Windows Terminal as your Default Command Line Experience

Kayla Cinnamon

Hey Windows Terminal fans! This month we are delivering a servicing release and the next feature release is scheduled for January, so we figured we’d write a blog post discussing Windows Terminal as the default command line experience on Windows and what our future plans are.

What is a default terminal?

A default terminal is the terminal emulator that launches by default when opening a command line application. Starting from the dawn of Windows, the default terminal emulator has always been the Windows Console Host, conhost.exe. This means that shells such as Command Prompt and PowerShell have always opened inside the Windows Console Host.

For a long time, users have not been easily able to replace the console host. There were definitely third parties who hooked the OS to make it possible, but it was never truly supported. Now, we are opening up the functionality to allow for other terminals to be set as default, including Windows Terminal.

­čĺí More information on the command line architecture in Windows can be found in this series of blog posts.

Default terminal setting

On Windows 11, you are able to set Windows Terminal as your default experience. This setting can be found in multiple places: inside the Developer settings page of Windows settings, inside Windows Terminal’s settings on the Startup page, and inside the Windows Console Host property sheet.

Image win11 defterm

Image terminal defterm

Image conhost defterm

Moving to the default

Over the course of 2022, we are planning to make Windows Terminal the default experience on Windows 11 devices. We will start with the Windows Insider Program and start moving through rings until we reach everyone on Windows 11. We would love to have your feedback while we are working on this to help iron out all of the bugs and ensure everyone has a great experience with Terminal. ­čÖé You can always file issues and feature requests on our GitHub.

Happy new year!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the releases we’ve had this year and are looking forward to next year’s improvements! We’ll continue to keep you in the loop with our developments and plans and will be back in January with our next feature release. Cheers!

Image signatures