11 ways to launch the Command Prompt in Windows

Geeks and IT professionals love the Command Prompt and for a good reason - it allows you to do many administrative tasks with ease. We think that it is a good idea to make a list with all the methods available for starting this tool so that you can choose what suits you best. Knowing how to run CMD as administrator, is also important. Therefore, read on to check our list of methods:

NOTE: This guide covers Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. Some methods work in all three versions of Windows, others just in one or two. For each method, we mention the Windows version in which it works. If you do not know the version of Windows that you have, read this tutorial: What version of Windows do I have installed?.

1. Start the Command Prompt from the Start Menu (in Windows 10 and Windows 7) or the Start Screen (in Windows 8.1)

In Windows 10, open the Start Menu and go to the Windows System shortcuts folder. There, you can find a shortcut for the Command Prompt.

Command Prompt in the Start Menu from Windows 10

If you want to run Command Prompt as administrator, right-click or tap and hold on its shortcut, then open the More sub-menu and finally, click or tap "Run as administrator."

Command Prompt Run as administrator in the Start Menu from Windows 10

If you are using Windows 7, open the Start Menu and go to All Programs. Then, open Accessories and click the Command Prompt shortcut.

Command Prompt in the Start Menu from Windows 7

To run it as administrator, right-click on its shortcut and then choose "Run as administrator."

Command Prompt run as administrator in the Start Menu from Windows 7

In Windows 8.1, go to the Start screen. Click or tap on All apps and scroll right, until you find the Windows System folder. There, click or tap the Command Prompt shortcut.

The Command Prompt shortcut in Windows 8.1

If you want to run Command Prompt with administrative privileges, right-click (or tap and hold on it) and then choose the "Run as administrator" option.

Run as administrator the Command Prompt in Windows 8.1

2. Launch the Command Prompt using search (all Windows versions)

In Windows 10, one of the fastest ways to launch Command Prompt is to use search.

Inside the search field from your taskbar, enter command or cmd. Then, click or tap on the Command Prompt result.

Search for cmd in Windows 10

If you want to launch Command Prompt as administrator, right-click (or tap and hold, if you use a touchscreen) on the Command Prompt search result, and then choose "Run as administrator."

Run as administrator the Command Prompt in Windows 10

Search is also helpful in Windows 7. Open the Start Menu, type command or cmd in the search field, and then press Enter or click on the Command Prompt shortcut.

Search for command in Windows 7

To run Command Prompt as administrator, right-click on it and then click on the "Run as administrator" option from the contextual menu.

Run as administrator the Command Prompt in Windows 7

In Windows 8.1, switch to the Start screen and start typing command or cmd. Then, once the search results are displayed, press Enter on your keyboard or click/tap on the Command Prompt shortcut.

Search for cmd in Windows 8.1

To run Command Prompt as administrator, right-click on its shortcut and then click or tap "Run as administrator."

Run as administrator the Command Prompt in Windows 8.1

3. Run the Command Prompt using Cortana (Windows 10 only)

If you use Windows 10 and you have a microphone installed on your computer or device, you can also tell Cortana what you want to do. Say "Hey Cortana" if you enabled her to answer you anytime you call for her, or click/tap on the microphone icon from the search field on your taskbar. Then, ask Cortana to "launch Command Prompt."

Telling Cortana to open Command Prompt

In just a moment, Cortana understands what you want and immediately launches the Command Prompt. Unfortunately, there is no command you could use to ask Cortana to launch Command Prompt as administrator.

4. Start the Command Prompt using the Run window (all Windows versions)

One of the quickest ways to launch the Command Prompt, in any modern version of Windows, is to use the Run window. A fast way to launch this window is to press the Win + R keys on your keyboard. Then, type cmd and press Enter or click/tap OK.

Start Command Prompt using the Run Window

5. Create a shortcut for the Command Prompt on your desktop (all Windows versions)

If you prefer using shortcuts, then you should create a shortcut to the Command Prompt. This guide will show you how to do it: How to create shortcuts for apps, files, folders and web pages in Windows. When you create the shortcut, make sure that you enter cmd in the location field.

Create a shortcut for Command Prompt

Alternatively, you can download our collection of shortcuts and use what we have created: Download the biggest library of Windows shortcuts. In this pack, there are also plenty of other useful shortcuts to download and use. If you want to run the shortcut as administrator, right-click (or tap and hold on it, if you use a touchscreen), and then click or tap the "Run as administrator" option from the contextual menu.

Run as administrator a Command Prompt shortcut

6. Pin Command Prompt to your taskbar, Start Menu or Start Screen (all Windows versions)

If you would rather have a clean desktop, you might prefer to pin the Command Prompt to the taskbar, the Start Menu (in Windows 10 & Windows 7) or the Start S_creen_ (in Windows 8.1).

