I want to be able to scroll up further to see the result of a command. For example, if I type dir in a directory with a lot of listings, like C:\windows, the output will be very long. When I try to scroll up, I'll probably go from z to s and never get to the r's. Too many files/directories in the folder.

How can I increase the buffer, so that I can read a longer output history?


You have three options.

  1. Either you augment the buffer size of your cmd.exe window, like stated in another answer (drop down menu (CTRL+SPACE) > Properties > Increase buffer size

  2. Either you redirect the output of your command to a file that you'll then be able to edit with any other tool you like (notepad, or even a CLI editor like "edit") :

    dir > directory.txt

  3. Or you may consider command-line alternatives under Windows (I've never understood how the cmd.exe hadn't been rewritten by Microsoft in order to have something with less limitations and more ease of use).

    You can check for example "Console", an open source project, with multi-tabs and a few intersting options, including a larger buffer.

    There are other alternatives but none that i'm aware of that would be free.


Right-click on the CMD prompt's Title bar > Properties > Layout > Screen buffer size will let you increase the screen buffer size.

As far as pausing goes, as Serodis suggested, instead of /p most cmd/DOS (not equal, I know, but this goes for both) work with |more suffix.

  • You can use the pause key on a keyboard to pause, but it's hard to time it. /p is a paged option for dir and ls, I think. I prefer /w/p, which gives me the wide view, when I'm using those commands. Anyway, thanks for the other way of accessing the buffer dialog. Jan 16 '12 at 1:37

You can go to drop-down->properties->increase buffer size. I figured this out by googling more.

dir /p

Is the normal operation to part-out the results so you can scroll through slowly.

  • Not the scope of answer I was looking for, but the page option is useful for people with the example issue. Thank you. Jan 16 '12 at 1:35

Aside from the answers already given, the Powershell ISE keeps a full buffer of everything in the prompt window.

If you launched your command from an ISE window, you would be able to scroll to the top no matter how much output there is.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.