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I'm not a sysadmin, but I use a Windows 2003 server at work fairly often for testing purposes, and I'm always annoyed by the limitations of the standard Windows console terminal.

Is there some "industry standard" tool that I don't know about, to replace this terminal with a more fully-featured one? What is the best 3rd party Windows console, if any? Are there any good free/open source tools for this?

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7 Answers 7

up vote 13 down vote accepted

You should check out Windows Powershell.


You could also try Cygwin if you're partial to Linux.


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Powershell it is. –  Troy Nichols May 1 '09 at 5:08
you could also use MSYS (mingw.org/wiki/MSYS) –  Brad Gilbert May 6 '09 at 14:03

Well if you're after a better command line, you could use powershell instead. It gives you a lot of power, including the functionality of the .NET framework at the command line

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Unintentional bad pun alert –  Glenn Slaven May 1 '09 at 4:45

Powershell is the first option. If you're coming over from the *nix side of the house, consider cygwin.

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Not covered in Graeme's response is QuickEdit mode. When I first set up a machine I always enable QuickEdit mode and make the buffer and window sizes much bigger - it makes working with the prompt much nice.

QuickEdit mode lets you copy and past in an xterm like way by just selecting with the left mouse and copying with the right mouse (if nothing is selected right mouse will paste).

To turn on QuickEdit mode right click on the menu bar (or left click on the icon on the menu bar) and go to properties. QuickEdit is on the Options page and the window and buffer sizes are on the Layout page.

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project called console at Sourceforge is good

Is good

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I checked out Powershell previously but found it suffered from many of the same annoyances as the bog standard cmd window.

I found PowerCmd which although you have to pay for it I find it well worth the money.

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What annoyances are these? I even find the bog standard command shell rather powerful, if fed the right stuff ^^ –  Oskar Duveborn May 20 '09 at 12:42
No Copy and Paste is a big glaring annoyance. –  Toby Allen May 26 '09 at 14:57
No copy and paste, since when? See here: microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/… Granted, it copies a rectangular area of console text, rather than copying lines, but it's still not "no copy and paste". –  ThatGraemeGuy May 30 '09 at 7:01

In addition to Cygwin, there also is UnixUtils

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