Welcome to the Windows Terminal, Console and Command-Line repo
This repository contains the source code for:
- Windows Terminal
- Windows Terminal Preview
- The Windows console host (
- Components shared between the two projects
- Sample projects that show how to consume the Windows Console APIs
Related repositories include:
- Windows Terminal Documentation (Repo: Contribute to the docs)
- Console API Documentation
- Cascadia Code Font
Installing and running Windows Terminal
👉Note: Windows Terminal requires Windows 10 1903 (build 18362) or later
Microsoft Store [Recommended]
Install the Windows Terminal from the Microsoft Store. This allows you to always be on the latest version when we release new builds with automatic upgrades.
This is our preferred method.
Other install methods
For users who are unable to install Terminal from the Microsoft Store, Terminal builds can be manually downloaded from this repository's Releases page.
⚠Note: If you install Terminal manually:
- Be sure to install the Desktop Bridge VC++ v14 Redistributable Package otherwise Terminal may not install and/or run and may crash at startup
- Terminal will not auto-update when new builds are released so you will need to regularly install the latest Terminal release to receive all the latest fixes and improvements!
Via Windows Package Manager CLI (aka winget)
winget users can download and install the latest Terminal release by installing the
winget install --id=Microsoft.WindowsTerminal -e
Via Chocolatey (unofficial)
Chocolatey users can download and install the latest Terminal release by installing the
choco install microsoft-windows-terminal
To upgrade Windows Terminal using Chocolatey, run the following:
choco upgrade microsoft-windows-terminal
Project Build Status
Terminal & Console Overview
Please take a few minutes to review the overview below before diving into the code:
Windows Terminal is a new, modern, feature-rich, productive terminal application for command-line users. It includes many of the features most frequently requested by the Windows command-line community including support for tabs, rich text, globalization, configurability, theming & styling, and more.
The Terminal will also need to meet our goals and measures to ensure it remains fast and efficient, and doesn't consume vast amounts of memory or power.
The Windows Console Host
The Windows Console host,
conhost.exe, is Windows' original command-line user experience. It also hosts Windows' command-line infrastructure and the Windows Console API server, input engine, rendering engine, user preferences, etc. The console host code in this repository is the actual source from which the
conhost.exe in Windows itself is built.
Since taking ownership of the Windows command-line in 2014, the team added several new features to the Console, including background transparency, line-based selection, support for ANSI / Virtual Terminal sequences, 24-bit color, a Pseudoconsole ("ConPTY"), and more.
However, because Windows Console's primary goal is to maintain backward compatibility, we have been unable to add many of the features the community (and the team) have been wanting for the last several years including tabs, unicode text, and emoji.
These limitations led us to create the new Windows Terminal.
You can read more about the evolution of the command-line in general, and the Windows command-line specifically in this accompanying series of blog posts on the Command-Line team's blog.
While overhauling Windows Console, we modernized its codebase considerably, cleanly separating logical entities into modules and classes, introduced some key extensibility points, replaced several old, home-grown collections and containers with safer, more efficient STL containers, and made the code simpler and safer by using Microsoft's Windows Implementation Libraries - WIL.
This overhaul resulted in several of Console's key components being available for re-use in any terminal implementation on Windows. These components include a new DirectWrite-based text layout and rendering engine, a text buffer capable of storing both UTF-16 and UTF-8, a VT parser/emitter, and more.
Creating the new Windows Terminal
When we started planning the new Windows Terminal application, we explored and evaluated several approaches and technology stacks. We ultimately decided that our goals would be best met by continuing our investment in our C++ codebase, which would allow us to reuse several of the aforementioned modernized components in both the existing Console and the new Terminal. Further, we realized that this would allow us to build much of the Terminal's core itself as a reusable UI control that others can incorporate into their own applications.
The result of this work is contained within this repo and delivered as the Windows Terminal application you can download from the Microsoft Store, or directly from this repo's releases.
For more information about Windows Terminal, you may find some of these resources useful and interesting:
- Command-Line Blog
- Command-Line Backgrounder Blog Series
- Windows Terminal Launch: Terminal "Sizzle Video"
- Windows Terminal Launch: Build 2019 Session
- Run As Radio: Show 645 - Windows Terminal with Richard Turner
- Azure Devops Podcast: Episode 54 - Kayla Cinnamon and Rich Turner on DevOps on the Windows Terminal
- Microsoft Ignite 2019 Session: The Modern Windows Command Line: Windows Terminal - BRK3321
I built and ran the new Terminal, but it looks just like the old console
Cause: You're launching the incorrect solution in Visual Studio.
Solution: Make sure you're building & deploying the
CascadiaPackage project in Visual Studio.
OpenConsole.exeis just a locally-built
conhost.exe, the classic Windows Console that hosts Windows' command-line infrastructure. OpenConsole is used by Windows Terminal to connect to and communicate with command-line applications (via ConPty).
All project documentation is located at aka.ms/terminal-docs. If you would like to contribute to the documentation, please submit a pull request on the Windows Terminal Documentation repo.
We are excited to work alongside you, our amazing community, to build and enhance Windows Terminal!
BEFORE you start work on a feature/fix, please read & follow our Contributor's Guide to help avoid any wasted or duplicate effort.
Communicating with the Team
The easiest way to communicate with the team is via GitHub issues.
Please file new issues, feature requests and suggestions, but DO search for similar open/closed pre-existing issues before creating a new issue.
If you would like to ask a question that you feel doesn't warrant an issue (yet), please reach out to us via Twitter:
- Kayla Cinnamon, Program Manager: @cinnamon_msft
- Dustin Howett, Engineering Lead: @dhowett
- Michael Niksa, Senior Developer: @michaelniksa
- Mike Griese, Developer: @zadjii
- Carlos Zamora, Developer: @cazamor_msft
- Leon Liang, Developer: @leonmsft
- You must be running Windows 1903 (build >= 10.0.18362.0) or later to run Windows Terminal
- You must enable Developer Mode in the Windows Settings app to locally install and run Windows Terminal
- You must have the Windows 10 1903 SDK installed
- You must have at least VS 2019 installed
- You must install the following Workloads via the VS Installer. Note: Opening the solution in VS 2019 will prompt you to install missing components automatically:
- Desktop Development with C++
- Universal Windows Platform Development
- The following Individual Components
- C++ (v142) Universal Windows Platform Tools
Building the Code
This repository uses git submodules for some of its dependencies. To make sure submodules are restored or updated, be sure to run the following prior to building:
git submodule update --init --recursive
OpenConsole.sln may be built from within Visual Studio or from the command-line using a set of convenience scripts & tools in the /tools directory:
Building in PowerShell
Import-Module .\tools\OpenConsole.psm1 Set-MsBuildDevEnvironment Invoke-OpenConsoleBuild
Building in Cmd
Running & Debugging
To debug the Windows Terminal in VS, right click on
CascadiaPackage (in the Solution Explorer) and go to properties. In the Debug menu, change "Application process" and "Background task process" to "Native Only".
You should then be able to build & debug the Terminal project by hitting F5.
Please review these brief docs below about our coding practices.
👉If you find something missing from these docs, feel free to contribute to any of our documentation files anywhere in the repository (or write some new ones!)
This is a work in progress as we learn what we'll need to provide people in order to be effective contributors to our project.
- Coding Style
- Code Organization
- Exceptions in our legacy codebase
- Helpful smart pointers and macros for interfacing with Windows in WIL