PowerShell vs Command Prompt | Top 14 Differences You Should Know (2023)

PowerShell vs Command Prompt | Top 14 Differences You Should Know (1)

Difference Between PowerShell and Command Prompt

Command prompt or cmd is a default application of windows that is used to interact with any windows objects in the windows os. It enables users to directly interact with the system. It is most widely used for executing batch files or running simple utilities. PowerShell is a more advanced version of cmd. It is not only an interface but also a scripting language that is used to carry out administrative tasks more easily. Most of the commands executed on cmd can be run on PowerShell as well. In this post, we will discuss the difference between Powershell vs Command Prompt in detail.

Head-to-Head Comparison Between PowerShell and Command Prompt (Infographics)

Below are the top 14 differences between PowerShell vs Command Prompt:

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(Video) The 14 Differences Between Windows PowerShell & Command Prompt

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PowerShell vs Command Prompt | Top 14 Differences You Should Know (10)

Key Differences between PowerShell and Command Prompt

Let’s discuss some of the major key differences between PowerShell vs Command Prompt:

  • The major key difference between PowerShell and command prompt is understanding what a command or cmdlet does for an average user. An average user will be able to guess what a PowerShell cmdlet is supposed to do just by looking at the cmdlet, as most of the cmdlets are very easy to interpret because they follow an easy convention of a verb- followed by a noun.
  • cmdlets follow the verb-noun convention, the first part of any cmdlet will specify the type of action the cmdlet is going to perform, i.e. get, set, or add, and since it is followed by a noun, it will denote what the action will perform.
  • PowerShell has a Get-help command that will help the user with all the available commands, syntax, and aliases. Some examples of cmdlets are Add-Content, Get-Content, and Get-Command. It is easier for an average user to understand what the above cmdlets will perform just by looking at them. On the other hand, let’s look at some of the cmd commands driver query, cipher, assoc. The commands are not easily recognizable for an average user.
  • Another difference between PowerShell and cmd lies in their usage of them. Cmd is used primarily to execute batch commands and do some primary troubleshooting, whereas PowerShell can be used for executing batch commands as well as administrative purposes.
  • Scripts can also be written in PowerShell to automate the tasks. PowerShell also has an ISE which makes it easier to write and debug scripts. Cmd cannot be used to interact with system objects in the core, whereas since PowerShell is built on the .net platform, it can interact with windows objects even at the core level.
  • Cmd works only with text. PowerShell is like Linux, and it works with pipes. This means that the output of one cmdlet can be passed on to another cmdlet. This ensures that interaction between different programs in a system is possible or even interaction among different systems connected in a network.
  • PowerShell provides the user with the ability to create aliases for the cmdlets or scripts, allowing them to switch back and forth between them in a seemingly easy manner. The output in PowerShell is an object.

PowerShell vs Command Prompt Comparison Table

Let’s discuss the topmost comparison between PowerShell vs Command Prompt:

PowerShellCommand Prompt
PowerShell was introduced in the year 2006.cmd was introduced in the year 1981.
It can be opened from run by typing PowerShell.It can be opened from the run by typing cmd.
It can operate with both batch commands and PowerShell cmdlets.It can work only with Batch commands.
It provides the ability to create aliases for cmdlets or scripts. This can help the user to navigate between the functions easily.It doesn’t support the creation of aliases of commands.
Output from a cmdlet can be passed to other cmdlets.Output from a command can’t be passed on to other commands.
Output is in the form of an objectOutput from a command is just text.
Can execute a sequence of cmdlets put together in a script.In cmd, a command must be finished before the next command is run.
Help command is available to get information regarding any cmdlets.No such help option is available for information regarding commands.
It has an ISE.There is only a command-line interface, no separate ISE.
It has access to programming libraries as it is built on .net framework.No such access to libraries.
It can integrate directly with WMI.We need some external plugins for WMI interaction.
I can connect with Microsoft cloud products.It doesn’t have the ability to connect with MS online products.
Supports Linux Systems.It doesn’t support Linux systems.
It can be used to run all types of programs.It can run only console-type programs.

Examples ofPowerShell vs Command Prompt

Let us see some basic operations that can be done by both using cmd and PowerShell with their syntax.

1. To change the directory location

  • Cmd command: cd /d D:\testfolder
  • Powershell cmdlet: Set-Location ” D:\testfolder”

Output: Both commands change the location from the current directory to the test folder in the D drive.

(Video) Difference between Command Prompt and Powershell in Windows 10

2.To list all the files in a directory

  • Cmd command: dir
  • Powershell cmdlet: Get-Childitem

Output: The above will display the files that are present in the current directory

3. Renaming a file

  • Cmd command: rename c: \old.txt new.txt
  • Powershell cmdlet: Rename-Item “c:\file.txt” -NewName “new.txt”

Output: The above commands will rename the file to be desired.

4.Accessing the help command

  • Cmd command: help [commandname] [/?]
  • Powershell cmdlet: Get-Help “Cmdlet name”

Output: Both display the syntax and helpful information related to the command/cmdlet mentioned.

5. Stop a process

  • Cmd command: Stop-Process -Name “ProcessName”
  • Powershell cmdlet: Stop-Process -Name ” ApplicationName “

Output: Both stop the mentioned process from running.

