Scott Hanselman

Yori - The quiet little CMD replacement that you need to install NOW

January 08, 2020 Comment on this post [12] Posted in Tools
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I did a post on the difference between a console, a terminal, and a shell a while back. We talk a lot about alternative "Terminals" like the Windows Terminal (that you should download immediately) but not shells. You do see a lot of choices in the Linux space with the top give being Bash, Zsh, Fish, Tcsh, and Ksh but not a lot about alternative shells for Windows. Did you love 4DOS? Well, READ ON. (Yes I know TCC is a thing, but Yori is a different thing)

So let's talk about a quiet little CMD replacement shell that is quietly taking over my life. You should check it out and spend some time with it. It's called Yori and it's open source and it's entirely written by one Malcolm Smith. It deserves your attention and respect because Yori has quickly become my goto "DOS but not DOS" prompt.

Yori is DOS, kinda

Of course, cmd.exe isn't DOS but it's evocative of DOS and it's "Close enough to be DOS." It'll run .cmd files and batch files. If dir, and del *.*, and rd /s feels more intuitive to you than bash shell commands, Yori will fit into your life nicely.

I use PowerShell a lot as a shell and I use Bash via WSL and Ubuntu but since I started on CMD (or, even) Yori feels very comfortable because it's literally "CMD reimagined."Yori offers a number of cmd++ enhancements like:

  • Autocomplete suggestions as you type
  • Ctrl+to select Values
  • WAY better Tab completiion
  • Awesome file matching
  • Beyond MAX_PATH support for "DOS"
  • Rich Text Copy!
  • Backquote support
  • Background Jobs like Unix but for DOS. SO you can use & like a real person!
  • Alias! My goodness!
  • which (like where, but it's which!) command
  • hexdump, lines, touch, and more great added tools
  • lots of "y" utils like ydate and ymem and ymore.
  • New Environment variables make your batch files shine
  • ANSI colors/UTF-8 support!

Download Yori, make a link, pin it, or add it to your Windows Terminal of choice (see below), and then explore the extensive Guide To Yori.

Did I mention & jobs support! How often have you done a copy or xcopy and wanted to &! it and then check it later with job? Now you can!

C:\Users\Scott\Desktop>dir &!
Job 2: c:\Program Files\Yori\ydir.exe
Job 1 (completed): c:\Program Files\Yori\ydir.exe
Job 2 (executing): c:\Program Files\Yori\ydir.exe
Job 2 completed, result 0: c:\Program Files\Yori\ydir.exe

Yori also support updating itself with "ypm -u" which is clever. Other lovely Yori-isms that will make you smile?

  • cd ~ - it works
  • cd ~desktop - does what you think it'd do
  • Win32 versions of UNIX favorites including cut, date, expr, fg, iconv, nice, sleep, split, tail, tee, wait and which
  • dir | clip - supports HTML as well!
  • durable command history

And don't minimize the amount of work that's happened here. It's a LOT. And it's a great balance between compatibility and breaking compatibility to bring the best of the old and the best of the new into a bright future.

Other must-have Malcolm Smith Tools

Now that I've "sold" you Yori (it's free!) be sure to pick up sdir (so good, a gorgeous dir replacement) and other lovely tools that Malcolm has written and put them ALL in your c:\utils folder (you have one, right? Make one! Put it in DropBox/OneDrive! Then add it to your PATH on every machine you have!) and enjoy!

Yori is lovely, paired with SDIR

Adding Yori to the Windows Terminal

Yori includes it's own improved Yori-specific terminal (to go with the Yori shell) but it also works with your favorite terminal.

If you are using the Windows Terminal, head over to your settings file (from the main Windows Terminal menu) and add something like this for a Yori menu. You don't need all of this, just the basics like commandline. I added my own colorScheme and tabTitle. You can salt your own to taste.

"acrylicOpacity": 0.85000002384185791,
"closeOnExit": true,
"colorScheme": "Lovelace",
"commandline": "c://Program Files//Yori//yori.exe",
"cursorColor": "#00FF00",
"cursorHeight": 25,
"cursorShape": "vintage",
"fontFace": "Cascadia Code",
"fontSize": 20,
"guid": "{7d04ce37-c00f-43ac-ba47-992cb1393215}",
"historySize": 9001,
"icon": "ms-appdata:///roaming/cmd-32.png",
"name": "DOS but not DOS",
"padding": "0, 0, 0, 0",
"snapOnInput": true,
"startingDirectory": "C:/Users/Scott/Desktop",
"tabTitle": "DOS, Kinda",
"useAcrylic": true

Great stuff!

I want YOU, Dear Reader, to head over to right now and give Yori and Malcolm a STAR. He's got 110 as of the time of this posting. Let's make that thousands. There's so many amazing folks out there quietly writing utilities for themselves, tirelessly, and a star is a small thing you can do to let them know "I see you and I appreciate you."

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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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January 13, 2020 11:11
Really want to give this a try, but the installer fails when downloading the install packages.
January 13, 2020 15:50
Hi Scott!
Can you please share your Lovelace Windows Terminal Scheme?
January 13, 2020 17:01
My installer fails as well, that's very unfortunate, do you know if there's a fix for this?
January 13, 2020 17:35
The Lovelace colour scheme comes from mbadolato/iTerm2-Color-Schemes.
January 13, 2020 21:23
No chocolatey package - no soup for you!
January 14, 2020 12:54
Is it better than the new "Windows Terminal" from Microsoft?
January 14, 2020 14:51
It seems that sdir gets installed alongside yori, if you use the installer from the origin. Lovely.
January 14, 2020 18:13
This is simply awesome. I installed it on my main machine and starred it on Github.
January 14, 2020 18:56
I'd love a command prompt that handles ANSI codes (although as I type this it occurs to me that I've just updated to 1909 so therefore I can install the new Terminal now anyway), so I gave this a try.

Unfortunately, it doesn't re-implement default commands correctly, so my standby dir mask /s /b doesn't work which is a bit annoying. After using the same commands for nearly 30 years I'm a little set in my ways (probably why despite trying I still can't make the switch to PowerShell).

Disappointing, but I must now remember to try the new MS terminal.

Richard Moss
January 16, 2020 0:20
The icon "ms-appdata:///roaming/cmd-32.png" does not work for me. Any tips? The home page does not provide an icon for the app.
January 17, 2020 20:54
Those asking for a Chocolatey package haven't tried Scoop Installer yet.

Give a try and then install via:
scoop install yori
January 22, 2020 9:39
Simple. Run normal cmd.exe + gnuwin32 which gives all of the usual Dos commands plus the most used unix command line tools.

With every computer I've built since 2000, I've reduced the number of developer tools and applications installed on top of the OS base image. Too many not needed and too much time wasted.

Now it's Visual Studio with no add-ins, not even Resharper. Too many wasted hours for crashing third party add-ins.

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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.