In XP, I can go to text mode in cmd.exe with alt+enter. This is when it goes full screen (no windows, no graphics - it uploads a raster font to the hardware). No longer works in Windows 7. What happened to text mode? Can I get it back in Windows 7 via some other way?

If not, to be able to mourn, what is the API change that makes it impossible and when did it ship?

edit I've read Why doesn't the Windows command prompt window maximize to the full screen size? but that question is about maximizing the graphical mode console window. My question is different, as I'm asking about the different text mode (a different hw mode).

  • 3
    @techie007 this is not a duplicate. the other question says: to the full screen size like all other windows. the answers also talk about buffer sizes and window sizes, that are properties of the windowed, graphical version of cmd.exe. From this you can conclude that these questions are about different things. as I'm asking about the text mode.
    – n611x007
    Sep 5, 2013 at 14:33
  • 2
    Sorry: this is a better match What are the Requirements for Fullscreen Consoles in Windows 7? also see this answer: superuser.com/a/329755/23133 Sep 5, 2013 at 15:10
  • Thanks, the "what are the reqs." q. is very much related; the answer 23133 is incomplete and not very specific about text mode (it's only mentioning it as kind of a superlative).
    – n611x007
    Sep 5, 2013 at 16:24

4 Answers 4


I believe that the difference is that the WDDM (windows display driver model) drivers introduced with Vista and later have no full-screen support, where the XP display drivers does.


http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/17890-63-full-screen-command-prompt-windows#. first answer: dosbox ... that WILL put your monitor in text mode and leave all graphic mode behind just tested by myself in windows 7 x64 SP1, I installed, started it then press alt+enter

also, "thank you" for "answer" about no full screen support in vista/window 7 ... is a really nice BULLPOOP

PS use it on your own risk, it also changed to windows 7 basic theme (no aero), that is what I suppose means "no full screen in drivers" ... oh well ... windows aero ARE NOT THE DRIVERS ! ... still after exiting dosbox theme come back to normal

so and again (yes, BULLPOOP angers me), as long as you can change resolution with drivers active, TEXT MODE IS JUST ANOTHER RESOLUTION

  • 2
    Use proper sentences and capitalization please, this is a professional site.
    – David
    Nov 28, 2013 at 20:01
  • people exaggerate seriously about caps, I will try next time to use bolds instead of caps, but I only use them to make words "louder", I don't think it hurts, especially when people don't know but scream out loud before using google to check their affirmations, I don't know about you, but I consider that REAL BULLPOOP and a good enough reason to scream louder :) Mar 22, 2018 at 13:38

Even though windows 7 cannot swich to text mode. It doesn't mean that similar effect cannot be achieved in graphic mode. You need following:

  1. Disappear window border
  2. Maximize the window
  3. Change font
  4. Change screen buffer sizes and window buffer size (number of characters on line, and number of lines)
  5. Hide the taskbar and do other maximizing related stuff if nesseccary
  6. Fill few odd pixels on the border of screen where no character can fit with black color
  7. Hook (or somehow intercept) the keyboard shortcut

I created a program which does all of these (mostly by calling winapi functions). But it is not tested on other systems and it might be buggy, so I don't feel about publishing it yet.

But I confirm, that it is possible. (To make the console look almost is in text mode.)


conhost (the default Windows terminal, introduced in Vista and improved in Windows 7) simply do not support fullscreen modes.

You'd have to find a different terminal if you REALLY need one.

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