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.
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.
With Windows 10 now, Microsoft has brought the ability to open the command prompt in a full screen.
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:
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.
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:
To get a command prompt window that will fill up my screen, I can change the window size values to 1920 x 1080:
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:
You can double-click the CMD window title to expand the window to fill the screen.
Then, in the WMIC prompt type:
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.