Everything About Powershell And Command Prompt In Windows

Windows has two types of shells which are the Command shell and the PowerShell. Each of which is a software program that provides direct communication between the user and the OS (Operating System) or application being used, by providing an environment to automate the IT operations.

The PowerShell and CMD have very different commands and the latter is comparatively less complicated as well as less efficient. In this article, we will discuss the difference between  PowerShell and CMD in terms of functioning and design.


PowerShell is a task-based command-line shell and scripting language for the system administration based on .NET Framework that is much powerful than Windows Command Prompt (CMD). The prominence of PowerShell has increased such that it has been made the default choice in Windows 10.

The PowerShell can be further explained to be the enhanced version of the Command shell and the commands of PowerShell are called the ‘Cmdlets’. The cmdlets are used to pipe objects between them for more complex data processing.

Command Prompt (CMD)

The Windows Command Prompt was the first shell designed to perform the automatic tasks conducted in routine like regular backups and managing the user accounts. It was the primary command shell designed followed by the PowerShell.

The commands used in Command Prompt are called the ‘cmd’ and along with Windows Script Host sophisticated scripts could be run easily. It offers the command line abilities in the MS-DOS through an interface.

Check this out to know about the must-know prompts of CMD: 20 Useful Command Prompt Shortcuts For Windows

PowerShell vs CMD

Now that we have got a clear idea about what exactly are these shells let us now understand how they differ from each other. There are major differences between the PowerShell and CMD commands which will be covered here. 

  • PowerShell is much more complicated and sophisticated than the Command prompt but at the same time, it is way more efficient.
  • The commands of both the shells can be performed in the PowerShell but the Command prompt cannot perform commands other than its own. Example of a task performed by PowerShell but not by command prompt: The ‘cmdlets’ of PowerShell can access and manage the registry in Windows.
  • PowerShell can perform batch commands as well as PowerShell commands.
  • When compared to PowerShell, the CMD is considered to be a poor programming language as assigning or defining modern control structures, variables, and values to them. Whereas PowerShell has a better structural flow.
  • The PowerShell can perform tasks directly and approach the CMD or any other new external program for non-direct tasks. Hence, it is a much advanced and user-friendly type of command shell.
  • PowerShell is as good as the shells used for LINUX and the similar operating systems as it transfers and returns OBJECTS as a result whereas CMD returns only text results.
  • The OBJECTS obtained as results by PowerShell can be transferred as a command for the further task, that is, the output of a task can be used as input for the consecutive task. This is not possible with CMD.
  • PowerShell has better error handling and is highly extensive. It has now evolved with thousands of cmdlets and functions, making it competitive with programming languages like Perl.

Hence we can conclude based on these differences that PowerShell is the powerful tool that has helped the IT professionals and users to control as well as automate the Windows OS and applications in it much efficiently.

Read about: Installing Linux Terminal For Windows: Know All About It

Let us now proceed with the steps involved to use the PowerShell command in the Command Prompt of the Windows.

How to use Windows PowerShell?

To use the PowerShell in Command Prompt follow these steps:

  • Open the Command Prompt by using the shortcut Windows Key + X followed by ‘C’(if a user) or ‘A’ (if an administrator) and type PowerShell.
  • To identify the initiation of the PowerShell check whether are prefix ‘PS’ is added to the prompt.
  • Use the various commands along with the ‘PowerShell.exe’ extension to perform tasks. For example:
    1. To open the PowerShell help file use the ‘PowerShell.exe -help or -? or -?’ command.
    2. To initiate a session, use the ‘PowerShell.exe -ExecutionPolicy Restricted’. You can start the session by choosing a particular execution policy that you want.
    3. Finally, to terminate a PowerShell session in the Command Prompt type the ‘exit’ command.
  • If you are using the latest versions of Windows, that is, the versions after Windows 7 then you can directly open the PowerShell prompt by:
    1. Right-click the ‘Start’ menu.
    2. Search for the PowerShell option and click on it to open the prompt dialog box.

Click here to know more about how to install PowerShell in the various operating systems and other details.

The PowerShell as mentioned earlier can perform all the CMD tasks and even more. Apart from being a command prompt, this is an extensive command-line environment that can be used to develop complicated scripts and advance managing system for your operating system (OS).

This has equipped Windows to perform multiple tasks and rename more than one file in a single time which was possible in Linux from the beginning.

Enable and Disable the PowerShell 2.0 features:

  • Go to the search panel and search for the ‘Control Panel’ tab.
  • Select the ‘Programs and Features’ option.
  • On the left-hand side, you will find a list of options. Choose the ‘Turn Windows Features On or Off’ option.
  • As Windows PowerShell is enabled by default, uncheck the PowerShell option to disable it and click on the ‘Ok’ button.
  • You can enable it similarly by checking it again and confirming with the ‘Ok’ option.
  • Click on the ‘Close’ option to finish the process.

Click here to know other alternatives to enable and disable the features.

In this article, we have covered all the topics related to PowerShell and CMD such that their differences, uses, and techniques to control them have been explained. Hope you can now understand the importance of the advancement in the command line prompt and would alter your operating system management in the way you prefer!


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