Command lines
JP Software's command lines
The page about offerings from JP Software has more information about the software in this section.
See also: [4DOS.INFO]
Freeware 16-bit
Included Caveman technology
Shareware 32-bit
Now Freeware. Source available.
Unix shells for Microsoft Windows
See: Winsh.
Some other options

There is a SHELL.COM from csh4 (by Kent Williams), which has available source code, and a shareware OH.EXE from Orchard House by Gleason Pace. (An archive of the shareware Orchard House 3.0 has been located.) Orchard House is mainly being brought up because it was referenced by RIPLing Windows Millenium Edition from OS/2 Warp Server: Appendix A, “Interesting Variations” section, which noted some alternatives.

Some software has been released that may serve to modify the default command line shell/interpretor, rather than trying to entirely replace that software. The most famous is DOSKEY, which is bundled with some versions of DOS. However, there may be some other options that may be downloadable. For instance, Free Software For DOS: Keyboard Utils mentions some programs.

Posix command lines

Some writing, about getting a similar command line to work in Microsoft Windows, is mentioned at Bourne Shell (or largely compatible) for Microsoft Windows.

sh (in /bin/)
A file named sh stored in the /bin/ directory of Unix and compatible/clone operating systems has been around since the the first version of Unix. The actual software used has varied: Originally it was the Thompson shell, and later it was the PWB Shell, a.k.a. the Mashey shell, maintained in part by John Mashey. Later on the file would often refer to either the Bourne shell or the C shell. In modern day systems, it is often simply a copy of another shell, bash or ksh, which dumbs itself down to act like an older shell when its filename is called /bin/sh. The most notable feature of present day /bin/sh is a degree of compatibility: Scripts cound on /bin/sh to exist and to operate in certain ways. For actual interactive use, a different shell is generally recommended.
Public Domain Korn shell, or OpenBSD's ksh

With an executable filename of ksh in /bin, this has also be abbreviated as pdksh or oksh.

OpenBSD's FAQ 10 (ksh section) cites this being the same executable as sh. It appears to be a bit simpler of software than bash, but still supporting key popular features such as tab completion, command line editing, and so forth. OpenBSD's implementation is based on pdksh which has only for pdksh's simple licensing requirements.

OpenBSD's PD-ksh for Linux notes some work was done “to make bulding possible on FreeBSD.”

A port called:
oksh: OpenBSDs ksh for Linux
was at but that website seems to be down now. That port added the restrictions of GPLv3. A Debian package (which unsurprisingly works on something called Debian, and also Ubuntu) has been made for Debian Etch. The web site gives an example of setting PS1: Apparently running:
export PS1='\u@\h#'
to get a prompt showing the username and hostname followed by a pound sign, isn't something all ksh implementations can use.

Bourne-again shell (bash)
If ksh isn't available but one wants a shell with command line features like tab completion and some nicer command line editing, then bash may be available. It is installed by default on Ubuntu. OpenBSD FAQ 10: ksh section references bash but it isn't built into the operating system, probably due to being overly complex software compared to alternatives (making it more difficult to fully audit logic for security), or due to licensing issues, or due to increased size combined with unnecessity.
C Shell (csh)

Another alternative, used in 2BSD in 1979 to replace the Bourne shell.

Instead of using sh's syntax:
export VARNAME
(or perhaps “ export VARNAME=newval “) in csh, the commonly used syntax is:
setenv VARNAME=newval ” (referencing for comparison)

There is also tcsh ( Tenex-csh according to NetBSD 4.0 i386 INSTALL.html )

Bourne shell
This may be named /bin/sh.
Command line history

DOSKey comparison chart compares DOSKey to 4DOS and a regular prompt. DOSKey supports command line history, and keyboard aliases. So does 4DOS.

There are some freeware/shareware products that also perform such a thing.

For Posix
Built into the popular shells.
Graphical Shells
Windows 3.1 had one or more alternate shells. Text
Text mode modifiers
See the command line programs section of this page. Also:
Scrollback buffer
[#doscrlbk]: Scrollback buffer for DOS
[#peruse]: Peruse
For Peruse, see (zipped locally as
Also, the Confix.Sys driver may be useful to stop the screen early on.
For Posix

The program screen supports scrollback (by pressing Control A, and then up arrow). Other things one can try are PageUp, Shift-PageUp, and/or Control-PageUp. If one or more of those work, keep in mind that changing terminal windows (Alt-Fkey, or is it Alt-Ctrl-Fkey?) may cause the video buffer to lose track of what is stored, eliminating the possibility to scroll back (as much). If one wishes to view the initial boot screen, a program called dmesg may be available.

The program tmux is similar to screen and may have similar functionality, except that Ctrl-B tends to be used instead of Ctrl-A. An older program called window might also be an alternative.

One may be able to scroll back with PgUp or some modifier combinatino involving PgUp (like Shift-PgUp). However, switching terminal windows is likely to lose any such history.

[#txtmdres]: Text mode resolution setter
[#confxsys]: Confix.sys
PC Magazine Utilities v13n04 (zipped locally as contains which contains Confix.sys and its .ASM source and documentation. Confix.sys is loadable in the Config.sys and provides several abilities including setting the video mode, pausing until a key is pressed, setting initial states for the keyboard Num/Caps/Scroll locks, and printing (“echoing”) text to the screen. points out this may also be available at
tm103 (Jason Hood)

Jason Hood's “Text Mode” program is meant for DOS. (Zipped locally as, with changes.html renamed.)

For DOS, Jason recommends also looking at fontman and palman. He also has Console Size: Console Size (C source code) and Console Size (Windows NT/2K/XP executable binary file) (zipped locally as

ROW.EXE (Command line, config.sys, for DOS and OS/2 family)
One executable that works from a DOS command line, DOS Config.sys loading, or OS/2. In addition to features offerred by other programs, this also supports changing the size of a command prompt window in OS/2. Hobbes search for $10 shareware. The documentation references a 21 byte file seen in PC Magazine. (That is larger than
Ken Silverman's NV.Com

Only 16 bytes: 0xb036e64331c0e640e640b003cd10cd20, Ken Silverman's Utilities page (section on NV) says this sets 80x25 text mode (while clearing the screen) and will “fix the IRQ0 timer rate”. Inefficiently, this is distributed as a zip file 126 byte zip file. The description from the author's web site says, “Set to 80*25 text mode, clear the screen, and fix the IRQ0 timer rate, all in 16 bytes.” sets a screen to 50 row mode using the following 78 bytes: 0xB80005CD10B80012B31033C9CD100BC97437B330B80212CD10B807000AFF7502B003CD10 followed by 0xB81211B300CD10B220B402CD21B008B40E32FFCD10B408CD108AFC33C9B80006BA4F31CD10 followed by 0xB8004CCD21.
Mouse copy/paste
For Posix
For OpenBSD
wmouse? wsmouse?
moused? vmouse/vmoused? Others?
Interface options/setters
MS TweakUI, More Control. Also, programs that allow options to change are often classified as drivers. For example:
Boot-up modifiers
See Pre-Boot software for boot menus. Also:
Modifying boot parameters
Some versions of DOS have boot menus. (Can Confix.Sys help with this?) There are shareware alternatives. There is a shareware program that runs commands.
Command line, graphical version
Boot command (for OpenBSD)
See the boot config program info in OpenBSD FAQ.