Scott Hanselman

It's time for you to install Windows Terminal

February 14, '20 Comments [27] Posted in Open Source | Win10
Sponsored By

It's time. It's the feature complete release of the Windows Terminal. Stop reading, and go install it. I'll wait here. You done? OK.

You can download the Windows Terminal from the Microsoft Store or from the GitHub releases page. There's also an unofficial Chocolatey release. I recommend the Store version if possible.

NOTE: Have you already downloaded the Terminal, maybe a while back? Enough has changed that you should delete your profiles.json and start over.

BIG NOTE: Educate yourself about the difference between a console, a terminal, and a shell. This isn't a new "DOS Prompt." Windows Terminal is the view into whatever shell makes you happy.

What's new? A lot. At this point this is the end of the new features before 1.0 though, and now it's all about bug fixes and rock solid stability.

The Windows Terminal

So you've downloaded the Windows Terminal...now what?

You might initially be underwhelmed. This is a Terminal, it's not going to hold your hand.

The Documentation is just getting started but you can start here! This would be a great way for you to get involved in Open Source, by the way!

Here's the big new change that is very exciting!

Windows Terminal Command Line Arguments

You may know you can run Windows Terminal with "wt.exe" and this version now supports Command line arguments! Here's an examples to give you a taste:

  • wt ; split-pane -p "Windows PowerShell" ; split-pane -H wsl.exe
  • wt -d .
  • wt -d c:\github

At this point you can get as advanced as you want. Make other icons, pin them to the taskbar, have a blast. There's subcommands like new-tab, split-pane, and focus-tab.ter

Other Windows Terminal things to note

Please share YOUR blogs, YOUR profiles, YOUR favorite themes and terminal hacks as well!


Sponsor: Have you tried developing in Rider yet? This fast and feature-rich cross-platform IDE improves your code for .NET, ASP.NET, .NET Core, Xamarin, and Unity applications on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb
Saturday, February 15, 2020 12:58:13 AM UTC
Somehow, I'm so used to having Terminal here already, and yet there was a time where it would've been inconceivable. Love the easy to edit/commit json config. Cascadia Code is quite delightful, too!

Alacritty is another nice terminal. It's a lighter, faster, non-UWP, also open source alternative. (It also seems to avoid a reported bug that badly affects certain Gsync users.)

It's fun to think of what will surprise us next from MS. WSL2 is coming to stable, Terminal has a stable release, maybe something new?
Linux Refugee
Saturday, February 15, 2020 1:30:59 AM UTC
Sadly till mouse support is there I am recommending people needing tmux and vim use wsltty. Windows terminal sure is fast and has a ton of promise, but missing a few features atm that make it hard for it to be my go to when I am on Windows.
Saturday, February 15, 2020 6:00:24 AM UTC
Still doesn’t remember window position upon close and reopen.
Uwe
Saturday, February 15, 2020 7:54:28 AM UTC
Now just need a way to be able to tell Windows to use this instead of conhost by default :)
Simon
Saturday, February 15, 2020 10:43:24 AM UTC
Using it for a while now (windows 10 1903 required!) and love it. You can set a startup windows location (for me 0,0 which is almost top left) and size (quarter screen, like you would dock it top left) in the json settings! Probably now you can set the respective cli argument.
Patrick
Saturday, February 15, 2020 6:42:18 PM UTC
Great article. I'll spread the gospel. Lots of settings to play with.
I moved keybindings elements to the root as it's in defaults.json and removed items in globals that were already set in defaults.json with identical values.
Saturday, February 15, 2020 9:40:46 PM UTC
While we wait for a way to switch Windows to use this by default, how would one go about changing something like the 'Visual Studio Developer Command Prompt' Start Menu shortcut to open in Terminal? I'm new to this stuff, but looking at the properties on the shortcut, it's set to run a "%comspec%" command, and that environment variable seems to be set to cmd.exe, so that controls what shell it runs; there are also tabs in the Properties dialog with lots of Terminal/console related settings, so Windows (or Explorer or whatever's in charge of the Properties box for shortcut files) is clearly aware it'll be run within a terminal. But none of those tabs seem to offer the option to use a different terminal altogether, other than a checkbox to use the "legacy" one.

