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Is there a way to keep the cmd command history between sessions?

22

Switch to using PowerShell, and follow the instructions at the following site to enable history:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/powershell/archive/2006/07/01/perserving-command-history-across-sessions.aspx

Alternatively, in cmd.exe, you can use "doskey /history" at the end of your session to show what you typed in that session, but theres no way to really load it into the next session.

  • 6
    I hestitated to +1 this because "Switch to using PowerShell" is not necessarily as easy as it sounds depending on what sort of stuff you're using the console for, but the info is accurate soooooooooo ;) – Shinrai Mar 15 '11 at 14:23
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    Agreed. I hesitated to put it down but it's the only real answer I can find. I tried to get something similar going on a workstation I had before, but there just isn't a persistent history mechanism available for cmd.exe :-( – Hyppy Mar 15 '11 at 14:27
  • Note that this will keep a list of commands you typed, but it doe NOT alter the list of commands that will come up when you hit the up key on the keyboard. It doesn't affect the "doskey" functionality, in other words. – Mark Apr 13 '11 at 19:06
  • Should be noted that some commands that work in cmd don't work the same in PowerShell e.g. mvn install `-Dmaven.test.skip=true would requires a backtick as shown before the dash – Drenai Jul 13 '17 at 9:39
62

I've found 2 ways, neither of which require switching to PowerShell.

  1. Install Clink, which enhances cmd.exe with persistent history and much more. Just install it and then open cmd as normal.

  2. Install TCC/LE free version, which is a separate program, again providing an enhanced version of cmd.exe.

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    I am a bit apprehensive against system-wide replacing of cmd.exe but its a good answer, and clink supports an injection mode as well. – Lorenz Lo Sauer Sep 9 '12 at 18:10
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    Wow, Clink is fantastic. – Chris Weber Jan 21 '13 at 16:06
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    Clink is brilliant. Replaced cmd with it, been no problems, very happy with it. – Colonel Panic Jul 24 '13 at 14:38
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    Clink is amazing! – Hoang Huynh Oct 24 '14 at 4:39
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    This should be the accepted answer. Because this is what asked by the question..!! This is best rather than using any other alternative application. – Samitha Chathuranga Nov 15 '15 at 9:02
12

Saving history is a small workflow - here's a less "heavy" way to do this (no external libs).

Create a bat/cmd file to set up your history, in this case I called it MyEnvironment.cmd:

doskey save=doskey /history $g$g C:\CmdHistory.log
doskey quit=doskey /history $g$g C:\CmdHistory.log $T exit
doskey history=find /I "$*" C:\CmdHistory.log
cls

Then run this from "Start->Run" (you can also setup an alias for this too):

cmd.exe /K C:\MyEnvironment.cmd

Every time I'm closing a session I hit "quit" - or if I'm afraid of losing history mid-session I hit "save". If I want to grep for something in history, I just hit "history KEYWORD".


Per @dave_thompson_085 's comment, the AutoRun feature works well if you don't want to use the /K switch. If you set up the Registry key correctly, the .cmd or .bat does not need to be in %AppData%, it can be in the same location it already is.

If you do use the %AppData% location, be aware that cmd will probably look for your batch file in the "Roaming" folder (instead of the AppData root).

More info on the AutoRun CMD feature: https://superuser.com/a/302553/333316

  • What $g and $t are for? – user373230 Jul 3 '17 at 17:29
  • @Chinggis6 $g inserts a >, and $t is a command separator. – Superole Aug 25 '17 at 8:19
  • @Superole ah ok, greater than and terminate, but why not to use > and && characters directly in the doskey alias? – user373230 Aug 25 '17 at 8:58
  • @Chinggis6 because that would break the command creating the alias. Then the command-interpreter would assume that you meant: first execute doskey quit=doskey /history and save the output of the macro creation in a logfile (either nothing or an errormessage); next close the window (discarding everything). -You could escape those characters with a ^ instead though, I think. Like ^>^> and ^& (...and yes, you only need one ampersand) – Superole Sep 4 '17 at 12:55
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    Instead of explicit /k can use AutoRun superuser.com/a/302553/333316 – dave_thompson_085 Jun 3 '18 at 20:45
2

I use cygwin. It also provides some others functionalities that Linux has but Windows not.

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