Tweak the DOS box in XP

Tweak the DOS box in XP

Sometimes you need to run the DOS-style command prompt … for instance, when you want to use some of the stripped-down commands that XP includes. For a full use-with-care listing, create a shortcut.

Right-click any spare area of your desktop, select New/Shortcut and, when you’re invited to … enter the location of the item … type this (all on one line):

%windir%\hh.exe ms-its:c:\Windows\Help\ntcmds.chm::/ntcmds.htm

Name the shortcut Command Listing, or whatever you like.

That will give you a help file … complete with a yellow ? … containing all the command-line commands in XP, and boy, are there a lot of them.

In Windows 98/ME it’s possible to change the size and appearance of the DOS box by using the command icons along the top of the window. In XP, you get a lot more control.

Open the Command Prompt window … it’s no longer called the MS-DOS Prompt box … in the usual way by clicking Start/All Programs/Accessories/Command Prompt … or by typing “command” (no quotes) in the Start/Run box.

Now, when the window opens, click on the tiny icon in its top left corner (it looks like c:\ on black) nicely hidden isn’t it? From the dropdown menu, go to Properties, and you’ll see a load of changeable settings, including the colour of the background and the text, the font used, and more.

These changes will improve performance a little:
Go to the Options tab. Under the Command History, change the Buffer Size to 999 (this enables scrolling through the window) and Number of Buffers to 5 (this increases the number of lines you can have in the Command Prompt window to 5,000).

Under Edit Options, tick the Quick Edit Mode and Insert Mode checkboxes if not already ticked; that enables copy and past to and from the Command Prompt window. To copy something from the window (you just done a “ping” and you want to show the world), select the text by clicking the left mouse button and dragging to highlight the text and then right-click. The highlight will disappear, but don’t worry you really have copied that text. To paste inside the Command Prompt window, just right-click.

Outside the Command Prompt window the normal procedures apply … right-click and select Copy or Paste as appropriate.WARNING: If you don’t know what your doing in the Command Prompt window … type “exit” (no quotes), this will close the window.

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