Windows Powershell vs CMD: Differences and Similarities




This short guide compares Windows PowerShell vs CMD (Windows command prompt). I will cover the history and nature of the two tools, their command name format and scripting capabilities.

For the remaining part of this guide, I will use PowerShell, Windows PowerShell and PS interchangeably. I will also use CMD and Command Prompt interchangeably.

What is Windows PowerShell vs CMD?

Windows PowerShell is a task-based command-line shell and scripting language built on .NET. PowerShell helps with task automation via PowerShell Scripting.

CMD (Command Prompt) is a Windows command line interpreter used to execute CMD commands. CMD can also be used to automate tasks via batch scripting.

In the next 3 sections, I will be comparing PowerShell vs CMD in 3 different areas: History, Command name format and how both compare for ease of task automation (scripting).

Sponsored Content

Windows PowerShell vs CMD: History

CMD have been part of the Windows Operating System while PowerShell is relatively new. PowerShell version 1 was released on September 26, 2006.

Another major difference between PS and CMD is how they are built. While CMD is a native Windows console application, PowerShell is built on .NET Framework.

On 18 August 2016, Microsoft introduced .NET Core and made PowerShell an open source tool.

Windows PowerShell vs CMD: Command Name Format

One other way you can differentiate CMD and PS is in their command name format. Command prompt commands are usually one word, while PowerSell commands are two words.

PS commands are structured in Verb-Noun format, called cmdlets. The first part of a PowerShell cmdlet is usually a verb, while the second part is a Noun.

An example of a PS command is Get-Help. In CMD, this is simply Help. Another example is the Dir CMD command. In PowerShell, it is Get-ChildItem.

Windows PowerShell vs CMD: Scripting Capabilities

You can use both PowerShell and CMD for scripting. But do they have the same level of scripting capabilities? No. I have scripted in both CMD and PowerShell and I can clearly say that PS gives you more options. Did I say more options? No, it is way better!

PS even allows you to create your own Functions and Modules. This gives you power to go beyond scripting (a collection of PowerShell commands). Batch scripting is very limited when compared with PowerShell scripting.

Windows PowerShell vs CMD: PS Commands for Common CMD Commands

If you want to get started with basic PS commands, below I have some common CMD commands and their PowerShell equivalent.

S/NCMD CommandWhat It DoesPS Equivalent
1CDChange DirectorySet-Location
2RENAME Renames a FileRename-Item
3DIRList files and folders in a DirectoryGet-ChildItem
4 HELPProvides help information for Windows commands.*Get-Help
5FORMATFormats a disk for use with WindowsFormat-Volume
The Get-Help cmdlet displays information about Windows PowerShell commands and concepts.

To learn more about PowerShell visit our Windows PowerShell page.

Windows PowerShell vs CMD: Summary

The table below summarizes the differences between PowerShell vs CMD:

1HistoryHave been around since Windows OS was launched*Became available in 2006
2Command Name FormatOne word commandstwo-word commands (Verb-Noun format)
4Scripting CapabilitiesLimited capabilitiesProvides more advanced scripting capabilities including ability to create PS Functions and Modules
5BuildNative Windows ApplicationBuilt on Microsoft .NET Framework and later .NET Core

* This excludes MS-DOS.


If you are comparing PowerShell vs CMD to decide which is better, you have your answer. CMD is great but PowerShell takes task automation to the next level. Every Windows Administrator should know PS!

If you have any question or comment, use the “Leave a Reply” form at the end of this guide. You could also share your experience with PowerShell and CMD so other readers can benefit from it.

Sponsored Content

Other Helpful Guides

Additional Resources and References


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


network discovery keeps turning off server 2016

How to Fix Network Discovery If it Keeps Turning Off in Server 2016

Does network discovery keep turning off in your Windows server 2016? It is likely that one of its dependent services is not...
how to install windows 10 1903 update manually

How to Install Windows 10 1903 Update Manually

Windows 10 1903 Update was released in May, 2019. But some users are not yet offered the update via automatic update. The...
spotify web player not working

Spotify Web Player Not Working [Fixed]

Introduction Spotify Web Player may stop working for you with the following error messages: "Spotify Web Player an Error...
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth Explained

What is DISM.EXE /Online /Cleanup-image /RestoreHealth? "DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /Restorehealth" is a DISM command that repairs issue with the...
DHCP Relay agent

DHCP Relay Agent: Configuration in Windows Server 2016

What is a DHCP Relay Agent? A DHCP Relay Agent allows DHCP clients in a different network subnet to...


Remote Desktop Connection

Remote Desktop Connection an Internal Error Has Occurred [Fixed]

Introduction I recently received the error message "Remote Desktop Connection an Internal Error Has Occurred". It was strange because...

