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Lately I spend more and more time in command prompt. Compiling, running NAnt scripts, even updating my source base from Subversion and so on. So I wanted to spice my black window a little bit.

Pimping regular Windows command prompt is rather boring. There are some things you can do to make it better, but even substituting a font with something other that default couple of fonts looks impossible. I didn’t get very far in this field so I looked beyond command prompt and cmd.exe.

I still remember 4DOS which I used heavily in the good old days of MS-DOS and DR-DOS and even Windows 3.x. To my surprise I found out the project is still alive and evolving at JPSoft. 4NT, which is current version would probably come in handy but it’s not all that cheap. I find a price of $70 a bit too much for a command line interface in the times of 3D GUIs! There is a free 4DOS version, but that’s just 16–bit and not very useful.

Later I found a free program called Console that I currently use and I love it. It is nice, simple, fast, customizable and free. It has some really nice features like crazy quasi-transparent background, pulsating cursors, mini semi-transparent mode and so on. It’s written by Marko Bozikovic, who looks like a really smart guy! Can’t wait until he puts out Console 2 which is at demo level right now!

Console Screenshot

Next I found a shareware substitute called PromptPal and I’m still testing it. Looks quite nice, it’s customizable, has tabs (!) and funky interface where input and output can be split (I don’t like that). The software isn’t bad at all and it is packed with nice features, but I’m not sure if it’s good enough that I would actually buy it.


It looks there are more apps like this out there, some really outdated, some just slightly, but nothing spectacular. I’m sticking with Console for now!

Note: There is a slight chance that I sometimes get overexcited when I find a piece of software that looks promising. But after I while it turns out it’s not all that useful.

Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2006 5:55 PM | Filed under: System |


# re: Pimp my command promtp 3/12/2006 9:15 PM CypherBit
"There is a slight chance that I sometimes get overexcited when I find a piece of software that looks promising. But after I while it turns out it's not all that useful."

I think we've all been there ;)

I've used 4NT on occasion, but not nearly enough to warrant a purchase. It is however my favorite cmd line tool.
Have to say I'm not all that fond of Console since it's nothing more then a front-end for any shell one uses (and the author acknowledges it). Eye candy really doesn't mean anything to me.

PromptPal does indeed look nice (feature wise), especially the tabs some of us want/need in pretty much everything these days.

Let us know if you end up using one of these for a prolonged period of time.

# re: Pimp my command promtp 3/12/2006 10:37 PM David
Yes, console just redirects the cmd.exe, you can even turn on the main command prompt window. Since it works, I don't hold that agains Console.

Did you knew Console before you read this post?

And yeah, eye candy is not all that important, altough my main reson for searching for a substitue was to change the font to something more readable, so Console does that.

# re: Pimp my command promtp 3/13/2006 10:13 PM CypherBit
No I actually wasn't aware of Console or its creator.
But I stumbled upon it like two minutes after reading your entry.

I have a bunch of batch files that I use on a regular basis and carry around on my USB, so if I'd ever switch my shell I'd use something that is as portable as Console is...but with additional features.

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