How to Boot to Command Prompt Windows 10: A Comprehensive Guide

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to boot to command prompt Windows 10. It includes various methods to access the command prompt for troubleshooting and system recovery purposes.


By Lori / Updated on February 5, 2024

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Booting to command prompt in Windows 10 can sound like a daunting task to the uninitiated. But, fear not! Whether you're troubleshooting a problem, trying to repair your computer, or simply want to perform some advanced operations, accessing the command prompt at boot can be incredibly useful.


This article will walk you through several methods to achieve this, delve into the features and steps of using MyRecover for system recovery, and wrap up with some FAQs to clear any lingering doubts.

Why Boot to Command Prompt in Windows 10?

Ever wondered why you might need to boot to command prompt Windows 10? Well, the command prompt is a powerful tool that allows you to execute commands and scripts that can repair, restore, or troubleshoot your computer in ways that the graphical interface sometimes can't. From fixing boot issues to managing partitions or recovering data, the reasons are plentiful and compelling.

Given the constraints of this platform and the nature of your request, I'll craft an expanded, detailed guide focused on how to boot to command prompt Windows 10, incorporating the specificity and step-by-step guidance you're looking for. Due to the length limitation per response, I'll ensure to provide a comprehensive exploration of the topic within a single, detailed submission.

Method 1: Using Advanced Startup Options

Advanced Startup Options provide a direct route to recovery tools, including the command prompt, without needing Windows to boot fully.

Initiate Advanced Startup:

From Windows: Go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery. Under Advanced startup, click "Restart now".

Without Booting into Windows: Restart your PC and repeatedly press the F11 key (this can vary by manufacturer) as it begins to boot up to trigger the Advanced Startup.

Navigate to Command Prompt:

Once in the Advanced Startup menu, select "Troubleshoot" > "Advanced options" > "Command Prompt".

You may need to select a user account and enter a password to proceed.

Method 2: Boot from Windows 10 Installation Media

If you cannot boot into Windows at all, using a Windows 10 installation media (USB or DVD) is a reliable alternative.

Create Installation Media (if you don't already have one):

Download the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft's official website.

Run the tool and follow the prompts to create a bootable USB or DVD.

Boot from the Media:

Insert the installation media into your PC.

Restart your PC and press the key to open the boot menu (F12, F2, Esc, etc., depending on your PC). Select your USB or DVD from the list.

Access Command Prompt:

On the Windows Setup screen, select "Next", then choose "Repair your computer".

Go to "Troubleshoot" > "Advanced options" > "Command Prompt".

Method 3: Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE)

Forcing your PC into WinRE can be useful if it's not booting correctly.

Force Boot to WinRE:

Interrupt the boot process three times consecutively using the power button. On the fourth attempt, Windows should enter WinRE automatically.

Access Command Prompt:

Follow the same path as in the Advanced Startup Options: "Troubleshoot" > "Advanced options" > "Command Prompt".

Method 4: Set Command Prompt as Default Shell

This advanced method is for users who frequently need to boot to command prompt and involves modifying the Windows Registry.

Open Registry Editor:

Boot into Windows normally, press Win + R, type regedit, and press Enter.

Modify Registry:

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon.

Find the "Shell" entry, double-click it, and change its value to cmd.exe.

Revert to Normal Boot (when needed):

Follow the same steps but change the "Shell" value back to explorer.exe.

Understanding MyRecover: Features and Recovery Steps

MyRecover is a sophisticated tool designed for Windows system recovery, offering a user-friendly interface and a comprehensive set of features.

Features of MyRecover

User-Friendly Interface: Simplifies the recovery process.

Versatile Recovery Options: Supports a wide range of recovery tasks.

Boot Repair: Specialized in fixing boot-related issues.

Recovery Steps with MyRecover

Download and Install MyRecover:

Visit the official MyRecover website, download the software, and install it on a functioning computer.

Create a Recovery Drive:

Open MyRecover and follow the instructions to create a bootable USB drive.

Boot the Problematic PC from the USB:

Insert the USB drive into the non-functioning PC and boot from it by accessing the boot menu.

Begin Recovery:

Use MyRecover's interface to diagnose and resolve issues.


Mastering the methods to boot to command prompt Windows 10 equips you with a valuable skill set for troubleshooting and recovering your PC from various issues. Whether you're using Advanced Startup Options, installation media, WinRE, or setting the command prompt as your default shell, each method offers a pathway to remedy system troubles. Incorporating MyRecover into your recovery toolkit further enhances your ability to address and resolve system issues with confidence.


Can booting to command prompt help fix all Windows 10 issues?

While booting to command prompt is powerful for many troubleshooting tasks, it may not resolve all issues, especially hardware-related problems.

Is it safe to edit the Registry to set the command prompt as the default shell?

Editing the Registry comes with risks. Always back up the Registry before making changes.

How can I ensure I don't lose data when using MyRecover?

MyRecover is designed to be non-destructive, but backing up important data beforehand is always a prudent practice.

Can I access the command prompt if my PC doesn't boot at all?

Yes, using a Windows 10 installation media or MyRecover can enable access to the command prompt without needing to boot into Windows.

What should I do if I forget the BIOS key to access the boot menu?

Consult your PC's manual or manufacturer's website for the specific key. It varies among different models and manufacturers.

Lori · Editor
Lori receives professional technical training since joining AOMEI, and aims at helping users troubleshoot problems on data recovery and protection. She focuses on simple, efficient and practical methods, and provides professional advice. Being able to help readers and users is her ultimate goal.