A basic user of Microsoft Windows 10 is typically content to manipulate configuration settings using the standard graphical user interface. Managing the Taskbar, personalizing the Desktop, installing new hardware and software, and a slew of other simple tasks can all be accomplished within the confines of the Windows 10 Settings menus. There is no need to venture into the more complex realm of the command line interface.

On the other hand, system administrators and power users often find the command line interface, and particularly the command line scripting environment known as PowerShell, extremely useful for all sorts of system tasks. By combining an interactive shell with a scripting environment, PowerShell allows power users access to tools, objects, and class libraries that extend their overall capabilities beyond mere configuration settings.

With the general release of the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, power users can now personalize the Command Prompt default settings in the Start Menu. This how-to tutorial shows you how to switch the default command-line interface in Windows 10 to the more robust PowerShell interface.

Note: This article is also available as part of a free PDF that features a variety of Windows 10 April 2018 Update tips and techniques.

PowerShell by default

The default setting for the Command Prompt is located in the Personalization section of Windows Settings. To get there, open Windows Settings by clicking or tapping the Settings icon located on the Windows 10 Start Menu. Click or tap the Personalization tab on the Settings screen to reach a configuration screen that should look like Figure A.

Figure A

On the left navigation pane, click the Taskbar item, and scroll down the page until you see the switch that says:

Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right-click the start button or press Windows key + X.

As shown in Figure B, turn that switch to the On position to change the default setting.

Figure B

Right-click the Start Menu button in the lower left of the standard Windows 10 Taskbar, or use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + X, if you prefer. Figure C shows that the Command Prompt options normally displayed on that menu are now labeled as PowerShell.

SEE: Admin spotlight: Saving time with PowerShell (Tech Pro Research)

Figure C

Figure D shows you what the PowerShell interface looks like after typing the simple command Get-Help.

Figure D

PowerShell supports other Microsoft services and products like Windows Server, Active Directory, and Exchange. It is important to note that PowerShell is an open source project, which makes the tool available for use in Linux and MacOS environments as well as Windows. This versatility makes PowerShell one of the preferred methods for automating and scripting configuration management in enterprise settings. Simplifying access to this powerful tool by changing a default setting in Windows 10 will save power users time and more than a few mouse clicks.

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