How to open software and websites with command prompt in Windows [Tip]

Before Windows took off, DOS was the primary operating system platform. It was a command based OS with which you input DOS commands to open software packages. The last remnants of DOS can be found with the Command Prompt Window application. With it, you can input DOS commands to open software applications as opposed to clicking on shortcuts to run programs. This guide shows you how.

First of all, please realize Command Prompt is available on Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 (32-bit and 64-bit).

That said, to open Command Prompt, press Win + R on your keyboard, type “cmd” (without the quotes), and press OK. If you need to run Command Prompt as admin on Vista, 7, and 8 (which is useful if you want to do something that requires admin privileges), open Start menu (or Search, if on Windows 8), type “cmd” in the search box (without the quotes), right-click the Command Prompt entry and run as admin.

Both methods will open the following window:

Command Prompt

From there, you can input a variety of DOS commands. The command to input to open software applications is start. That is input alongside the location, or path, of the software the command will open. To find the location, right-click a software shortcut icon. That should open the properties’ window.

Properties' Window

The FotoSketcher program properties’ window is in the shot above. The location details are in the target box. The location of the FotoSketcher software is: C:\Program Files\FotoSketcher\FotoSketcher.exe. Thus, that’s pretty much what has to be input after the start command.

Just to note that anything within the path separated by a space, such as Program Files, should include inverted commas. As such, the command to open the FotoSketcher software will be as follows: start c:\“program files”\fotosketcher\fotosketcher.exe. Input a similar command to open alternative software packages.

Command Prompt 2

If the software is one of the Window accessories, such as Notepad, you do not have to input a path. Input the command start notepad to open it. You can open the notepad, and other software, with maximized or minimized windows when max and min are added. For example, start /max notepad will open Notepad in maximized window.

You can also open websites directly from the Command Prompt window. Input start and then the website URL. For example, the command to open the dotTech website would be: start http://dottech.org/. That will open your browser and the website.

Conclusion

The Command Prompt will open software and websites with the start command. Enjoy!

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3 comments

  1. Bob

    With the lack of real DOS information here, you may as well have just typed “You can do lots of things with DOS” and left it at that.
    Or at least link to some sites that do give real info.
    Opening notepad with DOS?? Please!! (unless you happen to be on a locked down box and can’t save an edit text file and have to run notepad as admin then).
    DOS is incredibly useful, this article does nothing to really inspire investigation for newbies.