7 Ways to Open Command Prompt on Windows 11, 10, and earlier

If you’re a Windows user, you might have come across Command Prompt, one of the Windows’ Command Line utilities. While you might not use the app regularly, knowing how to open Command Prompt on Windows comes in handy to perform general troubleshooting, automation, or administrative functions.

Windows Command Prompt

However, Command Prompt is not easy to find even though it has resided in Windows for several years. In this article, we will show you 7 ways to open Command Prompt in Windows 11, 10, and earlier. Let’s begin with the most popular one.

Fun Fact: Command Prompt was launched back in 1987 as a part of Windows NT to run batch scripts. Ever since it had been the default command line interpreter for Windows before PowerShell took over.

1. Quickest Way to Open Command Prompt on Any Windows Version

This is the most widely used way to open Command Prompt in Windows. It doesn’t matter if you’re running on Windows 11, 10, or below, it works on all.

Step 1: Click on Start.

Windows Start Menu

Step 2: Type Command Prompt in the search bar.

Windows Start Search

Step 3: Now, click on ‘Run as administrator’ in the app options.

Windows Cmd Search

Step 4: Select Yes in the appearing prompt.

Windows Verification

That’s it. You will now see Command Prompt on your screen.

2. Use the Quick Access Menu to Open Command Prompt

This is yet another option to access Command Prompt. If you’re a Windows 11 user, you must follow a few extra steps to access the app. Here’s how you can do it on any Windows version.

For Windows 10 and Below

Step 1: Press Win + X to open the Quick Access Menu.

Windows Start Menu

Step 2: Click on Command Prompt (Admin).

Windows Quick Action Menu

You may see Windows PowerShell and Windows PowerShell (Admin) options too. 

Step 3: Select Yes on the appearing prompt.

Windows Verification

You’re in without any hassle.

For Windows 11

Step 1: Press Win + X to open the Quick Access Menu.

Step 2: Click on Windows Terminal (Admin).

Windows Terminal Search

Step 3: Select Yes in the prompt.

Windows Verification

Step 4: This is Windows’ new Terminal app (we have discussed it below in detail). Now, click on the drop-down arrow.

Windows Terminal Cmd

Want a shortcut to open Command Prompt? Press Ctrl + Shift + 2 here. This will directly open Command Prompt without following the further steps.

Step 5: Click on Command Prompt.

Windows Terminal Options

There you go.

3. Open Command Prompt Using the Run Command Dialog Box

If you’re an engineer or a student, this approach of opening Command Prompt will be helpful in your daily life. Again, a widely used method to open Command Prompt. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Press Win + R to open the Run command dialog box.

Run Command

Step 2: Type CMD (you can use lower or upper case).

Run Command Cmd

Note: Press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open Command Prompt (Admin). If you don’t want to open Command Prompt (Admin), click on OK and skip Step 3 to open Command Prompt.

Step 3: Click on Yes in the prompt.

Windows Verification

Tada! You’re in Command Prompt.

4. Use Task Manager to Launch Command Prompt in Windows

If you have been using Windows for some time, you might have used Task Manager. This nifty tool lets you Monitor your system performance, among other things. It also enables you to launch Command Prompt with a button.

Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.

Task Manager

Step 2: Go to the File tab (upper left corner) and Click on ‘Run a new task.’

Task Manager Run Task

Step 3: You will be greeted with the ‘Create new task’ window. Type CMD (you can use lower or upper case).

Task Manager CMD Task

Step 4: Check the ‘Create this task with administrative privileges’ option and press OK.

Task Manager CMD Task

Now, Command Prompt will open up. So, there you have it. If you can’t open Task Manager for some reason, check our guide on how to fix Task Manager not working on Windows 11 or Windows 10.

5. Open Command Prompt Using File Explorer’s Address Bar: Easiest

You might have located the file path using File Explorer in Windows. Still, not many know that it also helps in opening Command Prompt. In fact, it is one of the easiest and by far the most underrated ways of doing so. Let me show you how.

Step 1: Press Win + E to open File Explorer.

File Explorer

Step 2: Now, type CMD in the address bar (you can use lower or upper case).

File Explorer CMD Path

Step 3: Press Enter to open Command Prompt.

File Explorer CMd

Easy right? One thing you need to know about this way is that the Command Prompt that opens through this method is user-based, i.e., it is not opening as an administrator.

If you want to open Command Prompt as an administrator, you might need to use other ways mentioned in this article like the below one.

