Windows Terminal will become the default terminal experience in Windows 11
Microsoft is changing the default command line experience in Windows 11 to be the new Windows Terminal app. This will replace the traditional Windows Console Host that’s been the standard for many years, and it means you’ll get a much more modern and capable experience out of the box.
Windows Terminal itself isn’t exactly a new app. Microsoft first announced it back in 2019, and it’s been available as a stable release since May of last year. This is a big evolution of the typical command line experience, allowing you to run multiple instances on command lines in the same window, while also combining different command line experiences into one. Windows Terminal allows you to run the Command Prompt, Windows PowerShell, Windows Subsystem for Linux distributions, and more all in the same app.
Different instances and profiles can be open in different tabs, but you can also tile multiple instances next to each other so they’re all visible at the same time. On top of that, Windows Terminal offers loads of customization options, including transparency settings for the window, custom backgrounds for each profile, choosing a default profile, and so on. Early versions of the app had to be configured using a JSON file, but Microsoft has since implemented a GUI for the app settings, so it’s much easier to set up now. In fact, Windows Terminal gets updates frequently, so it’s gotten a lot better since its debut.
With Windows 11, Microsoft started bundling Windows Terminal directly with the operating system, so you can already try it out without installing anything. Windows 11 also introduced the ability to choose your preferred terminal experience as the default, so instead of the Windows Console Host, you can already make Terminal your default terminal experience. However, you still had to do this yourself.
In 2022, Microsoft will be setting Windows Terminal as the default command line experience on Windows 11, starting with users enrolled in the Windows Insider Program. As program manager Kayla Cinnamon explains, the change will “move through the rings” of the Insider program until it reaches all Windows 11 users. This doesn’t clarify whether the change will be rolled out as part of a cumulative update or if we’ll have to wait for the feature update next fall, but nothing is stopping you from changing your default terminal right now.