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Posted 30 May 2002


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Command Prompt Explorer Bar

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4.93/5 (184 votes)
10 Jun 20023 min read
This tool extends explorer with functionality of a command prompt. Implemented as a band object completely in C#. Demonstrates COM Interop and P/Invoke, windows hooking and API interception. Finally you can run all these .Net SDK tools and ‘Hello World!’ programs without leaving explorer shell.


The Command Prompt Explorer Bar is a small tool that extends Windows Explorer.

Version 1.1 is now available.

Ever tried to run one of those console programs ("Hello World!" to name a few), .BAT, .VBS or .JS scripts just to see black window popping up and disappearing? I did. Especially after I started using .Net framework I find myself doing this more often. No wonder - with all this ALs , NGENs and TLBIMPs. So if you are like me then this tool is right for you. Next time you need to run a program without GUI, just press the 'Ctrl+M' key combination in your explorer. A command prompt will start and appear automatically. Its current directory will be exactly the same as the current path you are browsing. And better yet the console will appear inside your explorer window - like any other explorer bar does - 'History', 'Favorites', 'Folders' etc. Now you can have the best of both worlds combined together - easy and fast navigation of explorer and power of batch processing of the command prompt. Or should I say Command Prompt Explorer Bar:

Image 1

Well, that is how it looks like. Isn't it a beauty?

You may have noticed a toolbar on the left of the console window. I tried to put some nice timesaving features there. The most powerful is a button with a 'Script' icon on it. It has a drop down menu where you can select a command you like to be executed. It even knows how to substitute '{0}' for the name of the current files selected in explorer. Here is when it can be useful. Let's say you want to install your assembly into a 'Native Images Cache'. With Command Bar it is as simply as selecting your assembly in explorer and clicking on 'ngen {1}' menu item. It also works just fine for multiple selected files (use {0} instead). Now you can compile your .cs or .vbs files without leaving a comfortable explorer shell. And yes, you can change this menu and scripts the way you like them. It is as simple as editing a text file in a Notepad.

And here is another (besides pressing 'Ctrl+M') way of starting this tool:

Image 2

I hope you'll enjoy this little tool. Send me your comments, requests and bug reports to


  • 5/31/2002, 1.0 - original version.
  • 6/11/2002, 1.1 - bug fixes. NOTE: if you were using version 1.0 and have customized macro.xml file, you might want to save its backup version somewhere before uninstalling.
    • New setup. Hopefully without issues like in previous version. Thanks to Michael Dunn for his tip.
    • Fixed an issue with CMD.EXE failing to start. CreateProcess interception is now scoped by instances of Folder Windows and enabled only if CommandBar is visible. 'Launch folder windows in a separate process’ is no more required.
    • Integrated keyboard focus with explorer. Now Command Prompt window is reachable through Tab and Shift+Tab keys.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

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About the Author

Pavel Zolnikov
Web Developer
United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

GeneralDead project? Pin
sir_Alx13-Oct-16 13:38
Membersir_Alx13-Oct-16 13:38 
QuestionBrilliant program, but not good running. Pin
Member 1067700118-Dec-14 19:39
MemberMember 1067700118-Dec-14 19:39 
AnswerRe: Brilliant program, but not good running. Pin
Member 126248087-Jul-16 23:55
MemberMember 126248087-Jul-16 23:55 
QuestionWindows 7 build Pin
fparrish15-Nov-12 12:05
Memberfparrish15-Nov-12 12:05 
AnswerRe: Windows 7 build Pin
danieladacruz8428-Feb-14 3:15
Memberdanieladacruz8428-Feb-14 3:15 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
im_chc17-May-12 22:23
professionalim_chc17-May-12 22:23 
Questioncrash Pin
ello_cc19-Feb-12 17:36
Memberello_cc19-Feb-12 17:36 
Questionnot working on Win 7 Pin
Wrangly4-Jul-11 21:48
MemberWrangly4-Jul-11 21:48 
GeneralError on windows 7 Pin
aldo hexosa4-Oct-10 22:00
professionalaldo hexosa4-Oct-10 22:00 
The Installer has encountered an unexpected error installing this package. This may indicate a problem with the package. The error code 2869.
I got this error when installing on win 7. Please help
AnswerRe: Error on windows 7 Pin
Cédric Bourgeois28-Feb-11 8:23
MemberCédric Bourgeois28-Feb-11 8:23 
GeneralNow thats nice ... Pin
stixoffire26-Feb-10 7:39
Memberstixoffire26-Feb-10 7:39 
QuestionNot working on Vista 64 but?? Pin
ingoklemm4-Oct-09 1:36
Memberingoklemm4-Oct-09 1:36 
GeneralWorks well with QT Tab bar too! Pin
im_chc20-Sep-09 16:04
professionalim_chc20-Sep-09 16:04 
GeneralWindows 7 Pin
neuwirthe26-Aug-09 22:45
Memberneuwirthe26-Aug-09 22:45 
GeneralJust a size glitch Pin
gabrielmaldi4-Apr-09 5:35
Membergabrielmaldi4-Apr-09 5:35 
GeneralPerfect idea! Pin
michaelogical9-Mar-09 10:59
Membermichaelogical9-Mar-09 10:59 
GeneralWin XP SP3 x86 edition on 64 Bit Hardware - Crashes Explorer Pin
gutharius9-Jan-09 18:26
Membergutharius9-Jan-09 18:26 
GeneralWorks in IE but not Explorer when installing on Windows XP 64-bit Pin
pashleb8-Jan-09 1:26
Memberpashleb8-Jan-09 1:26 
GeneralRe: Works in IE but not Explorer when installing on Windows XP 64-bit Pin
Russ McMackin19-Feb-09 9:33
MemberRuss McMackin19-Feb-09 9:33 
GeneralXP x64 problem. Pin
oleg632-Oct-08 10:57
professionaloleg632-Oct-08 10:57 
QuestionWhat a nice and nicer idea!!!! Pin
rahulja10-Sep-08 3:59
Memberrahulja10-Sep-08 3:59 
QuestionVista Installation Issues - Error Code 2869 and Error 1304: Error writing to file zcommon.dll Pin
picardo29-Aug-08 11:21
Memberpicardo29-Aug-08 11:21 
AnswerRe: Vista Installation Issues - Error Code 2869 and Error 1304: Error writing to file zcommon.dll Pin
Jesper G. Simonsen26-Oct-08 4:50
MemberJesper G. Simonsen26-Oct-08 4:50 
QuestionControlling Sidebar from BHO Pin
Alex Shneyder9-Oct-07 18:24
MemberAlex Shneyder9-Oct-07 18:24 
QuestionHow to display Explorer Bar Pin
vikrant kpr7-Sep-07 11:50
Membervikrant kpr7-Sep-07 11:50 

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