Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time


A terminal emulator for Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), based on mintty, fatty and wslbridge2.

All emojis designed by OpenMoji – the open-source emoji and icon project. License: CC BY-SA 4.0

中文页面(The Chinese README is no longer maintained)



More screenshots here.


  1. Make sure you have 7z installed. On Ubuntu run: sudo apt install p7zip-full, on Archlinux: run pacman -S p7zip

  2. Change the directory to the folder where you want to install wsl-terminal to.

Make sure to install wsl-terminal in a the windows filesystem and not in the wsl filesistem. The installation folder needs to be on a local NTFS volume.

  • Option 1: If you're in cmd.exe run:
wsl bash -c "$(wget -qO -)"
  • Option 2: If you're in wsl already run
bash -c "$(wget -qO -)"

If you want to install the tabbed version you have to add a -t as parameter as shown bellow

bash -c "$(wget -qO -)" '' -t
  1. Run open-wsl.exe to open a WSL terminal in current directory.

  2. Run tools/1-add-open-wsl-terminal-here-menu.js (help) to add a Open wsl-terminal Here context menu to explorer.exe (Run tools/1-remove-open-wsl-terminal-here-menu.js to remove it). If you are using Total Commander, Use wsl-terminal with Total Commander may help you.

  3. run-wsl-file.exe can run any .sh (or any others like .py .pl) script files in wsl-terminal, support Open With context menu in explorer.exe.

  4. vim.exe can open any files with vim (in wsl-terminal), support Open With context menu in explorer.exe. vim.exe can be renamed to emacs.exe nvim.exe nano.exe ... to open files in emacs nvim nano ....

Keyboard shortcuts

key function
Alt + Enter Fullscreen
Alt + F2 New window
Alt + F3 Search text
Ctrl + [Shift] + Tab Switch window
Ctrl + = + - 0 Zoom
Ctrl + Click Open URL or dir/file under the cursor
Ctrl + Right Click Open context menu

Bind wsl-terminal to a hotkey.



Usage: open-wsl [OPTION]...
  -a: activate an existing wsl-terminal window.
      if use_tmux=1, attach the running tmux session.
  -l: start a login shell and cd to $HOME (doesn't work with use_tmux=1).
  -c command: run command (e.g. -c "echo a b; echo c; cat").
  -e commands: run commands (e.g. -e echo a b; echo c; cat).
  -C dir: change directory to a WSL dir (e.g. /home/username).
  -W dir: change directory to a Windows dir (e.g. c:\Users\username).
  -d distro: switch distros.
  -b "options": pass additional options to wslbridge.
  -B "options": pass additional options to mintty.
  -h: show help.

For -B and -b, see also mintty params and wslbridge2 params.

cmdtool (run it in WSL)

Usage: cmdtool [OPTION]...
  wcmd: run Windows programs with cmd.exe /c.
  wstart: run Windows programs with cmd.exe /c start.
  wstartex file|url: like wstart, but use WSL file path.
  update: check the latest wsl-terminal version, and upgrade it.
  killall: kill all WSL processes.
  install dash: install Cygwin dash (for debugging).
  install busybox: install Cygwin busybox (for debugging).


Files in tools directory:

filename function
1-add-open-wsl-terminal-here-menu.js Add Open wsl-terminal Here context menu to explorer.exe.
1-remove-open-wsl-terminal-here-menu.js Remove Open wsl-terminal Here context menu.
2-add-wsl-terminal-dir-to-path.js Add wsl-terminal directory to Path environment variable.
2-remove-wsl-terminal-dir-from-path.js Remove wsl-terminal directory from Path environment variable.
3-write-distro-to-config-file.js Write distro guids to etc/wsl-terminal.conf.
4-create-start-menu-shortcut.js Create a start menu shortcut to open-wsl -C ~.
4-create-start-menu-shortcut-login-shell.js Create a start menu shortcut to open-wsl -l.
4-remove-all-start-menu-shortcuts.js Remove all wsl-terminal start menu shortcuts.
5-add-open-with-vim-menu.js Add Open with vim in wsl-terminal context menu.
5-remove-open-with-vim-menu.js Remove Open with vim in wsl-terminal context menu.
6-set-default-shell.bat Set shell in etc/wsl-terminal.conf to the default shell in WSL.

