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Use command-prompt properties to increase screen buffer

Use command-prompt properties to increase screen buffer
Tony Hallihan

This tip is excerpted from the Microsoft web site.


As good as GUI interfaces are, many professional people in Computer Support and Information Technology would rather live on the command line. Many utilities, though, use all sorts of esoteric switches that can be hard to remember.

One way to find out those switches is by using "program_name /?", but often you'll get back more information than the screen buffer can hold. [It happens in other situations, too, such as directory listings.] One solution is using "program_name /? | more". Another solution is to dump the output to a text file using program_name /? > text_file_name.txt.

A better way in Windows 2000 (also in Windows NT 4.0) is to change the command-window Properties.

Here's how:


  • Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, then click Command Prompt.
  • Right-click anywhere on the title bar of the Command Prompt window, then click Properties.
  • On the Layout tab, under Screen Buffer Size, increase the Height value. 100 seems about right for me. Click OK.
  • In the dialogue box that then appears, choose "Modify shortcut that started this window" to make this change permanent for future Command Prompt windows started from the Command Prompt icon on the Start Menu.
  • Click OK.

You now have a scrollable command window.


Tony Hallihan is a division manager at DBS Computer & Support Group, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

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One are where the command line excels is being able to quickly enter commands for configuration, installation, setup, or update of libraries.  For example, its a lot easier for me, to keep a list of cribbed commands I can paste into a terminal to setup an environment, very quickly, than to go through a more rigourous process of doing it through clicking on a GUI.

GUIs still have their place, but I think a lot of command line tools are highly valuable.  for example see tools like Chocalatey (which has a GUI), or Cygwin (For Windows), or the likes of Yum, or Apt Get on Linux based systems.
I think what could be the next wave are applications that are slighly scriptable. More than VBA in MS Office applications, but the ability to run commands, call APIs, and quickly consume that data in some apps could be a lot better.