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How to open Command Prompt in Windows 10

William Antonelli   

How to open Command Prompt in Windows 10
Tech3 min read
It only takes a few clicks to open a Command Prompt window.     Carlina Teteris/Getty Images
  • You can open Command Prompt by right-clicking the Start icon.
  • Other ways to open Command Prompt include through the Start Menu and desktop search.
  • The most recent versions of Windows 10 have replaced Command Prompt with "PowerShell," but you can still use Command Prompt.

If you've ever done any sort of coding, you're familiar with the Command Prompt. The Command Prompt is an app installed on all Windows computers that lets you manage the computer using text commands.

But unlike other apps, the Command Prompt isn't always easy to find. Here's how to open Command Prompt on your PC, no matter which version of Windows 10 you have.

How to open Command Prompt in Windows 10

There are three main ways to access Command Prompt. Using the Power User Menu shortcut is the fastest method for most people.

Power User Menu

The Windows 10 Power Users Menu, with the two Command Prompt options highlighted.
This list of options is called the Power Users Menu.      William Antonelli/Insider

The quickest way to open a Command Prompt window is through the Power User Menu, which you can access by right-clicking the Windows icon in the bottom-left corner of your screen, or with the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + X.

It'll appear in the menu twice: Command Prompt and Command Prompt (Admin). The second option will open an "elevated" Command Prompt, which gives you administrator privileges, which are required for some commands. In nearly all cases, it's better to use the elevated Command Prompt - it can do everything that the normal Command Prompt can and more.

Note: In newer versions of Windows, Command Prompt has been replaced with Windows PowerShell. If you still want access to Command Prompt, check out our step-by-step instructions below.

Windows Search

The search results for "Command Prompt" in Windows 10.
Command Prompt will appear in the results right away.      William Antonelli/Insider
You can also simply search for Command Prompt using Windows' normal search feature. Click the Start button and type in Command Prompt, and then select it from the list when it appears.

If you right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator or click it in the results, you'll open an elevated Command Prompt.

Quick tip: The Command Prompt is sometimes referred to as "cmd prompt," or simply "cmd." When searching for Command Prompt, you can also just search for "cmd."

Start Menu

The "Windows System" folder in Windows 10, with the Command Prompt option highlighted.
You'll find Command Prompt in the Windows System folder.      William Antonelli/Insider

You can also open Command Prompt by navigating through the Start menu.

To open Command Prompt through the Start menu, click the Windows icon and then scroll down to find the Windows System folder. Open the folder and click or right-click Command Prompt to open it.

How to switch from PowerShell to Command Prompt

Windows PowerShell is a newer program that's similar to Command Prompt. And in some versions of Windows 10, it replaces Command Prompt in the menus you'd usually use to open it.

There's nothing wrong with PowerShell - it can do pretty much anything that the Command Prompt can do - but if you're used to using Command Prompt, it's easy to switch back.

1. Press the Windows Key + I to open the Settings app, and then select Personalization.

The Windows 10 Settings app, with the "Personalization" option highlighted.
Open the Personalization section of the Settings app.      William Antonelli/Insider

2. Click the Taskbar option in the left sidebar.

3. On the page that appears, head down to the Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell option and click its slider so it turns Off.

The Windows 10 Taskbar Personalization menu, with the option to disable PowerShell highlighted.
Turn off the PowerShell option.      William Antonelli/Insider
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