Visual Studio Add-Ins: VSCmdShell

VSCmdShell is a handy add-in that places a Command window inside of Visual Studio. Available at http://www.codeplex.com/Wiki/View.aspx?ProjectName=VSCmdShell, after a simple install you can launch the command window from the View, Shell Window command. By default it launches as free floating, I chose to dock mine down at the bottom with the Command and Output windows.
[Picture of default VSCmdShell]

From here, you can issue your typical array of commands, such as getting a directory, but the cool thing I use it for is my deployment scripts. I have a cmd file (sort of the new version of a batch file) that compiles my web apps then deploys to the development server.

VSCmdShell has some nice customizations. It has the things you might expect, like being able to change the text and background colors, but you can also select the shell. For example, you could install the new Windows PowerShell, and use it as your default shell window.

To get to VSCmdShell’s options, click on Tools, Options. Scroll down to “Power Toys”. Note if you previously installed the Visual Studio Enhancements (which I blogged about at https://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2006/11/15/visual-studio-add-ins-ms-visual-studio-enhancements/) you’ll actually have two entries for power toys. The “PowerToys” (no space) is from the enhancements, the “Power Toys” (with a space) is from the VSCmdShell. Here’s a quick shot of the dialog:

[VSCmdShell Options Dialog]

As you can see, you can change the font and colors, the shell, and even set the initial directory for the command shell. Best of all, VSCmdWindow automatically sets up all the VS variables for you. If you ever have need of a command prompt, this free tool is well worth the download.

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