Quick tip: Replacing cmd.exe

December 14, 2009

It has been a long while now since I ran Windows on hardware. However, I need to use it for a lot of things at work, so I have several Windows VMs running on ESX hosts and I just RDP to them.

Most of the time, this works really well. I have always been pretty impressed with the RDP protocol (not so much after trying NX, but it’s still decent). However, one huge annoyance is the Command Prompt, cmd.exe. Whenever large amounts of text scroll by (verbose logging, for example), my RDP session simply hangs. There’s nothing I can do to break the output. Ctrl-C can take ages to get though and I usually end up killing the RDP client.

So I recently decided to find an alternative, and that turned out to be pretty easy: Console.

It is by no means perfect, in fact it is pretty rough around the edges. But scrolling works much better than with cmd.exe, and there are a few other improvements as well. For example, it is possible to resize the window without entering numbers in a dialog box 🙂

Copying and pasting works a bit differently, so that took a few days of getting used to. But the good thing is that I no longer pause a running process accidentally by selecting a character of text (grr…).

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