Ditch cmd.exe. It’s ugly, limited, has hardly been updated in 20 yrs, and is just a pain. If you ever use the command prompt, you owe it to yourself to get a much better shell. Take Command is awesome powerful. Far beyond other cmd.exe replacements. I’ve used it practically daily for 15+ yrs and love it.
btw, I’m in no way affiliated with Take Command, jpsoft, it’s author, etc. Just a Raving Fan.
What it’s Got
Here’s a sampling of what’s included:
- 140 additional commands
- 480 internal variable and functions
- tons of additional parameters on commands
- advanced tab completion
- fully supported copy/paste on prompt
- optional Windows Explorer like dockable UI
- works w FTP/HTTP the same as local files
- full cmd.exe parity
- huge help system (my fav feature)
- colored file listings
- 20x to 200x faster output than cmd.exe
- an active online support forum
- integrates w Ruby, Python, and Perl
- includes a batch file editing IDE and debugger
- has been active for over 20 years (started in 1989
- is regularly updated
- portable xcopy deployable, like on a USB stick
- and the list goes on….
Here’s showing off some of my favorite features…
Download now. TCC/LE is freeware. The full pro version has a trial period and is $100 for the (at the time of writing this) and upgrades are half the price. Best money I’ve every spent on software, hands down. I started with it over 15 yrs ago, back when Norton Utilities licensed the then 4DOS as NDOS and a DOS command.com replacement. The fantastic help system is what won me over. Been using it daily since.
Win+C to Open Command Prompt
I mention in the video using AutoHotkey to open a prompt with just Win+C. To do the same, just download AutoHotkey (free open-source Windows scripting app), create a hotkeys.ahk file, put a shortcut to that file into your Startup folder, and put this in the file. (of course replacing the path to your tcc.exe or tcmd.exe for the GUI)
; #=Win ^=Ctrl +=Shift !=Alt
#c:: Run c:\tools\tcmd\tcc.exe
PowerShell & Bash
I’m also a big fan of PowerShell and use it for using .NET library goodness. And I use bash in Ubuntu and in cygwin. But there a place, a major place, for having something quick and powerful to replace cmd.exe with that’s fully cmd.exe compatible. I find I can do more, faster w Take Command and am consistently finding new efficient ways to use the command prompt. I wouldn’t consider PowerShell & Bash ‘cmd.exe replacements’ like Take Command, as they are entirely different types of commanding environments.
There are many cmd.exe replacements available, like Console2, ConEmu, PowerCmd, PromptPal, even new attempts like Kickstarter project Wish (and probably more, cmd.exe is that bad). Many are buggy, have quirks that make them not quite perfectly cmd.exe compatible, or are not as actively maintained. It is hard, damn hard, to make a truly great command prompt. I’ve tried many of these, but Take Command continues to stand out as the best-in-class.
Lipstick on a Pig
Many of these (I checked ConEmu and Console) are shells around cmd.exe or other std in/out console apps. The provide a UI and on-the-prompt editing (like tabbing), but are actually redirecting standard input and output to the console app (like cmd.exe or PowerShell) underneath. This means they don’t actually give you any more commanding power in the way of additional commands, better parameters, etc. It’s lipstick on a pig, looks a little nicer but it’s still a pig under there. (update 11/12/2012: Thanks to Maximus for pointing out that many of these shells will work with any command environment under them. Text above updated.)
Since Take Command started as a command.com replacement in DOS (in 1989), its true power is in the intensely enhanced commanding prompt environment itself. As in additional commands, help, added parameters and command features, cmd.exe compatibility, etc. Most of the other console apps focus on adding a some nice UI around the prompt and REPL editing, but are still basically on the level cmd.exe in terms of actual command power. TC takes it way beyond.
p.s. Here’s my old review of Take Command from 7 yrs ago.
If you just want to scroll through some pretty screenshots instead of watch the video, here ya go
Full Explorer-like UI with multiple tabs, colors, dockable windows, multiple consoles…
Close up on that status bar
Simplified view, notice it’s much wider now than cmd.exe allows, changed UI theme, and take advantage of that extra screen area with dir /4
Windows Explorer integration to open a command prompt directly at a folder
Ctrl+Tab between prompts, and that dir /4 from above auto adjusted to a 3 column view to fit
Batch IDE with Debugger! Yes, that’s a watch window, breakpoints, step-into, step-over, etc
Lots of options configurable via a dialog.
Very rich thorough help system, with references, examples, links, etc. Type a command, like dir, and F1
My favorite view, just the terminal console prompt itself. Also all commands have a one screen reference like below and many extra parameters. For example, cmd.exe doesn’t have these: /2 /K /M /H
Type a parameter wrong? Super quick reference:
Ctrl+Tab in console for filterable list of autocompletion
Same goes for command history with PageDown
Commands work directly off FTP and HTTP sources. See /j makes the transfer restartable incase of interruption and /g shows transfer progress.
Includes 460+ internal variables and functions
And did I mention 140 additional commands beyond cmd.exe? Oh the goodies goes on…
Get the freeware version or try the pro app: Take Command