Double click any .js file to run it. If it was open by any editor, open it with Microsoft (R) Windows Based Script Host, or open a cmd.exe in tools directory and run wscript xxx.js.

Configuration files

etc/wsl-terminal.conf is wsl-terminal config file.

title="my title"

etc/themes/* are theme files, use themes.

etc/minttyrc is mintty config file, mintty tips.


Open open-wsl.exe in wsl-terminal directory, run ./cmdtool update to check the latest wsl-terminal version and upgrade it. If the download speed is too slow, you can download wsl-terminal-v{version}.7z from releases with other tools, and put it into wsl-terminal directory, then run ./cmdtool update.

wget and 7z commands are needed (Ubuntu: apt install wget p7zip-full, Archlinux: pacman -S wget p7zip) .

Config files won't be overridden, etc/wsl-terminal.conf and etc/minttyrc will be placed to etc/wsl-terminal.conf.pacnew and etc/minttyrc.pacnew. Some .bak files will be left in bin, because they are running, those files will be removed after the next upgrading.

Use tmux

  1. Install tmux in WSL.
  2. Set use_tmux=1 in etc/wsl-terminal.conf. And set attach_tmux_locally=1 if the version number is less than 0.8.1.
  3. Add these lines to ~/.bashrc (shell=/bin/bash in config) or ~/.zshrc (shell=/bin/zsh in config):
[[ -z "$TMUX" && -n "$USE_TMUX" ]] && {
    [[ -n "$ATTACH_ONLY" ]] && {
        tmux a 2>/dev/null || {
            cd && exec tmux

    tmux new-window -c "$PWD" 2>/dev/null && exec tmux a
    exec tmux

If you're using fish then update your '~/.config/fish/' (shell=/bin/fish in config) with

if [ -z "$TMUX" ]; and [ -n "$USE_TMUX" ]
    if [ -n "$ATTACH_ONLY" ]
        if not tmux a 2>/dev/null
            cd; and exec tmux

    tmux new-window -c "$PWD" 2>/dev/null; and exec tmux a
    exec tmux

Then open-wsl will use tmux.

Switch distros

Use open-wsl -d distro to switch distros:

# list all distros
> wslconfig /l
Legacy (Default)

# use Ubuntu (will run wslconfig /s Ubuntu before mintty)
> open-wsl -d Ubuntu

# Ubuntu is the default distro now
> wslconfig /l
Ubuntu (Default)

Or set distro in wsl-terminal.conf (Won't change the default distro).

Run tools/3-write-distro-to-config-file.js (help), then a msgbox will show the result:

result has been written to ..\etc\wsl-terminal.conf:



remove the ; before distro to use the distro.

If you want to pass the distro_guid to open-wsl in cmdline:

# pass the distro guid to wslbridge
> open-wsl -b "-d Ubuntu"








  • Install WSL and make sure wget tar xz gzip p7zip are available (Ubuntu: run apt install wget tar xz-utils gzip p7zip-full, Archlinux: run pacman -S wget tar xz gzip p7zip) are installed in WSL.
  • for the tabbed version: cygwin x64 with the following packages installed gcc-g++, make, w32api-headers (for compiling fatty)

Build steps

  • clone the repo in WSL(to maintain the linux EOL characters) but on windows drive eg (/mnt/c/Users/<userName>/work/wsl-terminal)

  • use to build with the appropiate parameters.

    ➜  wsl-terminal git:(master) scripts/ -h
    Usage: -h                 Display this help message. -a                 Builds wsl-terminal and wsl-terminal-tabbed. -t                 Builds only wsl-terminal-tabbed(cygwin is required).                    Builds only wsl-terminal.


  1. Bug fixing
  2. add x11 support