How can I clear the current line in the command prompt? (I'm using Windows 7.)

Too often, I enter a command, execute it, get many lines of output, then wish to enter another command. But before entering the second command, I press the up arrow key to review the first command, then I find I have to hold backspace for 30-or so characters. (I can't just press down again to get an empty line. Nor can I get it by pressing up again.)

  • @myrddim has it but that aside, some poor alternatives are keep tapping up until you have something short then hold backspace. another one is make the command be a bad command or filename, or rather, an "'sdfd' is not recognised as an internal or external command" so move the cursor a bit with left arrow and just tap a letter or don't and just tap a letter at the end, mess up the cmd input, then hit ENTER, get that error and the next line will be blank.
    – barlop
    Mar 5, 2012 at 18:55
  • 1
    @barlop That is indeed a poor workaround! It only takes one keystroke. If you can't use the Esc key, you could use AutoHotkey to simulate it.
    – iglvzx
    Mar 5, 2012 at 19:20

2 Answers 2


The Escape (Esc) key will clear the input line.

In addition, pressing Ctrl+C will move the cursor to a new, blank line. This may be helpful as the input you just reviewed remains visible while you type the new command.

  • 3
    And if you want to clear the whole screen, you can use the cls command. :)
    – iglvzx
    Mar 5, 2012 at 18:52
  • 11
    As a side note, on UNIX it's ctrl+u. Oct 22, 2012 at 23:12
  • 2
    Which would be relevant if the question wasn't specifically targeted at the Windows 7 command prompt. :-) Also, I believe this is shell specific, as I am reasonably certain some shells have the same behavior as Windows when pressing Ctrl+C. Oct 22, 2012 at 23:19
  • 2
    @MyrddinEmrys on Windows it is cls
    – CJ7
    Jun 1, 2016 at 5:24
  • 3
    Note: the CTRL+C command will also exit any command line session you are having, i.e python, and return you back to the command line environment.
    – SexyBeast
    Jul 14, 2016 at 7:41

Aside from the two that Myyrddin covered - Esc and Ctrl+C - there are also two more shortcuts related to clearing the current input in CMD.

Ctrl+Home will clear all characters in the input before the cursor (equivalent to Ctrl+U in Bash)

Ctrl+End will clear all characters in the input after the cursor (equivalent to Bash's Ctrl+K)

Both are fairly useful and, once internalised and gotten used to, could speed up editing in CMD by quite a bit.

  • 2
    I didn't know about these keystrokes; thank you. May you get the upvotes you deserve. Jan 31, 2017 at 13:47
  • 1
    Same here. Being used to Bash I always wanted those. OP is my savior.
    – uranusjr
    Jul 25, 2017 at 15:57
  • 1
    From bash(1): (Ctrl)+(X), (Rubout) is defined to be backward-kill-line; i.e., kill backward to the beginning of the line; i.e., the same as (Ctrl)+(Home) in Windows CMD. “Rubout” may be Backspace or Delete, so try (Ctrl)+(X), (Backspace) and (Ctrl)+(X), (Delete). Also, (Ctrl)+(U) is unix-line-discard; i.e., kill backward from the insertion point (cursor) to the beginning of the line; i.e., also the same as (Ctrl)+(Home).  (Ctrl)+(K) is defined to be kill-line; i.e., kill the text from the insertion point to the end of the line; i.e., the same as (Ctrl)+(End) in Windows CMD. Aug 26, 2018 at 5:47
  • 2
    Just to be clear: (Ctrl)+(U) is a long-standing, general feature of Unix.  It works in old, non-Linux, non-GNU, non-bash systems; it works in vi; it works if you do cat > file123.  The others are specific to the bash command line. Jul 22, 2019 at 16:12
  • 1
    Shift+Home and Shift+End selects the same as above, instead of deleting it.
    – Dercsár
    Apr 30 at 19:00

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.