Microsoft unveils new open source Windows Terminal

Martin Brinkmann
May 7, 2019

Microsoft released the source code of a new Windows Terminal application today featuring multi-tab support, improved font rendering, and more.

The company plans to add Windows Terminal to the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 devices soon to make it available to more users.

Windows Terminal won't replace any command line interface of the Windows operating system, at least not in the near future. Microsoft positions it as a new modern interface that developers and administrators may use instead of the command line interfaces that are included in the Windows operating system.

The decision to create a new Terminal application for Windows was made after it became clear that the Windows console host, conhost.exe, could not be used to implement many of the features that Microsoft and the community wanted.

Windows Terminal

windows terminal screenshot

One of the big features of the new Windows Terminal application is multi-tab support. You may remember that Microsoft planned to introduce support for tabs natively to the Shell in the Windows 10 operating system but decided to remove the feature that it called Sets again from development builds.

Sets allowed anyone to combine multiple application windows in a single container for easier handling and manageability.

Windows Terminal's tab support feature adds options to launch multiple different terminals from a single command line interface. You can use it to run PowerShell, the Command Prompt, and any installed Linux Terminal, and to switch between the terminals with just a click on a tab in the program window.

The new terminal application is fully backwards compatible with existing solutions.

Microsoft notes that Windows Terminal uses a GPU accelerated DirectWrite/DirectX-based text rendering engine. It paves the way for using any text character, symbol, emoji, ligatures, or glyphs installed on the device next to improved text output and rendering improvements.

console output

Microsoft created a new monospaced font for Windows Terminal that includes programming ligatures and will be open sourced as well.

Windows Terminal will provide users with customization and configuration options. Settings are stored in structured text files so that users may tinker with the settings directly. One interesting feature is the ability to configure each Terminal individually.

These profiles can have their own combination of font styles and sizes, color themes, background blur/transparency levels, etc. You can now create your own custom-styled Terminal that is personalized to your unique taste!

Now you: do you use a Terminal application?

Microsoft unveils new open source Windows Terminal
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Microsoft unveils new open source Windows Terminal
Microsoft released the source code of a new Windows Terminal application today featuring multi-tab support, improved font rendering, and more.
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  1. Robert A. Ober said on May 12, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Let’s keep in mind that the current Microsoft is much different than the one under Bill and Steve.(As a former employee I can refer to them by their firstnames and not be disrespectful) They, as are many now, focused on services and they are leveraging Windows in support of that strategy. If one can have the same Linux environment under Windows as they do in Azure then that is beneficial to Microsoft’s ability to sell cloud services.

    My take is that they may be moving away from traditional Windows with it’s legacy idiosyncrasies such as drive letters and that ridiculous registry. They would have to move Office and their client server apps to Linux but that is probably less painful with today’s tools than it might have been some years ago. Or keep a Windows compatibility layer(Wine or VM) in a new Linux based Windows.

    BTW, I am a Mac user and run Linux on my email server. I have been using Linux since the .8 or .9 kernel.

    Y’all take care,

  2. 'Anonymous' User said on May 10, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    Well let’s not fall for this ‘commitment to opensource’ trap of Microsoft, the link below explains why:

  3. Robert A. Ober said on May 10, 2019 at 2:50 am

    The link above appears to be only the source, I find no executable.

  4. steamrollerpark said on May 8, 2019 at 12:52 am

    Someone built it so you can play with it, Albacore of thebookisclosed gives you an unauthorised peek at the new Terminal!DuYljALb!lH7lJIfsqebgEpsXUss43aRAeGU_jVMu1zP13fhkCgU

  5. Stark said on May 7, 2019 at 11:39 pm

    It’s pretty bad. So far from finished. The tabs don’t even show unless you press the shortcut key. New tab button feels out of proportion. Uses 100MB+ of RAM, only runs on a certain build of Windows 10, and will be distributed from the MS store. Why would I use this when Cmder and ConEmu are both lighter, far more customizable, and can be installed any version of Windows I like.

    1. Anonymous said on May 8, 2019 at 5:46 am

      Agree. PowerShell is already slow enough, it takes 5 seconds just to load it. Now they want to combine all terminals in one? I wonder if it’ll take >10 seconds to load.

  6. jeant said on May 7, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    Will they turn CMD into UWP bullshit? :(

  7. ddk said on May 7, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Would be switching to MACOS if that happened…..

  8. John Fenderson said on May 7, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    “do you use a Terminal application?”

    I user terminal applications a ton, on Windows as well as Linux (and several other platforms). It will be interesting to try this one out. Microsoft is notorious for having the worst terminal/command line applications. I’m curious if they managed to make one that is at least halfway reasonable.

  9. Ascrod said on May 7, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Other than the part about Windows Store, this Sounds Good To Meâ„¢.

  10. WorknMan said on May 7, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Any chance this thing does SSH? Would be nice to not need Putty + addons anymore.

    1. Anonymous said on May 9, 2019 at 9:51 am

      SSH is already in Windows since one of the last updates. Simply type ssh into the command prompt.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on May 7, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      Microsoft mentioned connecting to a Raspberry Pi via SSH.

      1. Cristiano Costa said on May 22, 2019 at 2:50 pm

        ssh is already in microsoft around a year and other stuff like the ability to generate keys like linux, just have to install Linux Subsystem for Windows and viola!

  11. dark said on May 7, 2019 at 11:16 am

    ETA Microsoft replaces Windows kernel with Linux Kernel and Windows 10 becomes a Linux distro like Android, Java Environment on top of Linux Kernel. Windows Environment on top of Linux Kernel.

    1. Anonymous said on May 7, 2019 at 1:36 pm

      Why would they downgrade?

  12. Yuliya said on May 7, 2019 at 10:40 am

    I want cmd with that blur :3
    I hate CloudFlare. I had to go through their captcha nonsense 4 times to just be able to view gHacks on my mobile :(

    1. Luca said on May 7, 2019 at 11:29 am

      I use this trick: simply view the ghacks as desktop. MUCH faster than mobile view…

  13. noemata said on May 7, 2019 at 10:06 am

    .. reminds of linux, doesn’t it?

    exactly. martins article and this article:

    harmonize perfectly with each other.

    “we love linux”.

    f.. .

  14. Anonee said on May 7, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Goddamn, this is awesome! I also love their VS Code for programming, especially with Python!
    Some excellent moves MS has been making lately for programmers/admins/sysops/etc..

    Btw, I don’t know what font they are using or planning to use in this new Terminal program but for an excellent existing programming font with tons of ligature support, check out

    1. Darren said on May 7, 2019 at 10:52 pm

      Ya VS Code is MS doing it right.

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