Jul 072010

Almost all Windows power users use the command prompt from time to time. cmd.exe can execute precision commands, browse, and filter very efficiently if used correctly. However, for Unix users, the command prompt is just plain weak, prompting many to install Cygwin.

But just today, I discovered that cmd.exe has some awesome keyboard shortcuts. They have again made the daily experience of using Microsoft’s command prompt bearable again. Even interesting.
Here’s a summary of my discoveries:
F2: Pastes whatever is in the cmd buffer up until the character you type next, and advances the cursor there.
F3: Pastes the rest of the buffer from the buffer’s cursor.
F4: Deletes from the current cursor to the specified character you type next.
F5: Copies the buffer to the command line.
F7: Displays a reverse-sorted, selectable history of recent commands.
F8: Super useful tool that displays a list of all commands you’ve typed that have a similar beginning to your current command. I actually wish Unix had something similar.
F9: Choose a command to run (from the list in the F7 list). This one is really useful if you have a sequence of commands that you run over and over again. You could write a batch script, but with this shortcut, you could just use the same combination of F9-x over and over again, where x is the number of commands in your sequence.
Let me know if you know any others!

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