Download a file from the command line in Windows

cURL is your friend

As a Linux user, I can't help but spend most of my time on the command line. Not that the GUI is not efficient, but there are things that are simply faster to do with the keyboard.

Think about copy and paste. Select a text you want to copy, go to the edit menu, click, precisely move down to copy, click, then go to the destination, click where you want to paste, go to edit menu, click, move down to the paste option, then paste. Every time I see someone do this, I die a little inside. Sure you can save some time by right-clicking, copy, right-click, paste. But you can save some more time by pressing, ctrl-c then ctrl-v

My hands are already on the keyboard, and I would rather do the mundane things on the keyboard and not think about them.

One thing I do frequently is download files. They can be zip file, tgz, or jpg. On linux, all I have to do is open the command line, run wget with the file I want to download and it is done.


Straight to the point. But how do you do that when you are on a Windows machine? Let me introduce you to cURL, pronounced curl. (i don't know why I wrote it the way I did)

curl is a very powerful tool with too many feature. But I just want to download the file on Windows so let's just learn how to do that.

Open PowerShell. That's Windows Key + R then type powershell and press enter.

Now run the curl command with the -O option to specify the file output.

curl -O picture.jpg

Easy right? Now you can download files right from the command line all by simply using your keyboard.

OK. It is time I confess. This is not the curl tool you are using. It's only an alias. In reality, we are calling the command Invoke-WebRequest. But hey! It works, so we don't care. You can call it in its native format if you want to.

Invoke-WebRequest -O picture.jpg

Either way, now you know how to download a file from the command line.


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