Scott Hanselman

It's time for you to install Windows Terminal

February 14, 2020 Comment on this post [27] Posted in Open Source | Win10
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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 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.

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February 15, 2020 4:58
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?
February 15, 2020 5:30
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.
February 15, 2020 10:00
Still doesn’t remember window position upon close and reopen.
February 15, 2020 11:54
Now just need a way to be able to tell Windows to use this instead of conhost by default :)
February 15, 2020 14:43
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.
February 15, 2020 22:42
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.
February 16, 2020 1:40
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?
February 16, 2020 2:46
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.
February 16, 2020 2:52
Question as devil's advocate - are there any considerable reasons to swap to this from using the built in terminal in VS Code?
February 16, 2020 3:36
Does it finally have copy and paste
February 16, 2020 11:05
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.
February 16, 2020 21:28
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?
February 16, 2020 22:06
Great steps ahead... I'll install and want to give it a try.
February 16, 2020 23:40
The most important question: is there quake style opening available? like in cmder, if not, I'm not moving
February 17, 2020 4:04
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...)
February 17, 2020 12:00
I previously used ConEmu for multiple windows, but Terminal has it built in. It is also fast and has very readable font. Great stuff!
February 17, 2020 17:26
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 :-)

February 18, 2020 12:52
Are there any options for someone who is forced on Windows 1809 (company policy, sigh)?
February 18, 2020 15:36
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?
February 18, 2020 16:40
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
February 18, 2020 16:41
Great guide, thank you!
February 18, 2020 19:27
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
February 19, 2020 2:06
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?
February 21, 2020 14:21
I think the correct Chocolatey link is
February 24, 2020 2:11
No as admin and no opacity (like the current one at least)
February 24, 2020 16:50
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
February 25, 2020 0:58
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.

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