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Sometimes I forget how the exact syntax of a CMD command looks and then I would like to search my own CMD history. Clearly, within the same session, you can browse it with the up and down arrow keys but what about the history of former CMD sessions? Is there a file, a log the history gets written to or does it all go to digital Nirvana?


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6 Answers

No, Windows command prompt history can't be saved when a session ends.

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for real? how do you know this? Sorry for questioning you, I guess you are right but how can u know unless u programmed the damn thing ;) –  raoulsson Dec 18 '09 at 0:08
Ok, let me rephrase :-) The Windows command interpreter ("cmd.exe") doesn't provide any support for saving/exporting/keeping history, of, if it does, Microsoft didn't document it and nobody was ever able to find it. You can of course try to work around that, like Sean suggested, but there's (or does appear to be) no built-in support for this. –  Massimo Dec 18 '09 at 6:17
You can press F7 to see a history list of the current session. –  jftuga Feb 14 '11 at 13:20
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Not natively but check out: http://mridgers.github.io/clink/ , makes cmd.exe much more productive. Quoting features from the project page:

Powerful Bash-like line editing from GNU's Readline library.
Superior path completion (TAB).
Paste from clipboard (Ctrl-V).
Support for the completion of executables/commands, and environment variables.
Undo/Redo (Ctrl-_ or Ctrl-X, Ctrl-U)
Improved command line history.
Persists across sessions.
Searchable (Ctrl-R and Ctrl-S).
History expansion (e.g. !!, !<string>, and !$).
Scriptable completion using Lua.
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Massimo is correct that your command prompt history does not persist across sessions. You could manually grab this before closing your prompt by typing doskey /history > history.txt

Or... you could use PowerShell as your CMD prompt, and follow this post to persist your history across sessions.

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Command History: To enable a command history (that can be accessed using the up and down arrow keys) just execute doskey at the command prompt. For example, to create a command history of 100 elements:

doskey /listsize=100


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That doesn't answer the question at all?? –  Chopper3 Feb 14 '11 at 13:27
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It is possible to save the current history to file,

`$ doskey /history > somefile.txt`

But it seems there is no way to load it back as history. It is possible only to use a command line argument to load and execute all lines,

cmd.exe /K somefile.txt

, what can be useful to load a list of doskey macros. This invocation could be included in a shortcut so you don't need to type it everytime; this reference has some additional info on this approach.

There is a similar question on Superuser that bring some alternatives, including clink, as suggested by @RobertBak.

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This can also be useful: https://code.google.com/p/clink/ It is opensource and very fast AND: it has built-in history!

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