Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Saving Windows Command Prompt & Powershell command history to a file for later useage

15th May 2013

It’s amazing what ideas Linux gives that you wouldn’t encounter that clearly in the world of Windows. One of these is output and command line history so a script can be created. In the Windows world, this would be called a batch file. Linux usefully has the history command and it does the needful for taking a snapshot like so:

history > ~/commands.sh

All of the commands stored in a terminal’s command history get stored in the commands.sh in the user’s home area. The command for doing the same thing from the Windows command line is not as obvious because it uses the doskey command that is intended for command line macro writing and execution. Usefully, it has a history option that tells it to output all the commands issued in a command line session. Unless, you create a file with them in there, there seems to be no way to store all those commands across sessions, unlike UNIX and Linux. Therefore, a command like the following is a partial solution that is more permanent than using the F7 key on your keyboard:

doskey /history > c:\commands.bat

Windows Powershell has something similar too and it even has aliases of history and even h. All Powershell scripts have file extensions of ps1 and the example below follows that scheme:

get-history > c:\commands.ps1

However, I believe that even Powershell doesn’t carry over command history between sessions though Microsoft are working on adding this useful functionality. They could co-opt Cygwin of course but that doesn’t seem to be their way of going about things.

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