context Menu
You can also launch the Command prompt with a file or folder path in Windows. Open the folder where you want to launch the CMD window, place the mouse pointer at an empty space inside the folder window and then press the Shift key + right-click. When the Context Menu pops up, select Open command window here.
17. Create a Command Prompt Shortcut on the Desktop
Another way to open the Command Prompt window quickly is to create a shortcut to the program on your desktop. Perform a right-click action and choose New > Shortcut from the Context Menu. Click Browse, navigate to
C:\Windows\SysWOW64, choose cmd.exe. and click OK.
After that, give a name to the shortcut and click Finish.
If you want the Command Prompt shortcut to open the shell in Admin mode, right-click on the shortcut icon, select Properties > Advanced, select Run as administrator, and click OK.
You can also create a Command Prompt shortcut simply by dragging Command Prompt to your computer’s desktop from Start Menu > Windows System.
18. Open Command Prompt from Microsoft Edge
Open Microsoft Edge and type or paste the file path or location of the cmd.exe (as shown below) in the URL box.
Then press the Enter key. You will see a dialog box below the Downloads icon of the web browser. Click the Open file option to open the Command Prompt.
I think I have listed all the know ways to open the Command Prompt in Windows 11, 10, and older versions of the OS. In case you think I have missed any methods that should have been mentioned in this article, please let me know via your valuable feedback.
Do not forget to check out our guide if the Command Prompt is not recognizing commands.
Read Next: 10 Useful Windows Command Prompt Tricks