I searched before asking, but I didn't find any of the alternatives mentioned here good enough to replace XP's cmd.exe.

I'd like a Win32 (not .Net: Too slow to load) alternative to XP's cmd.exe that can at least do this:

  1. Can be maximized to the screen, not limited in width like cmd.exe or TCC/LE (80 characters?)
  2. If a filename is too long to fit in the screen, selecting it with the mouse must end with the full name, not with some CLRF added, so I don't end up with something like:

This is a lon

g filename.txt

Is there an alternative that satisfies those requirements, either free or affordable?

Thank you.

PS: As feedback, here's why I gave up on Console-2, Windows PowerShell 3.0, and TCC/LE:


  • cross-platform: Prefer native app
  • can't maximize window

Windows PowerShell 3.0:

  • .Net app
  • "Windows cannot open this file: Windows6.1-KB2506143-x86.msu"

TCC/LE 13.05.69 (ex-4NT):

  • To be able to select text, must do like cmd.exe: Properties > Edit Options > check QuickEdit mode
  • Can't maximize window: Like cmd.exe, limited to 80 characters?
  • You will not find anything better than PowerShell for Windows. You should be able to install in on any XP and later operating systems. Work with the error you are given for while trying to install - try to fix it or search for solutions. Do not give up just because of that. AS a last resort probably cygwin could be a solution. Cygwin + SSH server + Putty and connect to your own server. From all of the above i strongly recommend PowerShell. – mnmnc Jan 9 '13 at 13:15
  • 1
    Please refer to this meta post when asking questions regarding software recommendations. – James Mertz Jan 9 '13 at 14:30
  • Thanks. Apparently, PowerShell 3.0 won't install on XP, so we must install 2.0 which is part of ""Windows Management Framework Core (WinRM 2.0 and Windows PowerShell 2.0)" available at www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16818 – OverTheRainbow Jan 9 '13 at 15:17
  • Won't install: "Windows Management Framework Core Setup Error: Setup cannot proceed. Windows Management Framework Core is already installed on your system." – OverTheRainbow Jan 9 '13 at 15:27

ConEmu has some neat features, like custom key binding and macros

  • Thanks for the tip. I didn't find how to select text from the console using the mouse. – OverTheRainbow Jan 9 '13 at 15:09
  • Go to Settings>Mark & Paste and enable text selection as Always – kb_sou Jan 9 '13 at 15:19
  • Thanks but it's the default setting, and it doesn't do what I want: Select any text with the mouse like cmd.exe, but not paste it at the end. Hard to explain. I'll ask in their forum before giving up. – OverTheRainbow Jan 9 '13 at 15:32
  • This feature was added later than the stable version I installed ( Installing the latest Alpha release does show this feature. Thank you. – OverTheRainbow Jan 10 '13 at 11:52
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    "Stable" build allows selection with mouse "from the box". By default, you must hold LeftShift and drag mouse with left button pressed to select text, or hold LeftAlt and drag mouse to select block. You may choose any modifiers or turn them off completely. Last "alpha" allow to start text/block selection with Shift+Arrow. – Maximus Jan 13 '13 at 18:03

TCC/LE is an actual cmd.exe replacement in that it is an entirely new command interpreter with 100+ additional commands, 600+ additional parameters, variable functions, native editing on the command line, and much more (like a way better help system). It's also 100% cmd.exe compatible.

It supports copy/paste on the prompt itself, Ctrl+V to paste and Ctrl+Y to copy (Ctrl+C is like break in command prompts). Remember to use shift-arrow keys to select. Use "mode con: cols=120 lines=200" or similar to change number of columns and rows. Put that line in your tcstart.btm file to run at prompt startup. The pro version has a GUI that you can just resize the window.

Most other cmd.exe replacements are actually standard in/out redirection replacements that sit on top of cmd.exe. It's still just cmd.exe underneath, with the same limitation on the number of commands and parameters. Type "ver" to see that. I've heard a of combining TCC/LE with a GUI shell like ConEmu.

I wrote this blog post review of Take Command as I'm a bit of a fanboy. hope it helps


Did you know that you can change cmd.exe's window width? Just go to properties for cmd.exe's window, Layout tab, and change Buffer and Window widths to whatever number you need. It doesn't have to be limited to 80 chars.

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