6.Shutdown local system

  • Cmd command: shutdown /s
  • Powershell cmdlet: Stop-Computer

Output: Both shuts down the local system

7. Restart the local system

  • Cmd command: shutdown /r
  • Powershell cmdlet: Restart-Computer

Output: Both restarts down the local system

8. Get ip address

  • Cmd command: ipconfig
  • Powershell cmdlet: Test-Connection -ComputerName (hostname)

Output: Both return the ip address of the system

(Video) PowerShell vs. Command Prompt (cmd)


Thus, the article covered various aspects of command prompt and PowerShell. From a broader perspective, it would be better to start learning PowerShell as it is relatively new when compared with the command prompt, and Microsoft is working on enhancing the features of PowerShell. Powershell is built on the .net framework hence it has access to multiple libraries, making it easier to connect with multiple systems. Finally, PowerShell is the go-to tool for administrators as it helps in automating various mundane tasks.

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(Video) what is the difference between windows PowerShell and command prompt


(Video) Powershell Basics : CMD vs Powershell


What is the most significant difference between PowerShell and command prompt? ›

The most notable advantage of using PowerShell over the command prompt is PowerShell's extensibility. While you can create tools for both by writing scripts, the command prompt is limited as an interpreter.

How would you differentiate between a PowerShell and a command prompt? ›

Moreover, PowerShell is based on the . NET framework and can interact with any Windows objects, even core ones, unlike command prompt, which was not designed for system administration. While interacting with these objects, an administrator can create their own cmdlets in PowerShell to automate everyday tasks.

What are 5 differences between PowerShell and command prompt? ›

Difference Between Command prompt and PowerShell
Windows PowerShellWindows Command Prompt
It treats output as objects.It treats output as plain text.
Can run a set of commands simultaneously in the form of a script.Runs one command at a time.
It has an Integrated Scripting Environment(ISE).Doesn't have any ISE.
8 more rows

Can I use PowerShell instead of CMD? ›

For those who prefer using Command Prompt, you can opt out of the Windows Logo Key + X change by opening Settings > Personalization > Taskbar, and turning off, Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right-click the start button or press Windows key+X.

What are 3 benefits of PowerShell? ›

Top 12 Advantages of PowerShell
  • Extensible format system. Using PowerShell, it is straightforward for a user to format his input and get an output however he wants. ...
  • Built-in data formats. ...
  • Extended type system. ...
  • Secure scripting engine. ...
  • Self-service development. ...
  • Consistent API. ...
  • Easy automation. ...
  • Cross-product composability.
Aug 26, 2022

Can PowerShell run all CMD commands? ›

PowerShell is a command-line shell and a scripting language used for automation. Similar to other shells, like bash on Linux or the Windows Command Shell ( cmd.exe ), PowerShell lets you to run any command available on your system, not just PowerShell commands.

What are the benefits of using command-line tools such as PowerShell or CLI? ›

Using detailed commands through a command-line interface can be faster and more efficient than scrolling across GUI tabs and dialogs. This can be particularly powerful when handling highly repetitive tasks across many systems, and it demonstrates the advantages of a command-line interface.

What is Command Prompt in simple words? ›

In Windows operating systems, the Command Prompt is a program that emulates the input field in a text-based user interface screen with the Windows Graphical User Interface (GUI). It can be used to execute entered commands and perform advanced administrative functions.

How do I learn PowerShell scripting from scratch? ›

  1. Basic familiarity with using a command-line shell like Command Prompt or Git Bash.
  2. Visual Studio Code.
  3. Ability to install Visual Studio Code extensions.
  4. Ability to install software on your computer, if you're not using a Windows operating system.
  5. Familiarity with running commands in PowerShell.

What can PowerShell do that CMD Cannot? ›

Another difference between PowerShell and cmd lies in their usage of them. Cmd is used primarily to execute batch commands and do some primary troubleshooting, whereas PowerShell can be used for executing batch commands as well as administrative purposes. Scripts can also be written in PowerShell to automate the tasks.

What is PowerShell best used for? ›

As a scripting language, PowerShell is commonly used for automating the management of systems. It is also used to build, test, and deploy solutions, often in CI/CD environments. PowerShell is built on the . NET Common Language Runtime (CLR).

Is CMD obsolete? ›

The Windows Cmd / Command-Line shell is NOT being removed from Windows in the near or distant future! The Cmd shell remains an essential part of Windows, and is used daily by millions of businesses, developers, and IT Pro's around the world.

What is the difference between command-line and command prompt? ›

Windows Command Prompt (also known as the command line, cmd.exe or simply cmd) is a command shell based on the MS-DOS operating system from the 1980s that enables a user to interact directly with the operating system.

What is the difference between PowerShell and Windows PowerShell? ›

There are few differences in the PowerShell language between Windows PowerShell and PowerShell. The most notable differences are in the availability and behavior of PowerShell cmdlets between Windows and non-Windows platforms and the changes that stem from the differences between the . NET Framework and . NET Core.

What is the difference between CMD and command prompt? ›

"Command Prompt" is the formal name of the console application under windows. "cmd.exe" (or just "cmd") is the name of the executable binary file of that same application.

What is the difference between CMD and command? ›

command has the same purposes as cmd except that it only supports 16-bit programs. In addition, it does not support . cmd files and has fewer built-in commands and is more limited in its syntax ( cmd is a newer, more modern, more advanced command-line interpreter, similar to 4DOS).


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