3 Best Ways to Set Windows Terminal as Default Command Line

Prajwal Desai
Posted by Prajwal Desai
Set Windows Terminal as Default Command Line

In this article, you’ll learn multiple ways to set Windows terminal as default command line app in Windows 11. We will understand what exactly is Windows terminal app and the benefits of using Windows Terminal over command-line tool.

When you install Windows 11 or upgrade to the latest version of Windows 11, you’ll find that the Windows Terminal app is pre-installed. Having said that, Windows 10 users will not be disappointed because there are different techniques to install Windows Terminal on Windows 10.

On Windows 11, the Windows command line is the default Terminal app. This means when you open a command line application, the Windows command-line tool is the one that is preferred. Most users are unaware that of the fact that the default terminal app can be switched from command line to Windows Terminal through settings in Windows 11.

What is Windows Terminal?

According to Microsoft, Windows Terminal is a modern host application for the command-line shells similar to Command Prompt, PowerShell, and bash (via Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)).  It provides a multi-tabbed command-line interface where you can run any command-line application, including Windows Command Prompt, PowerShell, WSL, SSH, and Azure Cloud Shell Connector.

Windows Terminal features include multiple tabs, panes, Unicode and UTF-8 character support, a GPU accelerated text rendering engine, and the ability to create your own themes and customize text, colors, backgrounds, and shortcuts.

Benefits of using Windows Terminal

Listed below are some unique features offered by Windows Terminal which will convince you to switch to Windows terminal as default command line:

  1. Customization: Windows Terminal lets you define your own color schemes, either by using the built-in preset schemes, or by creating your own scheme from scratch. Learn how to set colors for tabs in Windows Terminal.
  2. Tab tearout: With this feature, you can tear out tabs in Windows Terminal and create new windows.
  3. Custom actions: There are a variety of custom commands you can use in Windows Terminal to have it feel more natural to you. If you don’t like a particular keyboard shortcut, you can change it to whatever you prefer.
  4. Windows Terminal uses the GPU to render its text on Windows 11, thus providing improved performance over the default Windows command line experience.
  5. Windows 11 Terminal Commands: Terminal app comes with several commands that you can use as shortcuts to perform actions which are missing in the command line tool.

Method 1: Set Windows Terminal as Default Command Line in Windows 11

If you want to make Windows Terminal as default command line in Windows 11, perform these steps. On your Windows 11 PC, click Start and launch the Settings app. Select System > For Developers.

Set Windows Terminal as Default Command Line in Windows 11
Set Windows Terminal as Default Command Line in Windows 11

Look for the setting named ‘Terminal‘ and click on the drop-down next to it to display the options. There are two options available for default terminal app: Windows Console Host and Windows Terminal. From the list of options, select Windows Terminal as default command line.

Set Windows Terminal as Default Command Line in Windows 11
Set Windows Terminal as Default Command Line in Windows 11

The screenshot below confirms that we have successfully set Windows Terminal as default command line app in Windows 11. The next time you try to run a command-line application, it will be launched through the Windows Terminal app.

Set Windows Terminal as Default Command Line in Windows 11
Set Windows Terminal as Default Command Line in Windows 11

How to Launch Windows Terminal

If you want to launch Windows Terminal on your Windows 11 PC, you can do it with following steps. Click Start and in the search box, type “Terminal“. From the search results, select Terminal under Apps. To launch the Windows Terminal, select Open.

How to Launch Windows Terminal in Windows 11
How to Launch Windows Terminal in Windows 11

The Windows Terminal is launched and looks very similar to command prompt. It’s a multi-tabbed command-line interface where you can run any command-line application, including Windows Command Prompt, PowerShell, WSL, SSH, and Azure Cloud Shell Connector.

How to Launch Windows Terminal in Windows 11
How to Launch Windows Terminal in Windows 11

Method 2: Make Windows Terminal as Default Terminal App

If you want to make Windows Terminal as default terminal app, you can easily do that with following steps. First launch the Windows Terminal app on your Windows PC. Next to the + symbol, click on the drop-down and select Settings.

Make Windows Terminal as Default Terminal App
Make Windows Terminal as Default Terminal App

On the Settings tab of Windows Terminal, set the default terminal application as Windows Terminal. Click on the Save button to save the changes you have made. The next time you try to run a command-line application, it will be launched through the Windows Terminal app.

Make Windows Terminal as Default Terminal App
Make Windows Terminal as Default Terminal App

Method 3: Set Default Terminal app using Windows Console Host Properties

From the Windows Console host properties, you can change the default terminal application and set it to Windows terminal. Launch the command prompt on your Windows PC. Right-click on the top bar and select Properties.

Set Default Terminal app using Windows Console Host Properties
Set Default Terminal app using Windows Console Host Properties

On the Command Prompt Properties window, switch to the Terminal tab. Look for the setting “Default Terminal Application” and click on the drop-down next to it. From the list of options, select Windows Terminal and click OK to save the changes.

Set Default Terminal app using Windows Console Host Properties
Set Default Terminal app using Windows Console Host Properties
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Prajwal Desai
Posted by Prajwal Desai
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Prajwal Desai is a Microsoft MVP in Intune and SCCM. He writes articles on SCCM, Intune, Windows 365, Windows Server, Windows 11, WordPress and other topics, with the goal of providing people with useful information.
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