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6 Examples of a Command Prompt

A command prompt is a textual interface that allows a user to issue commands to an operating system. Such commands often have many options such that they are generally more powerful than a graphical user interface. As such, advanced users, software developers and administrators require a command prompt to be productive. All major operating systems have a command line interface that can be accessed with an application often known as a terminal, terminal emulator or command prompt. In some cases, these are disabled on a device by the manufacturer or administrators. Command prompts are powerful and anyone seeking to restrict users will disable this functionality. The following are common examples of command prompts.

Linux Console

The linux console is a textual user interface that is built into the kernel of a linux operating system. This integrates with devices such as a keyboard and monitor. If you have physical access to a machine it is usually possible to boot into linux without a graphical user interface and access the operating system from the linux console.

Linux Terminal Emulator

Linux distributions typically come with an application that allows you to open a window that provides access to the linux console. These are known as "terminal emulators" or simply "terminals." There are dozens of well known and well supported terminal emulator applications that can be installed on popular linux distributions.

Linux SSH

Secure shell (SSH) is a cryptographic network protocol for building secure applications with rich networking features. This protocol is most famously used to provide tools to connect to a command line interface on a remote machine. For example, it is possible to use the linux command ssh to connect to a shell on a remote machine from the linux console or a terminal emulator.


Microsoft Windows traditionally includes a command-line interpreter known as Command Prompt that uses a syntax similar to MS-DOS.


macOS traditionally provides a command line tool known as the Terminal application that uses a syntax similar to linux.


Android is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel. There are third party apps that claim to provide a terminal emulator for Android.
Overview: Command Prompt
A textual interface that allows a user to issue commands to an operating system.
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