The Complete Guide to Windows Terminal

The Complete Guide to Windows Terminal

Windows Terminal is an ideal accompaniment to WSL2. It's fast, configurable, looks great, and offers all the benefits of both Windows and Linux development.

Windows Terminal is an ideal accompaniment to WSL2. It's fast, configurable, looks great, and offers all the benefits of both Windows and Linux development.

In this article, we’ll explore Windows Terminal, the ideal accompaniment to WSL2. It’s fast, configurable, looks great, and offers all the benefits of both Windows and Linux development.

Windows has fully embraced Linux, and WSL2 makes it a seamless pleasure.

Your distro’s terminal can be accessed by:

  1. clicking its Start menu icon
  2. entering wsl or bash at a Powershell or command prompt
  3. using a third-party terminal option such as Cmder, ConEmu, and Hyper with a profile which launches %windir%\system32\bash.exe ~
  4. setting Linux as the default shell in VS Code by pressing Ctrl + Shift + P and typing/choosing Terminal: Select Default Shell, and selecting WSL Bash.

Windows Terminal offers a further choice, but you won’t regret installing it. The new application features:

  • support for WSL2, SSH, Powershell, cmd and other command lines
  • multiple tabs and split panes
  • configurable themes, background images, and transparency effects
  • a search box
  • custom key bindings
  • GPU accelerated text rendering
  • a great-looking new font, Cascadia Code
  • low resource usage (typically 10MB per tab)
  • auto-updating (if using the Microsoft Store)
  • good documentation
  • and it’s open source!

Windows Terminal

How to Install Windows Terminal

The easiest way to install Windows Terminal is via the Microsoft Store:

ms-windows-store://pdp/?ProductId=9n0dx20hk701

If this link fails, try opening the Microsoft Store in your browser or launching the Microsoft Store app from the Windows Start menu and searching for “Terminal”.

Note: be careful not to select the earlier “Windows Terminal Preview” application.

Windows Terminal at the Microsoft Store

Hit Get and wait a few seconds for installation to complete.

If you don’t have access to the Store, you can download the latest release from GitHub.

The Windows Terminal app icon is now available in the Windows Start menu. For easier access, right-click the icon and choose Pin to Start or More, followed by Pin to taskbar.

Getting Started with Windows Terminal

When it’s first run, Windows Terminal starts with Powershell as the default profile. A drop-down menu is available to launch other tabs and access the settings:

Windows Terminal start

Terminal automatically generates profiles for all WSL distros and Windows shells you have installed, although it’s possible to disable generation in the global settings.

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