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

5 Answers 5


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

https://devblogs.microsoft.com/powershell/perserving-command-history-across-sessions/ (archived)

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.

  • 12
    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, 2011 at 14:23
  • 2
    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, 2011 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, 2011 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, 2017 at 9:39
  • The question is cmd not PowerShell. You shuld start to answer the question and then follow up with alternatives.
    – Morten
    Apr 3, 2020 at 19:00

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.

  • 6
    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. Sep 9, 2012 at 18:10
  • 1
    If you don't want to install it system wide, you can launch it via a shortcut to clink.bat. Nov 13, 2012 at 12:53
  • 5
    Clink is brilliant. Replaced cmd with it, been no problems, very happy with it. Jul 24, 2013 at 14:38
  • 3
    This should be the accepted answer. Because this is what asked by the question..!! This is best rather than using any other alternative application. Nov 15, 2015 at 9:02
  • 1
    Thank you for this. Clink is fantastic and works seamlessly with ConEmu. Nov 13, 2017 at 13:56

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

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

Update (Oct. 2020) on Autorun: I've used this feature now for years, but would like to point out many programs that rely on CMD to run background commands (Visual Studio, Win32 apps), get very confused if anything runs before the passed CMD command (e.g. VS developer prompt). If this causes pain, switch to the /K method.

  • 1
    What $g and $t are for?
    – user373230
    Jul 3, 2017 at 17:29
  • 1
    @Chinggis6 $g inserts a >, and $t is a command separator.
    – Superole
    Aug 25, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 at 12:55
  • 1
    Instead of explicit /k can use AutoRun superuser.com/a/302553/333316 Jun 3, 2018 at 20:45

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


My solution may qualify as worse than a hack—perhaps even cheating.

I save the history of my session's commands into a file, say,

doskey /h > mysession.txt

Then, in the next session, I open mysession.txt with the text editor, copy the command I am interested in, and paste it into the cmd/shell session, and execute it directly.

Downvotes are rightly deserved ^_^.

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