Windows Terminal is a combined Microsoft replacement for Command Prompt and Windows PowerShell, allowing you to run more powerful administrative commands and tools in Windows than you would otherwise be able to use from a GUI.
Instead of switching from one tool to another, the new Windows Terminal brings these tools together. You can run Windows bash scripts, connect to Azure virtual machines, and open the Windows Subsystem for a Linux terminal – all in one window.
Install the new Windows Terminal
The new Windows Terminal application is still under active development. Rather than testing it internally, Microsoft made a “preview” version available for download from the Microsoft Store.
It provides tabbed window support, improved text display, and advanced configuration, allowing you to customize individual user profiles for different applications. It is also open source, which means you can figure out and contribute to the project yourself.
You can also download and compile the latest version yourself from the Github repository However, for maximum stability, it is best to use a prebuilt version of Microsoft. It is still under testing, so some bugs may occur when used.
- To get started, go to the Windows Terminal (Preview) list on the Microsoft Store website and click Get. If you are using Chrome, allow it to open the Microsoft Store by clicking the Open Microsoft Store button in the pop-up dialog box. You can also search for Windows Terminal directly in the Microsoft Store app.
- Follow the same instructions as above for the Microsoft Store app. Click Get to link the app to your Microsoft account, then click Install to begin installation.
- After installation, click Start or open it from the Windows Start menu.
Using the new Windows terminal
The New Windows Terminal application interface is incredibly simple. By default, it will look like a regular Windows PowerShell window.
This is because, by default, the first tab to open will be the PowerShell terminal. You can use Windows PowerShell to perform system administration tasks with the added benefit that you can open multiple PowerShell tabs in a single window.
This is the real benefit of the new Windows Terminal, allowing you to switch between different applications and terminal shells in one window. You can open an old-school command line from the second Windows Terminal tab, as well as the Azure Cloud Shell to remotely manage Microsoft Azure VMs.
If you have Windows Subsystem for Linux Distributions installed, they will also be displayed, giving you easy access to the Linux terminal on Windows.
- Click the plus button to open a new PowerShell window. to the right of the last tab. To open other types of tabs, click the down arrow button and select one of the available options.
Preparing to initialize Windows Terminal
The new Windows Terminal is highly customizable. You can change its appearance, including changing the background, text color, and font. Microsoft also includes pre-installed themes that you can switch to, but you can create your own using a JSON config file.
You can create your own preferences for each type of terminal and application supported by Windows Terminal.
- You can edit the JSON file with Notepad, but it’s best to use a third party Windows app. called Notepad ++, which offers better formatting for JSON files, making editing easier. Before you start, download and install Notepad ++.
After installing Notepad ++, you will need to configure Windows to open JSON files with it.
- Navigate to the default Windows Terminal settings folder. Open Windows Explorer and enter% LOCALAPPDATA% Packages Microsoft.WindowsTerminal_8wekyb3d8bbwe LocalState. There should be a profiles.json file in the folder. Right-click the file and choose Open With.
- On the Application Selection menu, click More Applications, then click Find another application on this computer.
- In the Select Application dialog, navigate to the default installation location for Notepad ++. For most users, it can be found in C: Program Files (x86) Notepad ++. Select Notepad ++. Exe, then click Open.
Json configuration file will always open in Notepad ++ after that. From here, you can start customizing the Windows Terminal.
Windows Terminal Configuration File
The JSON files are a little tricky, but the profiles.json file is pretty easy to work with. Now that Notepad ++ is set to open JSON files automatically, you can access the settings file in Windows Terminal at any time.
- To open the settings file, click the down arrow button next to the Windows Terminal tabs, then click Settings. This will open the profiles.json file, which you can edit.
The JSON file has separate â€œprofilesâ€ sections that allow you to edit profiles for each type of application and terminal shell. For example, if you want to change the look of Windows Terminal in a PowerShell app, find the PowerShell section. Use the strings “name” or “command line” to find each profile.
Add custom Windows Terminal wallpapers
If you want to add your own background, first copy the appropriate PNG, JPEG or GIF file into the settings folder.
- Open the settings file and in each profile section add the following under the “Command Line” line:
“backgroundImage”: “ms-appdata: ///local/yourimagefile.jpg”,
- Replace “yourimagefile.jpg” with the name of the image file and press Ctrl + S to save after that. You can also adjust the “backgroundImageOpacity” and “backgroundImageStretchMode” parameters according to your requirements.
- After saving, the background of your Windows terminal will immediately change to match the background image you specified.
Change the new Windows Terminal color scheme
To quickly change your new Windows Terminal color scheme, you can use one of five default themes. This change method is the same as the above method for changing the background.
- Start by opening the settings file and in each profile section add the following line:
- Press Ctrl + S to save and Windows Terminal will immediately refresh to show the new schema.
This will change your color scheme for the selected application profile to the Campbell color scheme, a scheme created using the Microsoft Console Colortool You can change this value to Half Dark, One Half Light, Solarized Dark, or Solarized Light as an alternative.