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How do I Paste into a Windows XP Command Shell?

Using a DOS window under Windows ME there’s a handy
“paste” clipboard appearing with some other icons in the DOS window title bar.
Is there any way to get this in Windows XP? I haven’t been
able to find any mention of it but may be overlooking
something obvious.

You came to the right place. I live in the Windows XP command
shell. My (DOS) roots must be showing.

Anyway, the icons may be gone, but the functionality is most certainly
still there.

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I don’t believe that there’s a way to actually get the icon back, though
it wouldn’t surprise me if there were a third party add-on that could add
something like it.

But Copy, Paste and a few other old friends are all still there on the system menu.
Click on the upper left icon on the command shell window, referred to as the
system menu, and along with Move, Size, and so on, you’ll see a sub menu
called Edit. Click on that, and you’ll find Copy, Paste and other
clipboard related commands. Here’s a screen shot of what I mean:

CMD Shell System Menu

If you’re so inclined, there are good things buried in the Properties item
as well that will let you control the look, feel and some of the behavior of the
Command Shell.

Do this

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14 comments on “How do I Paste into a Windows XP Command Shell?”

  1. Probably the quickest way to get to this menu is to hold down the ALT key, and hit the spacebar. So, for paste, it’s ALT+Space, E, P (E for edit menu, P for paste command). If you do it enough, it becomes second nature. :) Especially in a command prompt, the mouse isn’t always the quickest method.

  2. I ping for a living & I prefer to set my cmd’s Properties to Enable Quick Edit which pastes with a simple right mouse click in the window.

  3. Could you go over that Enable Quick Edit?

    I’ve tried it in a quick edit enabled command prompt, and in a Norton Commander for DOS box, but nothing gets pasted on a right click.

    The alt-space-edit-paste routine works as usual.

    I must be missing something blindingly obvious!

  4. This works fine if you’re in a command shell window, but what if you’re running the dos program full-screen? Is there then a way to copy and paste between the dos program and XP aps? Maybe like winoldap’s int 2F under win 9x?

  5. I believe if you type ALT+Space you’ll get the system menu, which will allow you to select the entire screen and copy it. (It may take you out of the full screen window.)

  6. Just in case it’s useful to anyone: I’ve found a neat program called Tamedos which among other things gives you the option to use ctrl-c and ctrl-v to cut and paste in a Dos window under XP, as well as smoothing out various other aspects. 30 days evaluation. Registration is $20 — worth it to me.

  7. Many thanks. I had to paste a 4-line long command into the shell!
    Is there a way to use the keyboard instead?

    Hash: SHA1

    Just use the keyboard shortcuts for the system menu:


    Does the paste.


    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


  9. Thanks a Billion! I am very experienced, but self-taught; and I was stuck with a “file”/non-file thing on my XP x64 Desktop for a few months. Finally I thought to search the error message (duh!, but guess I was lazy at first and my desktop was messier then anyway).

    Well, I am posting this for thanks and two other reasons – for all reading with
    this kind of issue:

    1 – for me the file ended with a space; and not a period; and thought I would spread the word this still worked!

    2 – Also, I read above some had problems with copy and paste. I too had to
    re-learn how to do this, but you should be able to do it simply with the Windows prompts (well, at least mine, see version above). I use the portable one from, and also discovered it to be tricky. It seemed to keep “forgetting” or something, what I had copied into the clipboard (which was the entire command written in a text editor to include everything (of course)). I had to carefully left click the very top left of the prompt window to bring up the context menu which included Edit->Paste. Maybe mine was acting up for some other reason, but I think this may help others; keep trying.

    So happy that “file” is gone!

  10. re. CMD window cut and paste.
    Try under CMD window menu “Properties” –> “Options” Tab and and enable “Quick Edit Mode”.
    This gives you Paste on mouse Right-Button and Copy is by mouse drag and Return.

  11. how to copy one file & past it to
    another plase in cmd ?

    You don’t “copy/paste” in the command prompt. Look at the help for the “COPY” command, that’s the command used to copy files.


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