How to Open Command Prompt: A Comprehensive Guide

By Dominic Chooper on April 21, 2023

The Command Prompt will allow you to perform several administrative tasks very easily, provided you know how to open it and use it.

In this article, you will find different ways to open this useful tool on your computer. Therefore, read on to choose the best way to open Command Prompt.


Ways to Open Command Prompt

How to Open Command Prompt

There are different ways in which you can open the Command Prompt very easily and quickly, such as from the Start menu, from the run dialog box, and from the Windows Search function, just to name a few.

Here are all of the steps described clearly with illustrations for Windows and Mac systems, along with some ways to open Command Prompt as an administrator or in a folder.

In Windows

Windows 10 or 11, these methods will work for both. It is only the locations of the icons in Windows 11 that may be different from the illustrations used in this article, which are typically based on Windows 10.

Method 1: From the Start Menu

You can open the Command Prompt on your Windows 10 or 11 computer simply and quickly from the Start Menu.


Windows Systems

However, if you are using the Quick Link menu, which you can access by right-clicking on the Windows Start logo, you may not find the Command Prompt option there. Instead, there will be the following options:

Windows PowerShell

These are just enhanced Command Prompt versions with additional features.

However, to avoid confusion, you can replace these options with Command Prompt in the menu.

For this, you will have to press the Windows and I keys on the keyboard together to go to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar.

Here, set the slide switch to off to disable the option ‘Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right-click the start button or press Windows logo key + X.’

In Windows 11, the steps to follow are almost similar, where you will need to:

Windows Tools

In the Windows Tools window, double-click on the Command Prompt option.

Command Prompt

Method 2: From Windows Search

You can also open the Command Prompt from the Windows Search box. This is perhaps the fastest way to open the tool.


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(Alternatively, you can press the Windows and S keys on your keyboard together for the same.)

cmd in the box

In Windows 11, click on the Start menu icon and type your search in the Search box.

Method 3: Pin It to the Taskbar or Start

Want quick access to Command Prompt? Pin its icon to the taskbar or to Start.


Pin to taskbar

Method 4: Using the Run Command

You may also use the Run command to open the Command Prompt.



Method 5: From File Explorer

Using the File Explorer is another quick way to open the Command Prompt. However, you will not be able to run it as an administrator if you follow this method.


file explorer

Type cmd

Method 6: Using the Executable File

You can also use the cmd.exe file to open the Command Prompt.


Local Disk

Windows folder


cmd.exe file

Method 7: Open Through the Task Manager

The Task Manager in Windows helps the users in a lot of ways, which includes opening tools like the Command Prompt as well.


Make sure it does not open in a compact view. If it does, click on the More details button at the bottom of the window first to expand it.

click on the More details

Run new task

Create new task

If you want to run it as an administrator, check the small box next to ‘Create this task with administrative privileges’ located under the Open box (indicated by the red arrow in the above image) before you hit the Enter key or press the OK button.

If you want a quicker way and do not want to do any kind of typing, press and hold down the CRTL button while clicking on Run new task. This will open the Command Prompt immediately with administrative privileges.

Method 8: Use Cortana

If you have Cortana enabled on your system, you can avoid all the hassles and simply use voice command to open the Command Prompt, or type the command in.


(You can also launch it by saying ‘Cortana’ if it is enabled to answer your call anytime.)

If you see the small microphone sign below on the window, say ‘Open Command Prompt.’ If you do not see it, you will have to type it and press Enter.

Open Command Prompt

Using this method will open Command Prompt normally, without any administrative privileges.

Method 9: From Microsoft Edge

Though less recommended, Command Prompt can also be launched by using Microsoft Edge.



Click on Open file

Once again, you will not have administrative privileges when you open Command Prompt this way.

Method 10: While Booting into Windows

If you want to launch the Command Prompt while booting Windows, you will need to follow an entirely different set of steps.


