BASH Alias-like Shortcuts for Windows


Ever wanted to have persistent, BASH-like aliases for Windows? Unfortunately, Windows makes this a little more convoluted, but it is still possible!

In the Unix world, users have the ability to create a file, usually called .bash_aliases, that contains user-defined shortcuts for executing commands. The example below greps out a case-insensitive string from a process list:

alias psg='ps -ef | grep -i $1'

Where $1 is the first argument (a string in this case) to grep for. An example would be:

user@box:~# psg fire
root       4604   4409 71 19:33 ?        00:00:04 /usr/bin/firefox

In the Windows world, these command line shortcuts (macros) are created using Doskey, defined as

The Doskey utility lets you encapsulate command strings as easy-to-enter macros. (

Create Your Macros

The first step is to create a text file of your macros, and save it as whatever you like, doskey_macros.txt is used in this example. Below are some of my most used macros:

h=doskey /history
ps=tasklist $*
ls=dir /a /x $*
lt=dir /a /x /od $*
d=cd %USERPROFILE%\desktop
p=ping -n 1 || ping -n 1
findgrep=dir /s /a /b \*$1*
n=notepad $*
e=explorer .
cya=shutdown /f /s /t 0
reboot=shutdown /f /r /t 0
pspath=wmic process get processid,parentprocessid,executablepath
psg=tasklist | findstr /i $1
nsg=netstat -nao | findstr /i $1
nd=mkdir $1 $t cd $1
cp=copy $*
mv=move $*
ifconfig=ipconfig $*
macros=doskey /macros

Most of them should be around with them to see how they work. Just like with the BASH aliases, $1 represents the first user-defined argument, $* represents all the user-defined arguments, and $t is used to chain commands (like & on the command line). More details and options can be found here:

In order to load the Doskey macros after opening a cmd.exe shell, the command is:

doskey /macrofile=doskey_macros.txt

That's kind of a pain to do every time you launch a shell, so how can we make it persistent so that it loads every time?

Make the Doskey Macros Persistent

The autorun registry key found here hklm\software\microsoft\command processor can be used to load your Doskey macros automatically when cmd.exe is launched.

reg query "hklm\software\microsoft\command processor" /v autorun

reg add "hklm\software\microsoft\command processor" /v autorun /t reg_expand_sz /d "doskey /listsize=999 /macrofile=c:\users\opsdisk\doskey_macros.txt" /f

When cmd.exe is launched, it automatically loads the doskey_macros.txt file! To my knowledge, these do not work for PowerShell (powershell.exe) shells.

The code can be found here:

Comments, suggestions, and improvements are always welcome. Be sure to follow @opsdisk on Twitter for the latest updates.