How to Open the Command Prompt at Boot or Before You Sign into Windows 11

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The article provides a guide to open the Command Prompt before signing into Windows, useful for troubleshooting problems. It describes two methods: using installation media USB or ISO; or using the Advanced Startup menu. Executing the Command Prompt at boot can automate tasks like user account management and backups, or address issues inaccessible through the…

This article describes the steps to open the Command Prompt at boot or before you sign into Windows.

Windows has two command-line shells: the Command shell and PowerShell. Each command-line shell provides an entry point for typing commands in the Command Prompt or PowerShell console window. In addition, you can automate routine tasks, like user account management or nightly backups, with batch (.bat) files.

In some cases, running the Command Prompt before logging into Windows is the best way to troubleshoot issues. For example, if you cannot open a command prompt from within Windows 11, you can open a command prompt at boot to use instead.

Here’s how to do that.

How to open the command prompt at Startup on Windows 11

As mentioned above, to best troubleshoot issues, you may want to run the Command Prompt at boot, and the steps below show you how to do that.

There are two possible ways to boot into the Command Prompt at boot. One is to use Windows Installation Media USB or ISO, and the other is to boot Windows via Advanced Startup.

Open the command prompt at boot with SHIFT + F10

If you use a Windows installation media USB or ISO, boot into the media by pressing a key on your keyboard while Windows reads the media.

On the Windows Setup screen below, press the SHIFT + F10 keys.

windows 11 install on virtualbox setup
Windows 11 windows setup

When you do that, it will open a Command Prompt window. You can run commands if you switch the path to C:\.

command prompt at boot windows
command prompt at boot windows

Open the command prompt using Advanced Startup

Alternatively, you can open the Command Prompt using the Advanced Startup menu within Windows or the installation media.

On the Windows Setup screen, click the Next button.

windows 11 install on virtualbox setup
Windows 11 installed on VirtualBox setup

Then select the Repair your computer link at the bottom left.

windows 11 install on virtualbox install
Windows 11 install on Virtualbox install

That should open the Advanced Startup menu. Click Troubleshoot.

windows 11 advanced startup boot troubleshoot
Windows 11 advanced startup boot troubleshoot

Then, Advanced options.

windows 11 advanced startup boot advanced options
Windows 11 advanced startup boot advanced options

Next, select Command Prompt.

windows open command prompt at boot menu
Windows opens the command prompt at the boot menu.

A command prompt window should open when you can run commands.

command prompt at boot windows
command prompt at boot windows

That should do it!

Reference:

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/administration/windows-commands/windows-commands

Conclusion:

This post showed you how to open the command prompt at boot or before you sign into Windows. Please use the comment form below if you find any errors above or have something to add.

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