Would I basically need to change the command to explicitly run wt.exe and pass the existing command as an argument?
Stuart
Saturday, February 15, 2020 10:46:27 PM UTC
Sigh. I have been using Windows Terminal at home since you had to compile it yourself. But at work, we are still on 1809 and you can't install Windows Terminal on that. It's so much better than the Electron based alternatives. Just waiting.... Fortunately, 1809 goes out of support this Spring, so they will be forced to move.
Robert Cannon
Saturday, February 15, 2020 10:52:22 PM UTC
Question as devil's advocate - are there any considerable reasons to swap to this from using the built in terminal in VS Code?
Joshua
Saturday, February 15, 2020 11:36:13 PM UTC
Does it finally have copy and paste
Edward Moemeka
Sunday, February 16, 2020 7:05:00 AM UTC
I'm using it and like it a lot, but I really think they should invest in basic UX integration features like quake mode and/or remembering position. Everyone I know cares about it. This kind of chrome is available in every popular terminal emulator on other platforms and is going to be a big blocker for widespread adoption vs. ConEmu.

I've been using a c# wrapper to.manage window position. It's a bit hacky but really didn't take very long to write, and it vastly improves usability. I don't get why they haven't prioritized this.
Jamie
Sunday, February 16, 2020 5:28:40 PM UTC
The "cls" and "Clear-Host" cmdlets in this version of Windows Terminal still do not truly clear the console. They just scroll things down.

The Ctrl+Space autocompletion in PowerShell still does not work.

If I go to File Explorer's address bar (while browsing an actual file system folder), type "wt" and press Enter, Windows Terminal opens but it does not browse the current folder.

So, no, thanks. The way I see it, I'm losing too many useful features in exchange for what? Tabs and difficult-to-configure color themes?
Sunday, February 16, 2020 6:06:58 PM UTC
Great steps ahead... I'll install and want to give it a try.
Sunday, February 16, 2020 7:40:41 PM UTC
The most important question: is there quake style opening available? like in cmder, if not, I'm not moving
Nelli
Monday, February 17, 2020 12:04:58 AM UTC
Can you run an admin window in Terminal? I haven't been able to set that up. (Nor, for that matter, have I been able to run Terminal itself as admin...)
Eric Brown
Monday, February 17, 2020 8:00:49 AM UTC
I previously used ConEmu for multiple windows, but Terminal has it built in. It is also fast and has very readable font. Great stuff!
Monday, February 17, 2020 1:26:38 PM UTC
Biggest disadvantages compared to conemu for me:
- no admin tabs/panes
- breaks keyboard shortcuts which can't be sent as terminal sequences (as mentioned above regarding PSReadline)

I'm looking forward to V2.0 :-)


gw
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 8:52:05 AM UTC
Are there any options for someone who is forced on Windows 1809 (company policy, sigh)?
Berend
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 11:36:13 AM UTC
This morning I started to look at tmux and the possibility to use it with Windows Terminal and Git Bash. I was wondering what was used to split the terminal window into multiple parts?
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 12:40:15 PM UTC
I will try this, I've tried before on another guide and it didn't work, I'll test again... hopefully I can get it to work properly
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 12:41:02 PM UTC
Great guide, thank you!
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 3:27:28 PM UTC
still keeping my fingers on the pulse - but man, wsltty is going to be hard to beat. i should say that the caveat here is that i prefer a few windows i can throw around with the 'fancy zones' powertoys tool as opposed to multiplexing in a single window.

initially i was psyched about the windows terminal itself, but the surprise that has really hooked me is the release of cascadia font - it's pretty awesome
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 10:06:47 PM UTC
I can press `alt+shift+plus` to open a vertical pane, but it always opens my default profile. Anyone know how to open a new pane but with a different profile than the default?
Jason
Friday, February 21, 2020 10:21:27 AM UTC
I think the correct Chocolatey link is https://chocolatey.org/packages/microsoft-windows-terminal
Sunday, February 23, 2020 10:11:15 PM UTC
No as admin and no opacity (like the current one at least)
Sean
Monday, February 24, 2020 12:50:26 PM UTC
Doesn't seem like the windows store is updated.
It's still called preview and the version is v0.9.433.0 released on 6/21/2019
asdf
Monday, February 24, 2020 8:58:12 PM UTC
You can also type wt in the Explorer location bar, hit enter, and Windows Terminal will be opened with that path as the working directory. This also works with cmd and pwsh. It may or may not work with powershell as well.
Adam Wright
Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.