To find and open Command Prompt in the Windows 10 Start Menu, click or tap Start, scroll down the list of apps, and open the Windows System folder. Right-click or long press on the Command Prompt shortcut. In the menu that opens, you have options to "Pin to Start" for the Start Menu and More. When you choose More, the menu extends with the first option to "Pin to taskbar."

Pin to Start and Pin to taskbar the Command Prompt in Windows 10

In Windows 7, open the Start Menu, click All programs and open the Accessories folder, and right-click or long press on the Command Prompt shortcut in the results list. In the menu that appears you have options to "Pin to Start Menu" and "Pin to Taskbar."

Pin to Taskbar and Pin to Start Menu the Command Prompt in Windows 7

In Windows 8.1 open the Apps view from the Start screen by clicking or tapping the down-arrow from the bottom-left corner. Scroll to the right until you reach the Windows System list and right click or long press the Command Prompt shortcut. In the menu that appears you have options to "Pin to Start" for the Start Screen and "Pin to Taskbar."

Pin to Start and Pin to taskbar the Command Prompt in Windows 8.1

From now on, use the shortcut that you have pinned to open Command Prompt.

Here are the guides with the full details on pinning in Windows:

Also, if you want to run Command Prompt as administrator, use the right-click menu on the shortcut pinned on your Start Menu, Start Screen or taskbar, and click/tap the "Run as administrator" option from it.

Run as administrator the pinned Command Prompt in Windows

7. Launch the Command Prompt using the WinX menu (in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1)

Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 include a hidden menu for power users which you can access from the desktop. The quickest way to launch it is to press the Win + X keys on your keyboard, but you can also do it with right-click (or tap and hold) on Windows logo from the bottom-left corner of your desktop.

In Windows 8.1 and early versions of Windows 10 (before Creators Update), this menu includes two shortcuts for the Command Prompt, one to run it as a regular user and one to run it as an administrator.

Command Prompt in the Power User menu (Win+X)

After the Creators Update was released, Windows 10 replaced the Command Prompt shortcuts with Powershell shortcuts. However, you can configure Windows 10 to go back to showing Command Prompt shortcuts in its power user menu. You can find out how to do that in this tutorial: Add the Control Panel and the Command Prompt to the WinX menu, in Windows 10.

8. Launch the Command Prompt using File Explorer (in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1) or Windows Explorer (in Windows 7)

You can also open Command Prompt using the address bar from File Explorer (in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1) or Windows Explorer (in Windows 7). All you have to do is type cmd in the address bar and press Enter. Then, a Command Prompt instance opens immediately, using the path of the current folder.

Open the Command Prompt from File Explorer

For more details, read this tutorial: How to run commands from Windows 10's File Explorer. Unfortunately, you cannot open a Command Prompt as an administrator using this method.

9. Start the Command Prompt using its executable file (all Windows versions)

You can also open File Explorer (in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1) or Windows Explorer (in Windows 7). Go to the partition where Windows is installed, open the Windows folder and then System32. There you find cmd.exe - the executable file used by Command Prompt.

Open the Command Prompt by running cmd.exe

Also, the easiest way to open it as an administrator is to right-click (or tap and hold it, if you have a touchscreen) and then click/tap on the "Run as administrator" option from the contextual menu.

Run as administrator cmd.exe

10. Run the Command Prompt using Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer (all Windows versions)

A somewhat cumbersome but workable method to launch Command Prompt in Windows is to use one of Microsoft's web browsers to do it: Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. Use any of them to enter this command in the address bar: file://C:/Windows/System32/cmd.exe.

Open the Command Prompt from Microsoft Edge

Press Enter and then, in the dialog that opens, click or tap the Run button.

Confirm opening the Command Prompt from Microsoft Edge

This method only opens Command Prompt windows with standard user rights, not administrative privileges.

11. Open the Command Prompt using Task Manager (Windows 10 and Windows 8.1)

You can open Command Prompt using the Task Manager. Launch Task Manager (a quick way is by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + ESC). In Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, you can get the compact view of the Task Manager. In this case, press first More details in the bottom-left corner of the Task Manager window. In the File Menu, click or tap "Run new task" in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 or "New Task (Run…)" in Windows 7. In the "Create new task" window that appears, type "cmd" in the Open field and press ENTER or press the button OK.

Start the Command Prompt using Task Manager

Also, if you want to run Command Prompt as administrator, mark the checkbox "Create this task with administrative privileges" before you press ENTER or press the button OK.

Start Command Prompt with administrator privileges from Task Manager

How do you like to open the Command Prompt?

These are all the ways we know for launching Command Prompt in Windows 10, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1. It can help you find the right way to open it depending on what you are doing in Windows. If you know other methods, do not hesitate to share them in a comment below. Also, if you are looking for some good articles on how to use the Command Prompt, do not hesitate to read our recommendations below.