How to Clear the Windows Command Prompt Screen

Clear your Command Prompt screen with three letters

What to Know

  • In Command Prompt, type: cls and press Enter. This clears the entire application screen.
  • Close and reopen Command Prompt. Click the on the top right of the window to close it, then reopen it as normal.
  • Press the esc key to clear the line of text and move back to the Command Prompt.

This article explains how to clear the screen in the Command Prompt application on Windows. You can use a simple command or just close and reopen Command Prompt. We also have a bonus section at the end of this how-to for clearing a line, character, or word.

Clear the Command Prompt Screen With a Command

Unlike many things on your computer, there aren’t several ways to clear the screen in Command Prompt. There is one basic command that will rid the screen of its history.

Type the follow command and hit Enter:

cls

You’ll then have a nice and clean Command Prompt screen where you can start fresh.

Cleared Command Prompt screen

Clear the Screen By Closing and Reopening Command Prompt

If for some reason, you cannot issue the above command to clear the screen, just close and then open Command Prompt again.

Maybe your keyboard is on the fritz or has a broken C, L, or S key. (Hey, things happen!) 

Simply close Command Prompt by clicking the X on the top right corner of the window. You can also right-click the icon in your Task Bar and select Close Window.

Click the X on the top right to close Command Prompt

Then, reopen it as you normally would and you’re back in command.

To quickly exit and close Command Prompt at the same time, type: exit and hit Enter.

Bonus: Clear Text on the Command Prompt Screen

Maybe you don’t necessarily need to clear the entire Command Prompt screen, but just the current line or some text in it. Here are a few helpful key presses to keep in mind.

  • Escape: Clear the current line of text. This removes the text and moves your cursor back to the prompt.
  • Backspace: Delete one character to the left of your cursor.
  • Ctrl+Backspace: Delete one word to the left of your cursor.
  • Ctrl+C: Stop the line you’re typing or command you’re running and move to a new prompt on the next line.

If you’re new to using Command Prompt on Windows take a look at our Command Prompt hacks.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I clear Command Prompt history in Windows? Your command history clears every time you close the Command Prompt. Close the window manually or use the Alt+F4 keyboard shortcut. 
  • How can I view a list of all command prompts? Use the help command: Enter help to see a list of available commands. To get more information about a particular command, type help command name. 
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