Learn What IT Pros Need to Know About Windows 11 - August 24th at 1 PM ET! Learn What IT Pros Need to Know About Windows 11 - August 24th at 1 PM ET!
Windows 10

Open a Command Prompt in Full Screen in Windows 10

In previous versions of Microsoft Windows, you could open the command prompt in a full screen, which allowed some old DOS applications to function this way. For example, Windows XP had an option in the command prompt properties that allowed you to run it in a full screen.

Note: This article was written during the Windows 10 Technical Preview build phase.

The Windows XP 'Command Prompt' Properties window. (Image: Daniel Petri)
The Windows XP ‘Command Prompt’ Properties window. (Image: Daniel Petri)

However, in Windows Vista — was there such an operating system? I cannot remember :-) — you could no longer enter full screen in command prompt. This was due to the fact that display device drivers stopped the support for running all DOS video modes, which is why we had to settle with a resizable window.

In Windows 8, if you look at the command prompt properties, you can clearly see that the option to run it in full screen is no longer present.

Sponsored Content

Read the Best Personal and Business Tech without Ads

Staying updated on what is happening in the technology sector is important to your career and your personal life but ads can make reading news, distracting. With Thurrott Premium, you can enjoy the best coverage in tech without the annoying ads.

The Windows 8 Command Prompt Properties window. (Image: Daniel Petri)
The Windows 8 Command Prompt Properties window. (Image: Daniel Petri)

With Windows 10 now, Microsoft has brought the ability to open the command prompt in a full screen.

How to Open a Command Prompt in Full Screen in Windows 10

To use the command prompt in full screen in Windows 10, do the following:

1. Open a new command prompt window by launching the appropriate shortcut from the Start menu or page. You can also type “cmd” and press Enter into the Start menu search box. Your command prompt should launch as usual in a resizable window:

A command prompt in Windows 10. (Image Credit: Daniel Petri)
A command prompt in Windows 10. (Image Credit: Daniel Petri)

 

2. Inside the command prompt, press both ALT + Enter keys. You can see that this now makes the command prompt enter into full screen mode, as the following image shows.

Command prompt in full-screen mode in Windows 10. (Image Credit: Daniel Petri)
Command prompt in full-screen mode in Windows 10. (Image Credit: Daniel Petri)

3. You can press ALT + Enter again to switch back to the smaller, resizable window mode.

The same key combination works when using command prompt with elevated credentials.

In Windows 7 or 8, there is no such thing as a real full window, so you cannot use the same method. If you want to run the command prompt in a full maximized windows in either of these operating systems, then you need to use a workaround that will be almost as good, but not quite the real thing.

A Microsoft article says the following about the topic:

“You may be able to work around this problem by installing the Microsoft Windows XP version of the video drivers for your video adapter. Contact the manufacturer of your video adapter for more information about how to obtain the Windows XP version of the video drivers for your video adapter.”

Personally, I would not advise to run an old display adapter driver that was made for an operating system that was released more than 10 years ago.

One method is to change the screen buffer options of the CMD shortcut to match exactly those of your screen. For example, I use a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 on my Windows 8.1 computer:

Screen resolution options in Windows 8. (Image Credit: Daniel Petri)
Screen resolution options in Windows 8. (Image Credit: Daniel Petri)

To get a command prompt window that will fill up my screen, I can change the window size values to 1920 x 1080:

Changing command prompt width and height properties. (Image Credit: Daniel Petri)
Changing command prompt width and height properties. (Image Credit: Daniel Petri)

Another method to run command prompt in a full window in Windows 7 or 8 is to type the following command in a regular CMD window:

wmic

CMD window.

You can double-click the CMD window title to expand the window to fill the screen.

Then, in the WMIC prompt type:

quit

Now you can run regular CLI commands. This isn’t as good as the full screen, but it’s as close as you can get in Windows 7 or 8.

Related Topics:

BECOME A PETRI MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Sign up for a Petri Account

Register
Comments (3)

3 responses to “Open a Command Prompt in Full Screen in Windows 10”

  1. Mick Levin

    Good to know that the ALT-ENTER trick was removed from Windows 8 - I do not even recall when did I use it last time, despite very old times of Windows 3.11... If it is coming back in Windows 10 as a shortcut to maximize the CMD screen - both width and height - that'd be a good direction in "GUI-ing" the CMD window. However I must note the error in this article - the window size of CMD is measured in symbols, not pixels. Thus setting up the ridiculously high and wide window for CMD does not make it full-screen. In order to make it properly covering max screen area one must use the preview on the left from the numbers, and find a set of height and width to be as close to the max as possible, *but not more than that*. Also I wanted to give out my personal trick here - set the buffer height always to the max (I just press 5 or 6 times the key '9'), to allow the scroll-up history for any output you get in that window as much as possible. Helps reviewing the large outputs without redirecting to a text file. Have fun sharping your "DOS skills", as one colleague of mine called that!
  2. Guest

    This option has been removed from Windows Vista.

Leave a Reply

Register for Advanced Microsoft 365 Day!

GET-IT: Advanced Microsoft 365 1-Day Virtual Conference - Live August 24th!

Join us on Tuesday, August 24th and hear from Microsoft MVPs and industry experts about how to take advantage of Microsoft 365 at a technical level and dive deep into the features and functionality that will make your environment more secure and compliant.

RSVP Now

Sponsored By