Difference Between PowerShell and CMD (With Table)

Command Line Interpreter (CLI) is the way that a command entered by a user can be interpreted by the Operating System (OS). There was no such interactive interface in the earliest computers. Later, interfaces like CMD and PowerShell were developed. These gave users control over the system and the ability to execute and run tasks.

PowerShell vs CMD

The difference between PowerShell and CMD is that PowerShell is a powerful tool and has the edge over CMD because it can not only execute tasks but can also automate them. It has object-oriented as its output is objects instead of text, unlike CMD’s output.

Command Prompt (CMD) is the command-line interpreter that is already available in Windows. It is a string-based interface that processes commands in batch files. It is the most standard interface having a set of functions.

It can perform essential functions like deleting, copying, and pasting. It is best used for debugging problems.

PowerShell was developed after the Command Prompt (CMD). It is much more potent as it has a variety of functions that widen its scope and give it an edge over Command Prompt (CMD). These include not only running tasks but also automating general tasks. PowerShell’s functions are known as cmdlets. It also is an object-oriented scripting language. This is because its output is not like Command Prompt (CMD).


Comparison Table Between PowerShell and CMD (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonPowerShellCMD
MeaningIt is a scripting language that is specifically designed for the administrators of the system.It is the command-based interface that allows interaction with the operating system.
PowerPowerShell tends to have more powerful functions. These are called cmdlets.It is an older language and has a set of standard functions.
BasisIt is a task-based command interface.It is a string-based command interface.
IntroductionPowerShell was developed by James Truher.CMD was developed by Therese Stowell
UseIt helps to perform control functions for the Windows OS and the applications. It also has scope for automation.It helps to execute commands that are given. It is generally used for debugging problems.
OutputIts output is a collection of Objects.Its output is a stream of characters.


What is PowerShell?

PowerShell is a scripting language that was developed by James Truher in November 2006. It is able to execute the tasks which are not accessible from CMD. It is just a better version of CMD, and it very powerful. This is because it can perform a large variety of tasks and can run external programs and even automate many administration tasks.

It’s set of commands are built on .net format. Its scripts are called “cmdlets” which are super easy to use and have a standardized syntax. This enables the administrators to create powerful scripts using PowerShell.

It can interpret both PowerShell and Batch commands. It is a task-based system that gives output in terms of objects, unlike CMD, that gives output in the form of text. This is because it is also called an object-oriented program.

It also supports different names for the same commands. This is the reason it is straightforward for users to switch to PowerShell is they had been using some other interface. It has a broader scope than CMD because it is developed to execute and run many applications and even automate.

It can also replace CMD as it has more control over the operation system. It enables users to solve their tedious tasks very quickly and efficiently.


What is CMD?

Windows Command Processor (CMD) is the default interface for the administrators to communicate with the operating system. It was first released in December 1987 and developed by Therese Stowell. It is a string-based interface that has a standard set of functions.

Command Prompt (CMD) is a command-line interpreter. It usually does tasks for batch files and is often referred to as cmd.exe. It helps to execute essential functions such as copy, delete, and paste.

Initially, it was launched by the name of the Command Line Interpreter (CLI). It can be accessed by using the shortcut in Start Menu and using cmd in the Run command. It was preceded by COMMAND.COM It helps the user to interact by using the command-line interface and makes use of pipes in the pipeline. It is generally used for debugging problems because it performs fundamental functions. It gives output in the form of text, i.e., characters.

Main Differences Between PowerShell and CMD

  • PowerShell is a task-based scripting language. In contrast, CMD is a string-based communication interface.
  • PowerShell was developed by James Truher. On the other hand, CMD was developed by Therese Stowell.
  • PowerShell has potent functions known as cmdlets. However, CMD only has a standard set of functions.
  • PowerShell allows controlling the windows OS and the applications. It also allows automation. On the other hand, CMD is usually made use of when errors are to be debugged.
  • PowerShell’s output consists of objects, unlike CMD’s output, which consists of text (characters).



Both Command Prompt (CMD) and PowerShell are interfaces that users/administrators can use to interact with the system to execute tasks. While command Prompt (CMD) is more of a basic command-line interpreter, PowerShell is more powerful and can do much more than Command Prompt (CMD).

The later can not only execute tasks, but it can also automate the tedious tasks and make it easier for the administrator. It also has a lot of functions that enable it to run a large variety of tasks and can run external programs.

It is task-based, unlike the Command Prompt (CMD), which is string-based. Its functions are known as cmdlets, and it is object-oriented. It also has alternate names for controls that enable a smooth shift from other command-line interpreters. The usage of any one of these is dependant on the nature of the task that is to be executed. For example, the Command Prompt (CMD) is usually used for debugging errors, whereas PowerShell can be used to run many intricate functions.