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Waylon Walker
Waylon Walker

Posted on • Originally published at

History in cmd.exe

I spend a lot of my time at the terminal for my daily work, mostly in Linux or wsl. One big reason for using wsl over cmd.exe is the ease of walking through history that fzf provides. This week we had a windows bug in a cli and I was stuck in vanilla cmd.exe 😭

> Cmder

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First off if you are stuck using cmd.exe, do yourself a favor and get cmder. It makes life just a bit easier. It is super confugurable and comes with several power ups that make it a bit more enjoyable than cmd.exe.


F7 - Scroll through history

F8 - Search history based


Example Gif


The next simple technique is to save your commands into a .bat file. Any valid command ran with cmd.exe can be saved into a bat file and called again later by running it in the terminal.

save your command

use f7/f8 to get your command back add > filename.bat at the end, hit the home key and add echo to the front. Do not wrap with quotes. This is not bash.

echo python > cmd_example.bat
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>> append

echo python >> cmd_example.bat
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type not cat

To ensure that you got the command right... and didn't forget that you were in cmd.exe instead of bash and add quotes. you will want to see the file contents. For this reach for type not cat.

type cmd_example.bat
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Original Post

This was originally posed on my personal blog on January 23, 2020.

Your quick tips

Let me know what quick cmd.exe tips you have down below 👇

Top comments (2)

rmcguinn profile image
Ryan McGuinn

Going back to vanilla CMD is so painful after using Cmder. I carry it on a small usb drive on my keys so I never have to use vanilla CMD no matter which PC I'm on haha.

waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

Amen to that! I don't know how anyone does it, I just had to do it for a bit of testing and it was painful.