Windows Terminal to Become Default Windows 11 Command Line Experience

Posted on December 15, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Windows 11 with 23 Comments

Microsoft revealed that it will make Windows Terminal the default command-line experience in Windows 11 sometime next year.

“A default terminal is the terminal emulator that launches by default when opening a command-line application,” Microsoft’s Kayla Cinnamon explains. “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.”

This continues into Windows 11, which is the first major Windows version to ship with Windows Terminal: when you open a command-line application in Windows 11, it still opens in Command Prompt. The difference is that the user can manually set Windows Terminal as the default. Oddly, this is a lot less tedious and error-prone than selecting a new default web browser: just open Settings, navigate to Privacy & security > For developers > Terminal and then make your choice with a single click.

But this will soon change, and Windows Terminal will become the default.

“Over the course of 2022, we are planning to make Windows Terminal the default [command line] experience on Windows 11 [PCs],” Cinnamon explains. “We will start with the Windows Insider Program and start moving through rings until we reach everyone on Windows 11.”


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Comments (23)

23 responses to “Windows Terminal to Become Default Windows 11 Command Line Experience”

  1. Paul Tarnowski

    Good. This will keep global IT departments from arbitrarily blocking Windows Terminal from even being installed, and that's only a good thing for anyone doing devops.

    I got around it by installing through powershell, and my entire store was subsequently locked down, causing issues not just for me but for my entire OU.

    • mattbg

      Agree, but with the hardware requirements it'll probably be a long time before some companies go to Windows 11, given that they generally like to have all of their devices on the same OS.

      I have only recently celebrated my employer moving past Windows 10 1903, which is the minimum required version of Windows 10 to run Windows Terminal.

  2. bkkcanuck

    Now if they would only install all the main shells (made to run against windows code) (ksh, zsh, bash [though it might be old because of licensing concerns] and allow you to change the default shell you prefer using. That would make me very happy.

  3. kenneth_burns

    My Command Prompt habit goes back to 1993 and my first PC, a beige-box 286. I understand the benefits of Windows Terminal but I can't imagine switching. 😂

  4. ebraiter

    Not touching Win 11 for a while. My hardware doesn't support it.

    As for Windows Terminal, I poked around with it, but unless it has changed, I would like to see an easy way to open an elevated prompt instead of multiple clicks.

    • lvthunder

      On one of my Windows 11 systems that has Windows Terminal when you right-click the start button, it gives you an option of a regular or elevated terminal.

  5. Rob_Wade

    First, I can't express just how much I despise Windows 11. There is nothing redeemable about it, as far as I'm concerned. But what I don't get is what the big deal is over Windows Terminal. Command Prompt, Powershell, Terminal....pick one and stick with it. I don't really care.

    • fishnet37222

      Windows Terminal allows you to have multiple shells open in the same window using tabs. It also gives you better appearance customization options.

      • Rob_Wade

        Okay. I guess I've never had a situation arise where I needed multiple shells, and I certainly don't care about customizing the look of a command line window. At this point, Microsoft has horribly ruined the entire look of Windows with version 11, so I've pretty much given up on Windows being anything other than a necessary evil (still, I hate it less than Apple or Linux).

  6. lvthunder

    I was going to post about this in the forums, but it works here as well. Last week I bought a Surface Studio Laptop and it came with Windows 11, but when I right click on the start menu I don't see Windows Terminal, Command Prompt, or Powershell in that menu. On my Surface Book 3 that I upgraded to 11 has Windows Terminal there. Does anyone know how to add that to my new laptop?

  7. Donte

    I think its a great move as its a much nicer terminal app. I upgraded my gaming PC and went with Windows 11, which I can't believe I am saying this...I really like. It is running great. I will probably upgrade my Lenovo T580 at long as TPM 2.0 is on that laptop.

    • wright_is

      The T580 has TPM 2.0 - I have the T480, which does as well. But the company is sticking with Windows 10 for now.

      • IanYates82

        My T570 has TPM 2.0.

        7th gen CPU though. I installed 11 insiders on it just prior to the CPU news.

        It is still running fine. Fortunately it's my old pc so isn't critical to day-to-day work.

      • Donte

        So is my company for now. I work in IT, I can install what I want. My main driver is a 16inch Macbook with a M1 Pro. The T580 is what I use for testing VPN and other network tasks in the data center.

  8. wright_is

    I bet it doesn't allow you to easily switch to bash, PuTTY or a VT100 emulator! :-D

    Is Terminal still store based? If so, that would make it a security risk going forward as most companies seem to block access to the Store.

    • bkkcanuck

      bash might be problematic, macOS did not keep it updated and when it became to far away from the current version - they zwitched to zsh.... apparently there were potential issues with licensing for bash 4+. That said, I would prefer if they did have a way to pick your default shell and utilities running in the core distribution. There should be no need for putty to connect remotely - it should be built in to the core distribution.

    • proftheory

      I wonder if you can since the configuration is a JSON file which might be modifiable.

      I'd like to know if it is true.

    • simont

      The supported way is to install from the Store. However, you can download the installer from the GitHub page and install with Powershell. However, it doesn't auto update.

  9. brettscoast

    I have no issues with this in fact it's positive by Microsoft to move forward using a better option.

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