Windows Console Replacements, Part 7 – Take Command and FireCMD

Today we’re looking at FireCMD, a new Windows console replacement and (partial) command shell from Brainasoft ( Like Take Command (and ConEmu, ColorConsole, PowerCMD, PromptPal, and Console2) , FireCMD includes a tabbed window interface for Windows console applications. Also like Take Command (but unlike the others we’ve looked at in Parts 1 – 6 of this series), FireCMD includes a command processor. Though with only 14 internal and 9 external commands, the command processor component of FireCMD is rudimentary at best, and more of an add-on to the default Windows command shell CMD.EXE than a replacement.

FireCMD tabbed console windows

The FireCMD window displays the tabs at the top and a small toolbar on the left (there is no menu or status bar). FireCMD adds a few features not available in the standard Windows console:

  1. Windows menu (File, Edit, View, etc.)
  2. Tabbed windows
  3. Keyboard shortcuts
  4. A toolbar for some commonly used commands
  5. The option to select non-monospaced fonts
  6. Optional background image
  7. The ability to resize the window, both horizontally & vertically, by dragging the corner
  8. Snapshots of the active tab (PNG, JPEG, BMP, and GIF)
  9. A text editor (FireTXT)

#8 is the only thing in FireCMD that is not already available (in a more extensive form) in Take Command. Take Command allows you to save the contents of the tab window as a text file — nobody’s ever asked for an image file instead, though I’d be open to implementing the feature if users want it.

The output display in the tabbed windows is relatively fast in FireCMD; about the same speed as a Take Command tabbed window. (Admittedly, FireCMD is doing a lot less.)

By way of comparison, let’s take another look at a minimal Take Command window. (The Take Command Explorer-style Folder and List View windows and the common Command Input window are set to Autohide in order to show a more straightforward comparison with the FireCMDwindow. The Take Command tabbed toolbar is also not shown.)

Take Command tabbed Windows command line shell

Let’s plug FireCMD into our comparison table:

Take Command
Price (single new copy)
Tabbed Windows UI
Multiple tabbed windows for console applications
Run simple GUI apps in tabs
Customize menu accelerator keys
Customize tabs location (top/bottom/left/right)
Multiple display themes
Horizontal / vertical tab groups
Attach and detach console windows
Optional command input window
Cut and paste block and/or line selection
Continuously variable transparency option
Integrated GUI file explorer
User-defined startup tabs
Programmable tabbed toolbar
Configurable status bar
Full text search in tabbed console windows
Context-sensitive help for all commands and variables
32-bit and 64-bit versions
Display Speed
Take Command
dir /s c:\windows (in seconds) – Windows console: 38.5
Command Prompt
Take Command
GUI IDE w/ batch file debugger
Aliases (command and directory)
Regular Expressions in filenames
Wildcards in pathnames and/or filenames
Enhanced command line editor
Enhanced filename completion
GDirectory Navigation
ANSI X3.64 text output
Built in batch file editor
Direct FTP / HTTP file access (including SSL & SSH)
Network file system access (OpenAFS)
Active Scripting (Perl, Python, VBSscript, Javascript)
Scripting Language
Take Command
Internal Commands
14 *
Internal Variables
0 *
Internal Functions
0 *

*FireCMD doesn’t include a full CMD-replacement command interpreter; you will need to run CMD or an alternative shell (bash, TCC/LE, etc.) if you intend to do any scripting or anything other than very minimal interactive command line work.

Summary: FireCMD in its current form doesn’t offer any significant advantages over the other Windows console replacements I’ve reviewed in parts 1 – 6, and it only has a tiny fraction of the features available in Take Command. It’s worth watching because of Brainasoft’s inclusion of an alternative command shell — perhaps future versions will expand the shell’s command set to make it truly usable as a CMD replacement.

Next: We’ll start with the Linux console replacements.

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