Click on Settings

Click on Update & Security

Advanced startup

click on Troubleshoot

Advanced Options

click on the Command Prompt

Now, be ready with the administrator username and password to access the Command Prompt while the system prepares to open it.

Choose an account to continue

enter the username and password

You will now have access to an elevated Command Prompt as shown below:

elevated Command Prompt

Opening Command Prompt in a Folder

You can open the Command Prompt, or PowerShell as the case may be, either from within a specific folder or by creating a shortcut.

Method 11: From the Context Menu of a Folder

Open PowerShell window

If you are using a Mac system, however, you will simply have to right-click on the specific folder and then select New Terminal at Folder from the menu that appears. (The entire process is described later.)

Method 12: From the File Menu of the Folder

A quick way to open Command Prompt, or PowerShell, is from the File menu of a folder.


Open Windows PowerShell

Method 13: Creating a Shortcut

A lot of users prefer to use shortcuts to open a tool. If you are one of them, you can create a Command Prompt shortcut from any folder on your desktop if you want.

Creating a shortcut will allow easy and quick access to the Command Prompt.


Click on Shortcut

Create Shortcut

Name shortcut

Double-clicking on the shortcut created will open the Command Prompt. But if you want to open it as an administrator, follow these steps:

Shortcut properties

Click on the Advanced button in the Properties window

Advanced Properties

Finally, click on the OK button on the previous Properties window to close it and start using it as an administrator.

Opening the Command Prompt as an Administrator

In addition to the ways described above along with a few specific methods, you can also open the Command Prompt as an administrator in a few other ways, as described below.

Method 14: From Search or Start

If you want to use specific commands that are not intended for general purposes, you should run the Command Prompt as an administrator.

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Right-click on Command Prompt

(You may also click on Run as administrator shown on the right side of the window as marked by the red box in the image above.)

When and if the Windows 10 User Account Control prompt appears, click on the Yes button.

User Account Control

The Command Prompt will appear and you can run it as an administrator now.

Even if you have opened the Command Prompt from the Start menu, both in Windows 10 and 11, as described in the first method, follow the same steps as above.

If you want to open the tool as an administrator from the taskbar, press and hold down the SHIFT and CTRL keys on your keyboard while clicking on the Command Prompt icon.

Opening Command Prompt on Mac Systems

On Mac systems, however, you will need to open and use a special program called Terminal instead of Command Prompt for the same purposes.

Method 15: Through the Launchpad

You can use the Launchpad in a Mac system, which is the taskbar equivalent, to open the Terminal.


Type Terminal in the search box

Select the Terminal app

Method 16: Through the Finder

You can also launch the Terminal on a Mac system from the Finder.


Go to the Finder at the bottom of the screen

Utilities folder

You will see the Terminal icon in the window. However, if you don’t, you may type terminal in the search box (marked by a red box in the image below) and hit Enter to find it.

type terminal

Method 17: Using the Spotlight Search

The Terminal can also be opened by using the Spotlight Search feature available on the Mac systems.


(The Command keys are located on both sides of the Spacebar on the keyboard, as shown in the image below.)

Command keys

Alternatively, you can also click on the small magnifying glass icon at the top right corner of the screen, as you can see in the image below, indicated by a red arrow.

Type Terminal

Now, hit Enter to open the terminal window.

Method 18: Using the Keyboard Shortcuts

Apart from the process described before in Method 11, you can also open the Terminal in Mac systems at a folder from the keyboard shortcuts.


System Preferences

(You can also click on the System Preferences icon on the launchpad window.)

Click on the Keyboard icon

Open the Shortcuts tab

Go to the Services

And finally, select either New Terminal at Folder or New Terminal Tab at Folder as you prefer to open the Terminal, as shown in the image above.


With all that said, now you are aware of a lot of ways in which you can open Command Prompt in Windows, and Terminal, the Command Prompt equivalent in Mac.

The list of ways consists of processes that can be completed in just a couple of steps or more. You can use any of the methods as you wish.