Geeks and IT professionals love the Command Prompt (CMD), and for good reason: it allows you to do many administrative tasks with ease. We think that it is a good idea to make a list of all the fourteen methods we know for opening Command Prompt, so that you can choose what suits you best. Knowing how to open CMD as an administrator is also important. Therefore, read on and choose your favorite way to open Command Prompt:
NOTE: We wrote this tutorial using Windows 10 with May 2020 Update. If you are using an older version of Windows 10, some things might look different or might not be working as expected.
1. How to open Command Prompt from the Start Menu
On your Windows 10 PC, open the Start Menu and go to the Windows System shortcuts folder. There, you're going to find a Command Prompt shortcut: click or tap on it to open CMD.
If you want to run Command Prompt as an administrator, right-click or press and hold on its shortcut, then open the More sub-menu and finally, click or tap "Run as administrator." Alternatively, you can also hold the Ctrl and Shift keys pressed and click or tap on the Command Prompt shortcut to launch CMD as admin.
2. Open Command Prompt using search
In Windows 10, one of the fastest ways to open 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.
If you want to launch Command Prompt as administrator, use the "Run as administrator" link from the right side of the search panel. Alternatively, you can also right-click (or press and hold, if you use a touchscreen) on the Command Prompt search result, and then choose "Run as administrator."
3. How to open Command Prompt from the Run box
One of the quickest ways to open Command Prompt in Windows 10 is via the Run window. Press the Win + R keys on your keyboard, then type cmd, and press Enter on your keyboard or click/tap OK.
4. Create a Command Prompt shortcut on your desktop or in any folder you want
If you prefer using shortcuts, then you should create a shortcut to the Command Prompt. This guide shows you how to do it: How to create shortcuts for apps, files, folders, and web pages in Windows. Basically, you have to right-click or press and hold on an empty space on your desktop or in any other folder, then go to New in the contextual menu, and click or tap on Shortcut.
Next, in the Create Shortcut wizard, point your new shortcut to cmd, give it a name (like Command Prompt, or Old-School Terminal :), and save it.
5. Use our already-made Command Prompt shortcut
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 press and hold on it, if you use a touchscreen), and then click or tap the "Run as administrator" option from the contextual menu.
6. Pin Command Prompt to your taskbar or Start Menu
If you would rather have a clean desktop, you might prefer to pin the Command Prompt to the taskbar or to the Start Menu. 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 press and hold 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."
From now on, use the shortcut that you have pinned to open Command Prompt. Also, if you want to run Command Prompt as administrator, use the right-click menu on the shortcut pinned on your Start Menu or taskbar, and click/tap the "Run as administrator" option from it.
7. Launch the Command Prompt using the WinX menu
Windows 10 includes 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 press and hold) on the Windows logo from the bottom-left corner of your desktop. In 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.
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. How to open Command Prompt from File Explorer's address bar
You can also open Command Prompt using the address bar from File Explorer. 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.
For more details, read this tutorial: How to run commands from Windows 10's File Explorer. Unfortunately, you cannot open Command Prompt as an administrator using this method.
9. Open Command Prompt using its cmd.exe executable file
You can also open Command Prompt using its cmd.exe file. Open File Explorer, navigate to the partition where Windows is installed, open the Windows folder, and then enter System32. There, you're going to find cmd.exe - the executable file used by Command Prompt.
Also, the easiest way to open it as an administrator is to right-click (or press and hold it, if you have a touchscreen) and then click/tap on the "Run as administrator" option from the contextual menu.
10. How to open the Command Prompt from the old Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer
A somewhat cumbersome, but workable method to launch Command Prompt in Windows is to use one of Microsoft's older web browsers to do it. Launch Internet Explorer or the old Microsoft Edge (not the one based on Chromium) and enter this command in the address bar: file://C:/Windows/System32/cmd.exe. Press Enter and then, in the dialog that opens, click or tap the Run button.
This method only opens Command Prompt windows with standard user rights, not administrative privileges.
11. Open Command Prompt from the Task Manager
You can open Command Prompt using the Task Manager. Launch Task Manager (a quick way is by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc). If you get the compact view of the Task Manager, first press More details in the bottom-left corner of the window. Open the File menu, select "Run new task," and then type cmd in the "Create new task" window. Hit Enter on your keyboard or press the OK button and Command Prompt opens.
Also, if you want to run Command Prompt as administrator, mark the checkbox "Create this task with administrative privileges" before you press Enter or the OK button.
12. Ask Cortana to open Command Prompt
If you have a microphone installed on your Windows 10 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 her icon next to the search field on your taskbar. Then, ask 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.
13. How to open Command Prompt when you boot Windows 10 using the Advanced Startup Options
If you need to run advanced commands in Command Prompt and your Windows 10 PC no longer works properly, you might need a way to open CMD at boot, before Windows 10 loads itself completely. To do that, you can use the Recovery options. Here's how:
Open the Settings app and navigate to Update & Security. Select Recovery on the left side of the window, and click or tap on Restart now in the Advanced startup section from the right.
On the Choose an option screen, press Troubleshoot.
Then, click or tap on Advanced options.
This brings you to the Advanced options screen. Here, you should get an entry called Command Prompt. Click or tap on it.
Your Windows 10 computer or device reboots and then asks you to choose a user account from the list of administrators configured on the PC. Select it and enter your password if asked.
Finally, Windows 10 opens the Command Prompt as administrator.
14. How to open Command Prompt while installing Windows 10
We have another neat method of opening Command Prompt even when Windows 10 is not installed on your computer. It also works when your Windows 10 is corrupted that it can't boot properly. Use a Windows 10 installation media to boot your computer or device. When the Windows 10 setup wizard shows up, simultaneously press the Shift + F10 keys on your keyboard to open Command Prompt.
It's as simple as that! 🙂
How do you like to open the Command Prompt?
These are all the ways we know for launching Command Prompt in Windows 10. It can help you find the right way to open it, depending on what you are doing on your Windows 10 PC. 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, don't hesitate to read our recommendations below.