Microsoft replaces cmd.exe with PowerShell in latest Win10 build

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Microsoft replaces cmd.exe with PowerShell in latest Win10 build
Microsoft PowerShell on macOS.

More powerful CLI becomes default.

Microsoft is continuing to clear out old code from Windows, making PowerShell the default command line shell in its latest Windows 10 release.

PowerShell will start up via the file explorer in the latest insider preview build 14971 instead of the cmd.exe command prompt.

It will also launch in the Win + X menu, the shift-right-click context menu, and when "cmd" is typed in File Explorer's address bar along with "powershell".

Users can revert back to cmd.exe by changing the Windows 10 taskbar personalisation settings.

The venerable command prompt traces its history back to the OS/2 operating system that Microsoft co-developed with IBM in the late eighties.

Software engineer Therese Stowell, one of the orginal ten programmers who coded Microsoft's replacement to OS/2, Windows NT, created a version of cmd.exe as the default command line interpreter (CLI) for the new operating system.

The command prompt also found its way into Windows CE, the company's embedded operating system. 

Microsoft made cmd.exe in Windows compatible with the older command.com shell in the text-only MS-DOS operating system that preceded Windows, to enable users who had written batch files for task automation to continue to employ them.

PowerShell was released as a public beta in 2005. Version 1.0 came out in November the following year, and the tool is currently in version 5.0.

Compared to cmd.exe, PowerShell offers the ability to run .NET framework cmdlet programs, advanced scripts and functions, as well as standalone executables.

The CLI can be used to manage Microsoft applications such as Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint, Internet Information Services, and more through snap-ins and cmdlets. It can also be used to manage some third-party applications such as VMware vSphere through the PowerCLI tool, and IBM's WebSphere.

Microsoft has recently extended PowerShell to support Linux, Apple's OS X / macOS and some UNIX variants for cross-platform compatibility. The company also released the PowerShell code to Github as open source under a liberal MIT license.

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