Monday, March 12, 2012

Windows 7: Improving Command Window

I was looking for advice on how to edit the Windows 7 registry to make permanent changes to the command window (cmd.exe).  I went into its Properties and made changes (to e.g., the colors and fonts), and I added parameters to the command line that would open a command box (saved in e.g., a desktop shortcut).  I wasn't seeing clear advice on how to edit the registry to make those changes permanent -- assuming that such a registry edit was possible.

During this search, I ran across a reference to Console.  The purpose of this program was apparently just to make the command window (or PowerShell, or other command interface) more adjustable and appealing.  Console version 2.0 (confusingly cited by some as Console2) appeared to have drawn a few positive reviews.  I downloaded and ran the portable version 2.00b (beta).  In its menu, I went into View, where Tabs and Status Bar were the only items I left checked.  (The others were available by right-clicking anywhere in the Console window.)  Then, adjusting some advice in light of Console Help (i.e., console.chm in the portable program's folder), went into its Edit > Settings and did the following:

  • Console:  Startup dir:  set to my working folder, D:\Current.  Window size:  80 rows, 80 columns, save on exit.  Buffer size:  1000 rows, 0 columns.  Save settings to user directory:  not checked, since I wanted the settings to be saved to the folder where they were loaded (i.e., the customized Start Menu folder that would persist even if I had to reinstall Windows).  Console colors map:  click on the black box next to the black square and change everything that would have been black to be white (or whatever) instead.
  • Appearance:  Font:  Consolas size 11, bold, Clear Type smoothing, Custom color.  Position:  docking:  none.  Snap to desktop edges:  off.
  • Hotkeys:  New Tab 1 = Ctrl-T.  (Actually hit Ctrl-T and then click Assign.)  Copy Selection = Ctrl-C.  Paste = Ctrl-V.  Mouse:  Select text:  Left.
I created a shortcut to Console.exe.  I put one copy of that link in the Start Menu.  On reboot, it functioned as desired.

I let some time pass.  As it turned out, my changes to the Windows 7 command window proved to be permanent, even without registry edits.  And I liked it as it was.  I was not actually using Console.  It wa an option to remain aware of, but it appeared unnecessary for my purposes at present.