How to Fix Command Prompt Not Opening?

By Puja Chatterjee on April 23, 2023

You cannot access and use the Command Prompt if it does not open in the first place. This is an error that can happen sometimes, and there are quite a few reasons for it, just as there are fixes for it.

If you are not aware of the solutions that will help you open CMD on your PC, this article will let you know about both the easy and the not-so-easy ones.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Why is the Command Prompt Not Opening or Working?

Among a variety of reasons, one major reason for the Command Prompt not to open is the corrupted system files that may be preventing it.

Also, any recent changes made on your computer or any apps installed that are not supported may prevent the app from opening.

Apart from that, there are also instances when the Command Prompt does not open due to:

Irrespective of the reasons, this issue is not fatal and can be fixed quite easily.

Ways to Fix Command Prompt Not Opening

How to Fix Command Prompt Not Opening

There are quite a few simple and relatively complex methods of getting the Command Prompt up and running, such as restarting or rebooting your PC altogether or removing the antivirus software program.

Also, checking whether the CMD opens in safe mode and then removing the apps and programs that may be in conflict with other apps and services may resolve the problem.

You may also try other fixes, including but not limited to:

The steps to follow for these solutions are described below.

Expert tip:

Before you proceed with any of the methods described below, you are advised to create a proper backup of your data.

Method 1: Use the Run Command After Restarting

Minor technical glitches can be resolved by simply restarting the PC. When that is done, try using the run command box to open the Command Prompt.

STEPS TO FIX:

cmd

This will open the Command Prompt for general use. If you want to open the elevated Command Prompt, press the CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER keys together.

If this simple solution does not work, try the next method.

Method 2: Disable the Antivirus Software Temporarily

Sometimes, the antivirus program installed on your computer may prevent the Command Prompt from opening. Disable it for the time being to resolve the problem.

Do not worry about antivirus infection because Windows Defender, the antivirus application of Windows, will keep your system well protected.

Sometimes, the issue may still persist, and in that case, the Windows Defender may itself cause the issue. Check it by disabling it as well, temporarily.

STEPS TO FIX:

Windows Defender Firewall

Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off

Turn off Windows Defender Firewall

Now, try opening the Command Prompt.

Method 3: Change PATH Environment Variables Settings

The settings of the PATH Environment Variable may need some adjustments to allow opening Command Prompt on your PC.

STEPS TO FIX:

environ

System Properties window

Environment Variables window

Edit environment variable

Now, restart your computer so that the changes take effect. When it turns on, check whether or not you can open the Command Prompt again.

Method 4: Create and Use a New User Account

Often, the user profile itself may be corrupted due to some reason. In such cases, logging in with a new user account may allow opening the Command Prompt on the PC even as an administrator.

Therefore, create a new account and see whether the issue has been fixed.

STEPS TO FIX:

(Alternatively, go to Start and click on the gear icon in the window that pops up.)

Choose Accounts from Settings window

Family & other people

I don’t have this person’s sign-in information

Add a user without a Microsoft account

Type the username and password

When the new user account is created, go to Start and click on the icon of the new account to switch to it. Now try accessing Command Prompt from this newly created account.

Method 5: Run SFC Scan with Windows PowerShell

If you cannot open the Command Prompt on your PC even after following the above solutions, there might be some issues with the file system.

Running a System File Checker or SFC scan with Windows PowerShell will detect the files that may be missing or corrupted and repair it.

STEPS TO FIX:

Windows PowerShell

User Account Control

Type sfc /scannow in the prompt

Now, restart your PC and try to launch Command Prompt.

If this does not work, then there may be some more corrupted files that need to be repaired. The best thing to do in that case is to open PowerShell again and enter the following command:

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

This will take some time to complete in order to detect and repair the corrupted system files on your PC.

Once it is done, restart your system, and this time Command Prompt may open.

Method 6: Use the Error Checking Tool

Another useful way to check for errors in the drive and fix them is to use the error checking tool. This often resolves the issue of Command Prompt not opening in Windows.

STEPS TO FIX:

Open File Explorer

Go to the Tools tab in the next window

click on Scan drive

The scanning process will start immediately, and it will take some time to detect the issues.

scanning process

When the drive is scanned successfully and it says that there are no issues found, close the window.

If there were issues and the system fixed them, you can click on Show Details at the bottom right corner of the window.

scanned successfully

This will open the Event Viewer window shown below along with the issues found, mentioned in the central area. (In this case it is empty because there were no issues found.)

Event Viewer

Now you may open Command Prompt on your PC.

Method 7: Close a Few Active Tasks in the Task Manager

Sometimes a few specific tasks running on your PC may interfere with the normal functionality of the Command Prompt and prevent it from opening.

Closing a few of these tasks from the Task Manager may rectify the issue.

STEPS TO FIX:

Processes tab

Repeat the process for each active task to close it, and then try opening the Command Prompt after restarting your PC.

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Method 8: Perform a System Restore

If all of the above processes fail, you may restore your PC to a point when the Command Prompt was working fine.

STEPS TO FIX:

create a restore point

Click on the System Restore

If you find it grayed out, as it is in this case, you will need to turn on system protection first.

As shown in the image above by the red arrows, click on any drive under Protection Settings > click on Configure.

Turn on system protection

When the process is complete, reboot your computer and try to open the Command Prompt.

Method 9: Make Adjustments in Group Policy

One good way to fix the issue of the Command Prompt not opening on your PC is to make some adjustments in the Group Policy.

STEPS TO FIX:

gpedit.msc

Prevent access to the command prompt

Click on the Apply button

Now close the window and restart your computer. When it restarts, try to open the Command Prompt.

Method 10: Update Windows

Updating Windows is one last thing you can do to open the Command Prompt. This will update your system as well as get rid of the issues and bugs in it that might be preventing the CMD from opening.

STEPS TO FIX:

Choose Update & Security

Select Windows Update

If your system is not up-to-date, it will show that there are updates available to download and install. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Now check whether the issue has been resolved.

Conclusion

It can be really frustrating and bothersome when the Command Prompt does not open on your PC and does not allow you to perform any task through it.

However, you need not worry anymore because one of the methods cited in this article will surely fix the issue.

Now, it is all about which one you will try.