Here’s how to make the Windows Terminal your default terminal app

Windows opens all command line tools in the old Windows console environment. However, you can make Windows Terminal your default Terminal app when you start Command Prompt or PowerShell.

Why should you switch to the Windows Terminal?

When you open a command prompt or PowerShell on Windows 10, each session begins in a separate window. Unfortunately, this means switching between multiple open windows on your desktop.

The Windows Terminal app opens in a tabbed view by default so you can manage multiple command line windows. Plus, you can also run PowerShell and CMD in separate tabs.

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CMD, PowerShell, and Windows PowerShell are opened in a tabbed user interface from the Windows Terminal.

When you switch to the Windows Terminal app, you’ll have access to other features like themes, emoji support, multiple sessions, split windows, GPU rendering, and many other customizations.

Such functions do not make it into the Windows console. For this reason, it is a good idea to switch the standard terminal app to Windows Terminal.

Also, Windows 11 uses the Windows Terminal app as the default command line environment to open CMD, PowerShell, and Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Until the rollout of Windows 11 at the end of 2021, you can now use Windows Terminal as standard under Windows 10.

Windows 11: What’s New in Microsoft’s New Operating System

Here’s how to make the Windows Terminal your default terminal app

Before you begin, you must have the Windows Terminal App if you don’t have it on your computer.

Start the Windows Terminal app, select the menu with the down arrow and click on “Settings”. Or you can press Ctrl +, (comma) to open Settings directly.

Open the Windows Terminal Settings with Ctrl +, shortcut.

In the settings window that opens, you can see that the “Standard Terminal Application” is set to “Windows Console Host (ConHost.exe)”. This means that Windows uses the older terminal app ConHost.exe for the CMD or PowerShell.

By default, Windows Terminal Settings use the Windows Console.

Click the Standard Terminal Application drop-down menu and select Windows Terminal from the list.

Select Windows Terminal as the default terminal app.

By default, the Windows Terminal app uses the Windows PowerShell profile when you start the app.

Windows PowerShell as the standard profile in Windows Terminal.

However, you can change it to run a different shell profile instead. To do this, click the drop-down menu for “Standard Profile” to choose between Command Prompt, PowerShell, Windows PowerShell or Azure Cloud Sleeve.

Select a different shell profile as the standard for Windows Terminal.

Click the “Save” button to apply the changes you have made.

Press the Save button to apply all changes.

That’s it. After that, Windows runs the Windows Terminal app every time you open the Command Prompt or PowerShell, and you can customize how it looks too.

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