6. Use File Explorer to Open Command Prompt

This way of opening Command Prompt differs from the method mentioned above. We will be using the system’s application folder to open Command Prompt. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Press WIN + E to open File Explorer. 

Windows File Explorer

Step 2: Copy and paste C:\Windows\System32 to the address bar to go to the System 32 folder.

Windows File Explorer path System32

Step 3: Scroll down and right-click on the CMD.exe file.

Windows File Explorer CMD file

Step 4: Choose ‘Run as administrator.’

Windows File Explorer CMD RUN

That’s it! It may seem too much to handle the inclusion of address path location, but it is pretty simple.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of searching the CMD file under System 32, create a desktop shortcut and place it anywhere you prefer. Follow the next method to learn how to do it.

7. Use the Desktop Shortcut to Open Command Prompt

This method creates a Command Prompt shortcut on the desktop to make it easier to access. This is the last but highly effective method if you use the app daily.

Step 1:Right-click on the Desktop.

CMD Shortcut Right-Click

Step 2: Select New

CMD Shortcut Selection

Step 3: Select Shortcut.

CMD Shortcut Shortcut Selection

Step 4: Now, type CMD.exe (you can use lower or upper case) and click Next.

CMD Shortcut location file

Step 5: Give a shortcut name (ex: CMD Test) and click Finish.

CMD Shortcut File Name

A shortcut file will be created on your Desktop, which you can drag around to your preference. You need to double-click the shortcut to open Command Prompt.

Note: This shortcut will open Command Prompt as a user, not an Administrator.

CMD Shortcut Created

To run this Command Prompt shortcut as an administrator:

Step 1: Right-click on the shortcut file and click on Show more options.

CMD Shortcut File Right Click

Step 2: Now, choose Properties.

CMD Shortcut File Properties

Step 3: Click on the Advanced button.

CMD Shortcut File Advanced Properties Option

Step 4: Check the Run as administrator option and hit OK.

CMD Shortcut File Advanced Properties Admin

Step 5: Click on Apply and then OK in the Properties window.

CMD Shortcut File Advanced Apply Ok

Now, you just have to double-click on the shortcut file to open Command Prompt as an Administrator. Cool, right? Now that you know how to open the app, check out these brilliant Command Prompt tricks you can use.

Now, if you’re using Windows 10 or Windows 11, you’d find Command Prompt missing from the Power Users menu. Wondering how to access Command Prompt in such a case? Move on to the next section.

How to Change From Windows PowerShell to Command Prompt

Although there’s no significant difference between them, many still prefer Command Prompt over PowerShell. If you are one of those, don’t worry. We have you covered with the following easy steps.

Note: The steps differ for Windows 11 and Windows 10. I have explained both below.

For Windows 10

Step 1: Press the ‘Win + I’ to open the Windows Settings app.

Windows Settings

Step 2: Select Personalization.

Windows Settings

Step 3: Click on the Taskbar.

Windows Personalization

Step 4: Toggle off ‘Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell.’

Command Prompt to PowerShell Settings

That’s it! It is pretty straightforward. However, in Windows 11, things are slightly different but relatively simple. Let me help you.

For Windows 11

Microsoft added Windows Terminal as the default command line interface in Windows 11 which offers easy access to different Command Shells. However, it opens with PowerShell by default. Follow the below steps to change the default option and open Windows Terminal with Command Prompt.

Step 1: Right-click on the Windows Start button and click ‘Windows Terminal (Admin).’

Windows Quick Action

Step 2: Click on the drop-down option and select Settings.

Windows Terminal Drop Down

Step 3: Click on the drop-down next to the Default Profile option.

Windows Terminal Settings

Step 4: Now, select Command Prompt.

Windows Terminal CMD Option

Step 5: Lastly, click Save in the lower-right corner.

Windows Terminal Save

After this setup change, the next time you open Windows Terminal or add a new tab by clicking the plus (+) button, it will open your favorite command-line interface. If you want to switch back to PowerShell or Terminal, replace the Command Prompt search with your desired command-line application.

Access Command Prompt in Windows Easily

I hope this guide helped you in opening Command Prompt on Windows seamlessly. While you’re at it, you might want to check our article on how to use Function key shortcuts on Command Prompt to use it like a pro.

Please let us know which Windows operating system your machine is running and which method you prefer to open Command Prompt above in the comment section below.

Last updated on 19 August, 2022

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