To install, simply download the installer, run it, and follow the on-screen instructions. Like most Windows software, this shell extension can be uninstalled using the program uninstallation applet found in the Windows Control Panel.
Note: If you already have Microsoft's Open Command Window Here PowerToy installed, you should uninstall it before installing the ContextConsole Shell Extension.
For advanced users: To run the installer in quiet (unattended) mode, invoke the installer with the
/quiet command-line switch, and to extract the files to the current directory without installing, invoke the installer with the
/extract command-line switch.
A feature introduced in Windows Vista (it did not exist in previous versions of Windows) offers similar functionality. However, the ContextConsole Shell Extension supports the opening of elevated command prompts (with UAC), and the built-in command in Vista requires that the user hold down the
Shift key when opening the context menu, which can become tedious for those who use this feature frequently.
To avoid the duplication of menu options, this extension will automatically hide itself when the built-in command is active.
The UI language is selected based on the operating system's UI language; the shell extension will try to match the system language, and if that is not possible, it will fall back to English. In virtually all cases, this is the desired behavior, but there may be situations where one would want to override this behavior.
The UI language can be manually overridden with a registry key; to set this key, run the following command from a command prompt:
reg add "HKCU\Software\CmdOpen" /v "LangID" /t REG_DWORD /d 0x0000
0x0000 should be replaced with an appropriate language ID from this table. It may be necessary to log off and log back on in order for the language override to take effect. To undo the override and restore the default behavior, run the command with
0x0000 as the language ID (or you can delete the appropriate key). This is a per-user setting; to make this a machine-wide setting, use HKLM instead of HKCU.
The "Open Elevated Command Prompt" menu item is visible only if your version of Windows supports UAC and UAC is enabled.
This menu item can be manually disabled and hidden with a registry key; to set this key, run the following command from a command prompt:
reg add "HKCU\Software\CmdOpen" /v "NoUAC" /t REG_DWORD /d 1
To undo this and restore the menu item, run the command again with the
1 changed to a
0. This is a per-user setting; to make this a machine-wide setting, use HKLM instead of HKCU.
Since shell extensions are run "in-process", a shell extension must be compiled to use the same CPU instruction set as its host process. For example, when you are running the 64-bit version of Windows Explorer, you will need the 64-bit version of the shell extension. If, however, you are using the shell extension from the Open File dialog of Microsoft Office (which is a 32-bit process), then you will need the 32-bit version. Since you can run both 32-bit and 64-bit host processes, both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the shell extension need to be installed on 64-bit versions of Windows. Similarly, this is why 64-bit versions of Windows contain two versions of every system DLL: one for use by 32-bit processes, and one for use by 64-bit processes.
After much deliberation, "Open Command Prompt" was chosen over the more common "Open Command Window Here" as the menu text for this extension. First, while the command prompt is referred to as the "command prompt" all throughout Windows, the Open Command Window Here PowerToy oddly decided to call it a "command window", leading an inconsistency in nomenclature. Second, the "Here" used in the PowerToy is redundant, since it is implied; after all, the other built-in menu items are "Open", "Explore" and "Search", not "Open Here", "Explore Here", and "Search Here". Finally, "Open Command Prompt" is shorter and does not stretch out the context menu as much.