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  • Paul Troncone

How to Open the Windows Command Prompt

Before you can leverage the power of the command line you first need to open it. In Windows 10 you have two primary options for doing that:

  1. Using the Windows 10 Start Menu

  2. Using Windows File Explorer


Method 1 - Windows 10 Start Menu


1. In Windows 10, click on the search bar or the Start menu and type cmd.


Windows Search Bar

2. Hit the Enter key or click on the Command Prompt app


This method will cause the Command Prompt to open and the current working directory will be set to the current user's home directory; typically C:\Users\USERNAME.


Method 2 - Windows File Explorer


1. Open the Windows File Explorer by searching for "file explorer" in the Start Menu or by using the [Windows+E] keyboard shortcut.


2. In File Explorer, navigate to the directory where you would like to open the Command Prompt.


3. Type cmd into the File Explorer Address Bar and hit Enter.


Windows File Explorer
Windows File Explorer

The Command Prompt will open and the current working directory will be set to the directory displayed in File Explorer.


Opening the Command Prompt as Administrator


Sometimes you need to open the Windows Command Prompt as an Administrator. The easiest way to do this is using the Start Menu.


1. In Windows 10, click on the search bar or the Start menu and type cmd.


Windows Search Bar
Windows Search Bar

2. Right-Click the Command Prompt app and select "Run as administrator"


Run CMD as Administrator
Run CMD as Administrator

3. Windows will prompt you to allow the app to run as Administrator. Enter your password if necessary and select "Yes".


The Windows Command Prompt will open with Administrator privileges and the current working directory will be set to C:\WINDOWS\system32.


WARNING - Be cautions when using the Command Prompt as an Administrator as you can create irreversible damage to your Windows installation.

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