How to Enable Auto Complete Feature in Windows Command Prompt

If you are a Windows power user, then you will probably be using the command prompt very frequently.
By itself, the command prompt lacks several features out of the box and auto-completion is one of them. In case you are wondering, here is how you can enable the auto-complete feature in Windows Command Prompt, both temporarily and permanently.

Note: by default, Windows allows you to use the TAB key as the control character to cycle through (auto-complete) the folder and file names in the command prompt, but if you are not able to do so, follow the instructions below.

You can enable the auto-complete feature temporarily in the command prompt by invoking a simple command. To do that, press “Win + R,” type cmd and press the Enter button to open the command prompt. Once opened, enter the below command and press the Enter button.

cmd /f

Enable the auto-complete feature temporarily.

From this point onward, you can use the auto-complete feature by pressing the control characters “Ctrl + D” for folder and “Ctrl + F” for files. As this is a temporary solution, the command is only valid for the current session. If you want to disable auto-completion feature in the current session, then use the below command.

cmd /f:off

Disable auto-completion feature in the current session.

If you want to enable the auto-complete feature permanently, you need to edit a couple of Windows registry entries. To do that, press “Win + R,” type regedit and press the Enter button. This action will open the Windows Registry.

Open the Windows Registry.

Here, navigate to the following key.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Command Processor

Navigate to Command Processor.

Double-click on the key “CompletionChar.” This action will open the Value Data window. Replace the existing value with “9” and click on the “Ok” button to save the changes. This action will set the default control character as the TAB key on your keyboard.

If you want to set “Ctrl + D” as your control character, then enter the value as “4.” If you want to use “Ctrl + F” as your control character, then enter “6” as the value in the value data field.

Replace the existing value with '9.'

Double-click on the key “PathCompletionChar” and enter the value data as “9” for TAB key, “4” for “Ctrl + D” and “6” for “Ctrl + F.” After entering the value data, click on the “Ok” button to save the changes.

Enter the value data as '9' for TAB key.

However, make sure both keys we just edited have the same value data. Otherwise the configuration won’t work as it should.

That’s all there is to do. From this point forward, you can use the auto-complete feature in Windows Command Prompt by pressing either of the tab keys or CTRL + D or CTRL + F, depending on your configuration.

Hopefully that helps, and do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about the auto-complete feature in Windows Command Prompt.