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Windows Console Replacements, Part 2 - Take Command and Console2

Today we’re looking at Console (sometimes called Console2), a Windows console replacement. Console is written by Marko Bozikovic, and the latest version (2.0) has been in beta for several years. The development pace seems to have slowed recently — 2.00.147 beta was released in November 2010, and 2.00.148 beta was released in October 2011. Console is available on SourceForge.

Console works by hiding the console windows and then reading & displaying their contents in tabs in a GUI window. (The overall concept is similar to what Take Command does, though the underlying architecture is very different.)

Console2 tabbed windows screenshot

Console adds some new features not available in the standard Windows console:

  • Tabbed windows
  • Configurable fonts
  • Line-based text selection (instead of the column selection in the windows console)
  • Transparency
  • Different window styles
  • Resize the window, both horizontally & vertically by dragging the corner
  • Configurable startup tabs
  • Hotkeys

Note that like Mintty, Console2 is not a replacement for the Windows CMD command prompt; it is a wrapper for command line programs (like CMD, TCC, Bash, etc.).

Let’s take a look at the 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 Console window.)

Take Command v13 screenshot

Take Command includes all of the Console2 features listed above. I’m not aware of any significant feature in Console2 that’s lacking in Take Command; if anybody knows of something in Console2 that they would like to see added to Take Command, please let me know.

Let’s plug Console / Console2 into our comparison table:

Take Command
Price (single new copy)
Free (GPL)
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
0 *
Internal Variables
0 *
Internal Functions
0 *

*Console doesn’t include a command interpreter.

Console is a bit faster than the stock Windows console, but substantially slower than Take Command.

Next time: Comparing Take Command and PromptPal.