• Posted on February 27, 2013

CMD Alternatives and Managers

CMD or known as Command Prompt allows you to enter text commands in a console for Windows operating systems. CMD can also be referred to as “DOS”, shell, console, and terminal but those terms usually have a better meaning elsewhere.

Using CMD for a single task is usually fine, but when you have multiple commands prompts open for watching working with MySQL, development, many console programs you need a better alternative. Below I compiled a list of the best CMD Alternatives that I have used and why they are good and bad. Also included in the list is CMD so you can compare the programs directly to what you are replacing.

Windows CMD

Windows Command Prompt is what we are trying to replace. It is a very useful program but with major flaws in design, usability and customizing. Windows CMD does allow you to change colors and windows size but going through the process is difficult and sometimes the settings don’t even stay in new sessions.

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • Comes Installed with Windows

Cons

  • No Text Selection
  • Re-sizing window is very difficult
  • No Tabs or Multiple View Options
  • No Color Visual for Files and Folders

Windows PowerShell

PowerShell is very similar to CMD and comes with most Windows versions. PowerShell is different in the way that it can be used for scripting programs and events to occur. It uses a scripting language built on top of the .NET Framework. Using PowerShell as a replacement to CMD is possible but there are not that many features you would find useful.

Console2

Console2 is one of the most popular CMD Alternatives that I have found. Console2 gives you the ability to start various types of shells, such as CMD or PowerShell. You can create multiple tabs to easily switch between what you are working on without having tons of windows open and all over the place. The best part about Console2 is that it is free and open source.

Pros

  • Multiple Tabs to easily switch between consoles
  • No Installation Required
  • Free and Open Source
  • Rename Tabs
  • Easy to Copy Text from Console
  • Visual Effects such as Transparency
  • Customize Shell for Multiple Console Types

Cons

  • Can only view a single console at a time
  • Can’t Switch Consoles using Windows 7 Task Bar View

ConEmu

ConEmu is another fairly popular CMD Alternative or manager. Other than just being able to open up shells such as CMD and PowerShell, you can configure it to open programs in tabs also. This is great for opening up Notepad and editing configuration files while working with console based programs. ConEmu is also free.

Pros

  • Minimalist Clean Design
  • Free to Use
  • Multiple Tabs
  • Rename Tabs
  • Easy to Copy Text from Console
  • Customize Shell for Multiple Console Types
  • Select Console from Windows 7 Task Bar
  • Run Programs inside of Tabs

Cons

  • Settings and Buttons not always easy to understand
  • Hotkeys sometimes change how they navigate
  • Limited Appearance Settings
  • Resizing Isn’t Smooth

PowerCMD

PowerCMD packs a huge amount of features and displays that make using it really nice. You can align each tab side by side, in a 2 by 2 view, and many other views that you can adjust. You also can easily see environment variables so you don’t have to remember or echo those values to know them. A down side is that PowerCMD only works with CMD shells so you have that limitation but you may not require anything more than CMD shells. PowerCMD isn’t free like some of the other alternatives, but at a price of about $30 it may fit into your computer perfectly.

Pros

  • Multiple View Types
  • Dynamic Drop Down when typing listing files in current folder
  • Amazing Text Select Support
  • Arrow Key Navigation
  • Log files
  • Context Menu to open PowerCMD starting at any directory

Cons

  • Requires Administrator Access to run
  • Only allows CMD Windows no alternative Shells
  • Can’t Switch Consoles using Windows 7 Task Bar View
  • Design is bulky but can be customized

PromptPal

PromptPal is a very well built CMD manager and alternative. Creating tabs for new sessions works much better than other versions since the CTRL + T hotkey works without sending ^T to the CMD Window. It has a very clean design and is easy to use right away without having to do any setting up. Another great feature is that it knows all windows commands and syntax so you can easily see the possible options if you forgot them. PromptPal isn’t free although they do have a 30 day trial you can test out. For the full version it will cost around $30.00

Pros

  • Extremely Easy to Use
  • Syntax Directory and Command Dropdown
  • New Tab Hotkey is Ctrl + T
  • Text Selecting Works smoothly
  • Dual Panel Viewing

Cons

  • Only CMD Shell is allowed

Other CMD Alternatives

Below are some other CMD Alternatives that I have come across and their websites.

  • WooShell (wsh) - website - Free
  • TCC/LE - website - Free - 64bit support