GT Explains: Difference Between Command Prompt and Powershell

GT Explains: Difference Between Command Prompt and Powershell
The Windows operating system comes with several applications and utilities to help users perform different tasks. In addition to applications, tools such as the Command Prompt (CMD) and PowerShell are often used for error troubleshooting, batch command execution, and system maintenance. But what is the difference between the command prompt and PowerShell?

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On the surface, you can use both tools and many commands are executable on both. But there are subtle differences between these two. In simpler terms, PowerShell is the older brother of CMD and can be used to run most CMD commands, and more.

Let's start.

1. What is the Command Prompt (CMD)?

Windows 95 and 98 came with Command.com, also known as MS-DOS. Users can interact directly with the operating system with the help of text commands. Microsoft then released CMD (Command Prompt) with Windows NT, which was better than previous iterations.

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CMD is mainly used to execute batch commands, interact with the file system (DIR commands) and even solve hard-to-solve system errors.

2. What is PowerShell?

PowerShell was released for the first time in 2006 for Windows XP SP2. PowerShell 2.0 enhanced with Windows 7 brought even more functionality and was backward compatible with many CMD commands. Windows 10 has it as the default command-line tool. PowerShell has taken off with its ability to work with the C # programming language, which also integrates with the .NET Framework.

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This allowed users to write custom scripts that can be used to execute a series of remote commands. You can also use it to automate some administrative tasks, giving you more flexibility than a simple CMD. This is a scripting environment that acts as more than just a shell. In addition, it has a blue background instead of black for some reason.

3. Difference between CMD and PowerShell

CMD is mainly used by system administrators to process batch files, fix some common errors, and repair corrupt system files.

PowerShell takes a new step by allowing administrators to control an entire network and all systems on that network. Unlike CMD, which can only interpret and execute Batch commands, PowerShell can also interpret and execute Batch and PowerShell commands. What is it?

This is where 'cmdlets' come from. They are a group of commands that users can execute with a single command. This group of commands calls scripts. In CMD, you must wait for the previous command to complete before giving the next one. PowerShell saves time and automates the use of scripts in this way.

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While CMD can only work with text, PowerShell has removed Linux command lines and can also work with channels. Tubes allow a cmdlet to share even complex data (output) with another cmdlet (input). This allows administrators to manipulate and transfer data between different programs and even computers on a network by running cmdlets in a defined order.

Make no mistake, if PowerShell is powerful, nowhere else is it as powerful as some command-line tools are supported in Linux distributions.

4. When to use

The CMD is widely used to navigate the system file and folder structure, manage and interact with it, modify properties, and troubleshoot Windows errors. At GT, we often ask our readers to run commands such as SFC (System File Checker) and DISM (Deployment Image Management and Maintenance) to check the integrity of the system files and repair them.

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System administrators prefer PowerShell for data management, especially on a network of computers. In addition, since you run just about all CMD commands in PowerShell, this gives you an edge over the command prompt. In addition, you can run cmdlets that are sets of commands (scripts) that perform administrative functions.

The ability to exploit the .NET Framework code repository opens more possibilities for PowerShell users. You can extract information about running processes (cmdlet get-process), network communication, perform administrative tasks related to the database and even cryptographic algorithms. More suitable for programmers and administrators.

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Then comes the conditional logic in which you can schedule the execution of tasks according to the occurrence of an event, for example. Other examples of conditional logic include parameters such as if, else, for, when, and switch. A simple example can be a cmdlet that closes all applications in the background if the RAM is full or exceeds a certain level of use. Neat, huh?

Although these examples are simple, network administrators use PowerShell for many complex tasks. You do not know how to create your first cmdlet? Do not worry, because PowerShell has a large community of enthusiasts who have shared their cmdlets that you can use.

Power movement

Microsoft TechNet offers a large number of guides, examples, and links to code repositories (such as GitHub). A great place to start your trip. Recently, the new Windows Terminal application for Windows 10 was released, which confused many users. However, Microsoft has clarified that CMD is here to stay. It makes a lot of sense to see how many users still use CMD as the default command-line tool.

Then: Looking for CMD tips and tricks? Click on the link below to find an organized list of 11 interesting CMD orders.

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