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Accessing the Windows 7 Command Prompt

written by: John Garger•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 12/27/2010

Although there are two methods of opening the Windows 7 Command Prompt, there is only one way you can issue administrative commands at the text prompt. Learn about opening the Command Prompt and executing administrative commands.

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    The Windows 7 Command Prompt is used to issue administrative commands, create folders, and delete files using a text-based rather than graphical user interface. Often mistakenly referred to as the DOS prompt, you can open the Command Prompt using two methods.

    However, in order to issue administrative commands, you must use an account that has administrative privileges and open the Command Prompt in a special way. Learn how to open the Windows 7 Command Prompt and execute administrative commands.

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    Method 1

    This method is more familiar to most users of Windows 7 than the other method. To open the Command Prompt, click on Start, then All Programs, and finally, click on Accessories. The Command Prompt resides in the Accessories folder on the Start menu. Click on it and the Command Prompt will open.

    Start All Programs Accessories Command Prompt 

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    Method 2

    Administrators, computer technicians, and some advanced home users often use this second method of opening the Command Prompt. This method is faster but requires you to memorize a few key strokes.

    To open the Command Prompt using this method, begin by holding down the Windows key on your keyboard and pressing R. This opens the Run dialog box. In the run box, type in CMD and click OK. You should now be looking at the Windows 7 Command Prompt.

    Open the Command Prompt with CMD 

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    Command Prompt Administrative Privileges

    Either of the two methods of opening the Command Prompt above will allow you to perform basic text-based commands such as creating folders, renaming files, and other basic Windows 7 tasks. However, if you want to issue and execute administrative commands, you need to open the Command Prompt using a special method. This is true even if you are using a Windows 7 account with administrative privileges. Before you begin, make sure you are using an account that is an administrator.

    To open the Command Prompt with administrative privileges, click on Start, then All Programs, and then Accessories. This time, instead of clicking on Command Prompt, right-click on it and choose Run as Administrator.

    Run Command Prompt as Administrator Windows 7 will then ask you to confirm that you want to make this change to your computer. Essentially, Windows is asking if you want to run the Command Prompt as an administrator. Click YES and you should now be looking at the Administrator: Command Prompt window.

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    Conclusion

    The Windows 7 Command Prompt is a useful tool for administrators, computer technicians, and advanced home users who want to make changes to their computer using a text-based rather than graphical user interface. As discussed above, you can use two methods to open the Command Prompt.

    However, if you want to issue administrative commands such as the popular Net User command for unlocking accounts, you need to run the Command Prompt as an administrator and then verify to Windows that you want to do this. Luckily, the procedure for running the Windows 7 Command Prompt as an administrator only requires one extra step.