Finding the Visual Studio Command Prompts in Visual Studio 2012

Finding the Visual Studio Command Prompts in Visual Studio 2012

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If you’re using Visual Studio 2012 on Windows 8, you may be looking for the Visual Studio Command Prompt shortcuts.  These shortcuts are installed by Visual Studio to run scripts that configure the command line environment to use particular sets of Visual Studio tools, or to use specific versions of the Visual C++ compiler from the command line.

These shortcuts are installed with Visual Studio 2012, but only the “Developer Command Prompt for VS2012” (which is equivalent to the shortcut for the x86 native tools) is pinned to the Start screen by default.  The command prompts for the x64 cross tools, the x64 native tools, and the ARM cross tools are installed but aren’t pinned.

To find these shortcuts, you can search for them at the Start screen (just type “VS2012 command prompt” without the quotes while you’re on the Start screen):

If you want to keep them visible on your Start screen, you can right-click on the tile and choose “Pin to Start”:

(Please note: depending on the version of Visual Studio 2012 you have installed, you may not see the same list of command prompt shortcuts.  Not all shortcuts are installed with Visual Studio Express versions.)

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  • Loved seeing such a technical article on the Visual C++ Team Blog.

    Please continue to invest your time excerpting from "Windows 8 For Dummies" rather than posting about your plans to improve MFC.

  • Wow, that's waaaay easier than the classic start menu.

  • I'd to add that another nice way is to get ConEmu (, and setup the shortcut in it directly :-)

  • You just need to type cmd for them to show up

  • I suppose the new "enhanced" fullscreen search mode got so advanced that most developers (those who need to use VS command line, but don't have enough tech skill) couldn't find where are those related shortcuts, so as I understand you got a plenty of feedback from angry developers and decided to add the Solution to this Problem right to the C++ blog. Excelent work! Now I feel a lot more comfortable with this knowledge, I even might start to think about switch to W8.

  • Why so many prompts? What's the difference between x64 Native and x64 Cross Tools? and what about Native Tools Command Prompt...

    It's just a mess

  • hello jennifer. i have a big problem

    my msdn forum account is banned and there is no reason

    i did not get any email message etc

    can you please check the issue ?

    thank you

  • Feature request: could you please make VS2012 available from the command prompt (primarily meaning cmd.exe -- optionally perhaps also PowerShell but only if cmd.exe support implemented first) out of the box (straight away after launching cmd, without having to launch it in any specific way requiring any extra steps)? A simple alias would work.

    Related request: please make /EHsc the default choice for this alias -- the current way to access cl.exe from the command prompt is unnecessarily tedious, compared to the out-of-the-box command-line support available in other compilers; just compare:

    (a) VS2012:

    (b) GCC:

    You could support cross-compilation and versioning similarly to how GCC does, i.e., simply allow selection via a different command name (e.g., GCC uses "arm-elf-gcc" for its ARM-elf target; if you have multiple versions of GCC you can select one as the default (e.g., "gcc", or "g++") and have the other ones available when specifically requested (e.g., "gcc-4.4", or "g++-4-4")):

    I often need to verify a simple code snippet and I often have a command prompt already open (I'm sure this workflow is not particularly different from many other C++ developers) -- it would be a nice productivity enhancement to be able to use VS2012 out of the box for this (and not having to open separate windows when I want to test both the x86/Win32 and the x86-64/x64 targets).

    Right now I often have to rely on MinGW for quick tests like these and/or custom-made aliases for VS2012 (which then call "vcvarsall.bat" for a poor man's emulation of command prompt support).

    These are not available out of the box (so we have to reinvent the wheel), but a major problem is that they won't support the includes & libs settings made in `%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\MSBuild\v4.0\Microsoft.Cpp.Win32.user.props` and `%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\MSBuild\v4.0\Microsoft.Cpp.x64.user.props` -- which is another hurdle when using any extra libraries.

    This shouldn't be particularly hard to implement and would give a nice productivity gain -- let me know if you need any further clarification or have any questions :-)

  • I have windows 7. Can you provide screenshots, how to find command prompts in windows 7 ?


  • If you want devs to write code for RT, how about showing us how many devs actually make money selling RT apps?  I'm not talking about unit sales or dollar sales.  I am talking about after tax P&L on things directly related to RT.  Otherwise, all of this is simply Ballmer's folly.

  • Thank you for the post: but the fact you even have to explain this in Windows 8 and not in Windows 7 to technical readers kind of speaks volumes.

    In the 'good old days' I could discover and explore everything related to my VS2012 installation by using the hierarchical Start Menu.

    Now I have to know what to type to find it and everything appears in a very un-dense flat format.

    Windows 8 has left me speechless.

  • I am not only looking for the command prompt but mainly for the color. Where can I find it?

  • I love how everything ends with ...

  • So, this is how a company stars to fall apart, huh?

  • The full start menu tree is available in Windows 8.  Just right click the start screen and then select "All Apps".  I actually like it better.  You can get to stuff with fewer clicks and not restricted to 1/4 of the screen.

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