For many IT professionals, and many non-professionals as well, administrative tasks in Windows 10 are often best accomplished with the command line interface. When it comes to moving files, setting configurations, establishing authentication credentials, and a multitude of other housekeeping responsibilities, the graphical user interface just gets in the way. Typing a few commands or running a well-crafted batch file is often the most efficient way to approach a problem.
The command line interface in Microsoft Windows 10 has roots that extend back to the days of DOS, but fortunately for us there are more options available with the modern version of the tool. One of the more convenient features, and one that is often overlooked, is the ability to change the opacity of the command line interface.
This tutorial shows you how to access the opacity settings for the command line interface in Microsoft Windows 10 and suggests several instances when this feature may come in handy.
SEE: Password management policy (Tech Pro Research)
There are several ways to access the Windows 10 command line, but the method we will use today is likely the simplest. On a typical Windows 10 Desktop, right-click the Start menu icon to reveal the list of alternative features. Navigate to the Command Prompt or Command Prompt (Admin) menu item and left-click it. The resulting command line interface should look something like Figure A.
To reach the opacity settings, right-click the title bar of the command line interface box and select Properties. Click the Colors tab and near the bottom of the settings screen (Figure B) you will see a sliding bar where you can adjust the opacity of the interface to your liking. You can also change other features on this screen like font color and background color.
Once you change to your desired opacity, click the OK button to save the changes. Figure C shows what 30% opacity looks like. As you can see, the command line interface is still barely visible, but so is the desktop background.
On occasion, you may have to copy or move a file from one place on a network to another place on the network, and sometimes the file names may be inconveniently and inappropriately long. By decreasing the opacity of the command line interface, a user can see the command they are typing and the name of the file at the same time (Figure D), which can save time and reduce frustration.
Opacity may also be helpful in situations where you want to run a batch file in the near background but not in the complete background. For example, you may have a batch file that performs a backup operation on a group of files. The process may take a few minutes, so while you need to know when it is done, you don't want the process to stop you from working on other tasks. Running that batch file in an opaque command line interface could be your best solution.
When changing the opacity settings, it is important to note that the changes you make will become the new default settings for that Command Prompt. Equally noteworthy, changes made to the Command Prompt interface will not transfer over to the Command Prompt (Admin) interface. Windows 10 considers those two interfaces to be separate tools with separate configurations.
SEE: Windows 10 April 2018 Update: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
Changing the opacity settings of the command line interface in Windows 10 is not something you will need to do often, but it is a feature you will find useful under certain conditions. Knowing how to use it and when to use it can change a frustrating situation into a manageable situation with the simple adjustment of a slide bar.
- Windows 10 April 2018 Update: Microsoft's big feature update is available Monday (TechRepublic)
- Cloud services lead the way as Microsoft reports quarterly revenues of $28.9 billion (TechRepublic)
- Windows Admin Center lets users manage Windows servers and Windows 10 machines from the browser (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10 performance and troubleshooting tips: Run faster, smoother, longer (ZDNet)
- Microsoft's Windows 10 sweetener: New deal gives devs bigger cut of app store sales (ZDNet)
Can you think of other situations where interface opacity can be helpful? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.