PromptPal offers a graphical user interface (GUI) to the old Windows command prompt, also known as the DOS prompt. It does not replace the command processor, just provides an easier to use interface to it.
The fully-functional trial version is available for download, and is time-limited to 30 days. The purchase price is USD $29.95.
PromptPal runs on Windows 2000, XP, 2003, and Vista, and installation is simple and straightforward. A two monthly release cycle ensures that updates are regularly available. This is particularly handy as people come to grips with Vista and its extended security model – I’m sure more enhancements will be available in future. Already you can set up commands to run with elevated privileges, which is vital for Vista.
After installation, I had to look at the help to work out how to get started. But the help is complete and easy to understand, and once I had read a few early pages I was able to quickly get going. After a while, I was a bit confused between the interaction between commands and batch files, and contacted support.
Replies were fast and friendly. (When you create a command, it's just a command, not the parameters to it as well, which you can capture in a batch file. So you might want to create a command to execute your favorite batch files.)
PromptPal recognizes around 140 standard Windows commands and offers automatic completion (just press Enter). It provides their switches for you to select from, helping you to quickly build an accurate command. You can add details about commands not already recognized by PromptPal.
A full command history, even across sessions, saves typing for your favorite commands. If you’ve made mistakes, you can delete commands from the command history. You can also configure how many commands to maintain in the history. Marking favorites is another useful feature – favorites always remain in the command history no matter how infrequently you use them.
It would be nice if you could declare a command as a favorite at the same time that you define it. Also it would be nice to be able to immediately execute a command from the same dialog in which you edit it.
The dual window display (View > Dual Pane) is handy as you can see both the command you entered and its result.
Equally handy is the PromptPal command band, which is an addition to the Windows task bar that allows you to immediately run any command line without needing to launch a DOS prompt. For commands like regedit or %temp%, the PromptPal command band simply executes the command. For commands that require further input, the command band opens a new PromptPal window.
PromptPal lets you cut and paste using the same keys as other Windows applications, which you can’t do with the regular DOS command prompt. You can also easily browse for file and path names.
If you work as part of a team, you might want to share your commands around – PromptPal’s application data is stored in %APPDATA%\Technology Lighthouse\PromptPal.
If you do a lot of command line work, PromptPal is worth the money as it will definitely save you time and frustration.