Anyone know why doesn't the Windows command prompt window maximize to the full screen size?

To the best of my knowledge, even in the new Windows 7 the command prompt window(cmd.exe) doesn't maximize to the full screen size like all other windows. This behavior is quite annoying for me, and I'm sure to many others as well.

Note: The size of the command prompt window can be changed, but the size remains fixed regardless of the screen size.

  • Microsoft spits in our faces. I installed GitBash and now I can write scripts that run on all OSs - Windows, Mac and Linux. May 18 '15 at 7:37

By default, each line of the command prompt's buffer is only 80 characters wide. If a program produces an output line of more than 80 characters, it is split into multiple lines of the buffer, so there's no point to having a command prompt window more than 80 characters wide.

You can change the size of the buffer on XP by going to the system menu > Properties > Layout tab > Screen Buffer Size. I usually leave mine set at 500x999 because I hate the default line wrapping (I prefer scrolling). A side effect of this is that you can now maximize the window to the full screen size.


You can get around this by wrapping cmd.exe within Console2.


  • nice shell. what's your prompt? :)
    – n611x007
    Sep 5 '13 at 13:24
  • @naxa: I got that image from the web, but that's PowerShell there, but you can see other tabs for bash, Metasploit, VMware vSphere and Python as well.
    – paradroid
    Sep 9 '13 at 16:02
  • thanks for pointing this interesting info out! however I meant this part by 'prompt': [C:\]<newline><count># , where <count># is yellow. Not sure if this is a powershell default but I don't think so.
    – n611x007
    Sep 9 '13 at 16:51
  • 1
    @naxa: You can easily change that. In this answer I mention how to change the colours, but to do the same with the prompt you need to use the prompt function superuser.com/a/417552/8972. Just use search here or on StackOverflow.
    – paradroid
    Sep 9 '13 at 17:00

The reason is that the command prompt is owned by a specific subsystem (csrss.exe) in the windows architecture which is different from the normal Windows subsystem (win32k.sys). Because of this, command prompt windows behave differently then normal windows. You'll note that amongst other annoying behavior, that setting properties for a prompt will only apply to prompts launched via whatever method that particular prompt was launched with.

Why this is, I have no earthly idea.


In Windows 10, Alt+Enter makes the command prompt go full-screen.

  1. Open command prompt
  2. Type "wmic" (without quotes) and enter
  3. Now you can use [Maximize] button to maximize the command prompt window.
  4. Type "exit" (without quotes) and enter
  • Please read the question again carefully. Your answer does not answer the original question. OP was asking about maximizing a cmd window. Your method leaves the cmd window at it's old size next time you run it. The question has nothing to do with git bash.
    – DavidPostill
    Jun 22 '15 at 8:41

You can press Alt + Enter to toggle full screen.

Edit: This applies only to Windows XP and earlier. This information is five years old.

Edit again: This also applies to Windows 10. The previous edit is now five years old. How long can I keep the chain alive?

  • 3
    Not as of Vista. Dec 7 '09 at 19:02
  • Good to know. I've not used any version of Windows more recent than XP.
    – recursive
    Dec 7 '09 at 20:06
  • 1
    And it looks unnaturally ugly. Wide fonts, ugh ...
    – Rook
    Dec 7 '09 at 23:50
  • My console windows are 120×45 ... have fun using that in fullscreen mode :-)
    – Joey
    Dec 8 '09 at 1:29
  • 1
    It works for Windows 10 as well.
    – dawciobiel
    Apr 10 '20 at 8:00

Here the ALT+ENTER fullscreen has returned in Windows 10. But in Windows Vista and 7 you can't do that. For that you need display drivers from Windows XP. But if you do that you will lose Aero and stunning GPU effects. That will be a terrible idea so do at your own Risk. BTW I use ConEmu much, it can go fullscreen.


You can try DOSBox to make cmd.exe go full screen.

  • 8
    No you can't. DOSBox is an MS-DOS emulator.
    – paradroid
    Oct 19 '12 at 22:35

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