Find My Samsung: Register and Use Samsung Find my Mobile

Introduction Ever wondered how you could find your Samsung phone if you lost it? Find my Samsung or Samsung...
What is the Difference Between PowerShell and CMD?

Windows Powershell vs CMD: Differences and Similarities

Introduction This short guide compares Windows PowerShell vs CMD (Windows command prompt). I will cover the history and nature...
Spotify No Longer Supports this Version of Microsoft Edge

Spotify No Longer Supports this Version of Microsoft Edge [Fixed]

Introduction When you open Spotify web player on Microsoft Edge, you may receive the error message "Spotify No Longer...
Windows 10 Won't Boot

Windows 10 Won’t Boot With Black Screen? 3 Ways to Fix It

Why Won't Windows 10 Boot Up? If your Windows 10 stops with a black screen, the first question in...


WhatsApp PC

How to Use WhatsApp on Your PC

Introduction Wondering whether you can use WhatsApp on your PC? Yes you can! Since I started using WhatsApp on...
GPResult Command

GPRESULT Command: Syntax, Parameters, Examples

What is GPRESULT? GPRESULT is a command line tool that displays the Resultant Set of Policy (RSoP) information for...
powershell add ad computers to array

How to Add AD Computers to a Powershell Array

Introduction There is one way to add AD Computers to a PowerShell array. A PowerShell array is a data...
WSUS Offline Update Generator

How to Use WSUS Offline Update Tool to Patch Offline Computers

What is WSUS Offline Update? WSUS Offline Update is a free tool that allows you to download Microsoft updates....
Outlook 365: Subscription, Installation and Set Up

Outlook 365: Subscription, Installation and Set Up

If you are reading this you are probably one of the many people asking a lot of question about outlook 365 -...


disable cortana windows 10 featured

How to Disable Cortana in Windows 10 (2 Methods)

Introduction Some Windows 10 users may not like Cortana. Solution? Disable Cortana. You are probably reading this because you...
bootrec /fixboot access is denied

How to Fix BootRec /FixBoot Access is Denied Error in Windows 10

Introduction BootRec /FixBoot Access is Denied Error in Windows 10? This error is likely caused by corrupt EFI directory.
Reset Windows 10

How to Reset Windows 10 (2 Methods)

Introduction If your Windows 10 is broken, one available way to fix it is to use Windows 10 reset....
system restore windows 10

How to Enable and Use System Restore in Windows 10

Introduction System restore in windows 10 is a very important tool that is probably ignored by most users. But...
windows has stopped this device code 43

How to Fix Windows Has Stopped this Device Code 43 Error

Introduction Sometimes you may receive "Windows has stopped this device code 43" error. This error is likely to come...
Windows could not automatically detect this network's proxy settings

How to Fix “Windows Could not Automatically Detect this Network’s Proxy Settings”

Introduction You suddenly lose the ability to connect to the internet. Then you run network troubleshooter and it returns...
printer offline

5 Ways to Restore Your Printer Online If Status is Offline

Introduction Is your printer offline? Setting it online is very simple but sometimes it is more than just setting...

How to Fix “BootMgr is Missing” Error in Windows 10

Introduction If you receive Fix "BootMgr is missing" Error in Windows 10, the default response is panic! But you...
windows 10 search featured

How to Fix Windows 10 Search If it Stops Working

Introduction Are you having troubles with Windows 10 search? Apparently, it is a fairly common problem with a number...
oooops, something went wrong. reload

How to Fix “Oooops something went wrong. reload” Spotify Error

Introduction If you receive "Oooops something went wrong. reload" Spotify error, do not panic. The fix is simpler than...


gmail archive

How to Archive and Unarchive Emails in Gmail

Introduction When you archive Gmail emails it helps to free up your inbox. In Gmail archived emails are moved...
SysWOW64 and File System Redirector Explained

SysWOW64 and File System Redirector Explained

Introduction A Windows 64-bits OS has a SysWOW64 folder. It also has a System32 folder. These folders contain OS...
windows was unable to complete the format

Windows was Unable to Complete the Format [Fixed]

Introduction When you try to format a USB stick or SD memory card you may receive the message "Windows...
Wifi doesn't have a valid IP configuration

How to Fix “Wifi Doesn’t Have a Valid IP Configuration” Error

Introduction "Wifi doesn't have a valid IP configuration" error is common among Windows users. When you receive this error...
Amazon Orders

Amazon Orders: Everything You Need to Know

Introduction Ever wondered whether you can hide some of your Amazon orders? Yes, you can! But how do you...

By using this website you agree to accept our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions