Microsoft fires back on reports of CMD prompt's demise

The company says the CMD prompt will NOT disappear

Last month there were several articles about the news that Microsoft was making PowerShell the default command line in Windows 10, and also claiming that this would be the end of the venerable cmd.exe, also known as the Command Prompt. 

Like Mark Twain said, a lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on. The articles spawned reactions all over the web, such as one lengthy thread on Reddit. This led to protests from IT professionals who still need to use that command prompt we've known since 1981. Microsoft must have gotten an earful and then some. 

The problem was it wasn't true. Microsoft was planning to make the PowerShell as the default command line interface in the WIN-X menu, but CMD wasn't going away. It would just be hidden in the background, still accessible, but not the first choice. 

The first sign came with Build 14791, which came out in late November and is believed to be the basis for the Redstone 2 upgrade coming this year. At the time, Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider Program, made mention of this change in her blog post discussing Build 14791. She noted that it is still possible to stick with Command Prompt if you wish. 

“For those who prefer to use Command Prompt, you can opt out of the WIN + X change by opening Settings > Personalization > Taskbar, and turning ‘Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right-click the Start button or press Windows key+X’ to Off.” 

You could launch either the Command Prompt or PowerShell just by typing “cmd” or “powershell” in File Explorer’s address bar.

But apparently some of my fellow journalists didn't read that part. So, Rich Turner of Microsoft posted a lengthy blog entry entitled "Rumors of Cmd’s death have been greatly exaggerated." 

Turner notes that while the Command Prompt isn't actually MS-DOS, it's still very vital to Windows' function and operation. He wrote: 

"Much of the automated system that builds and tests Windows itself is a collection of many Cmd scripts that have been created over many years, without which we couldn’t build Windows itself!" 

Turner also noted many of Microsoft’s customers and partners are totally dependent on CMD and all its quirks. 

Turner said we've reached a point where CMD can no longer be updated to do modern tasks, so the move to PowerShell was necessary. But he stressed again and again that CMD is not going away. So, if you've seen these stories on Business Insider and LifeHacker, don't worry. 

I don't like to toot my own horn and am not given to self-aggrandizement. But if you read the news here about PowerShell, you got the proper story. My blog post on the subject said CMD wasn't going away, just being de-emphasized

I make no claims of superiority to my colleagues, only that I do try to get it right. Some times that means being a little later with the news, but that's the tradeoff I'm willing to make to avoid having to run a correction. 

And that's all I've got to say about that.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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