Difference Between CMD vs Powershell vs Bash

If you are a tech guy or have any kind of relation with IT, you must have come across the comparisons about CMD, Powershell, Bash, and Windows vs Linux/Unix. There is usually a debate going on about which tool is better for performing different administration and server automation tasks. Moreover, many people still couldn’t get over the difference between Powershell, CMD, and Bash. A lot of comparisons are carried out each day about their functionality and features, but still, it’s a hot topic.

This article will introduce all three tools and draw a clear line about how they are different from each other.

CMD vs Powershell vs Bash

What is CMD?

CMD stands for Windows Command Prompt. When Microsoft DOS operating system was launched initially, CMD was used as a shell in it and the first version of CMD was released in 1987, 34 years from today. The command prompt is the default command-line interpreter for Microsoft Windows and few other operating systems. CMD is usually used for carrying out different routine administration tasks and is also used to perform automation. All such tasks are performed using scripts and batch files in the command prompt. Command prompt has pre-built commands that are usually used to perform different operations such as CD, copy, paste, ping, etc.

What is Windows Powershell?

Microsoft Windows was never considered to be very good at task automation compared to Linux. It was because of the limited functionality of the command prompt. In 2002 Microsoft started working on a new command-line tool and it was called Monad. In 2006, the first version was released with the name Powershell. Powershell is an automated command-line shell and also has all the features & functionalities of CMD. The major update or difference in Powershell is that it is object-oriented. Its functionality is based on objects, very similar to object-oriented programming based on objects, functions, and methods. One great addition to the list of features in Powershell is command lets, usually called Cmdlets.

What is Bash?

As Powershell is popular in windows operating systems, Bash is one of the most popular command-line interfaces in UNIX. Moreover, Bash is the default Shell these days in most Unix/Linux-based systems. In 1977 Stephen Bourne released his shell, at that time no shell was freely available. Stephen Bourne released another open-source shell named (Bash) Bourne Again Shell in 1988 for the GNU project to get over this limitation. Since then, Bash is extremely popular among developers specially for deploying their code base or applications. Some of the key features of Bash are system stability, command-line editing, key-binding, command history, open-source, etc. All these features make it one of the most used scripting environments among IT professionals

CMD vs PowerShell vs Bash: Comparison Table

CMD is the command line for Microsoft Windows operating system, with command-based features.Powershell is a task-based command-line interface, specifically designed for system admins and is based on the .Net Framework.Bash is a command-line and scripting language for most Unix/Linux-based operating systems.
The generated output is in the form of characters.Powershell treats input and output as objects.Like CMD, Bash also treats input and output as text structures.
CMD uses a text-based command-line interface.Powershell has a more interactive graphical command-line interface CLI.Bash has a simple user interface that is also text-based like CMD. 
It comes as a default program in all the windows operating systems.In windows 2007 and above, Powershell is a built-in program. Before that, it has to be installed as a separate program.Linux and Unix systems mostly use Bash, and it is used from the very first day in Linux and Unix operating systems.

To put it in a nutshell, each of the tools has its own benefits and usage according to the specific circumstances. Powershell is the advanced version of CMD with a lot of added functionalities and features. Moreover, it has a better graphical interface and better support for server automation tasks. Comparing Powershell and Bash is like comparing apples and oranges, they are used for different operating systems with different functionalities all over.


  1. Joseph Fernandez

    I particularly love BASH, why? It comes packed up with almost everything you need right from the get-go. And mac’s come inbuilt with all MacOS. What’s not to love? Great article and summary of the different systems.

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