Skip to Content

Searching for the Perfect Windows Terminal

I use Windows at work 100% of the time and lately have been using Windows at home since my DAW audio software isn’t supported on Linux. The biggest thing I’ve missed from Linux is a nice terminal/shell.

cmd.exe is horrible! Poor fonts, no tabs, no history, etc. I want more!

After some research I’ve turned up a few solutions and you can try all these for yourself and come up with something that suits your work style.

Terminal Replacements

cmd.exe works but it’s missing a lot of the features found in the Linux terminal. Things like tabs, transparency, better font management and other features that make working in the terminal easier.

There are two programs I’ve recently used:

Console2 is a lightweight wrapper. It gives you tabs, allows you to setup multiple shells (cmd.exe, cygwin, Powershell, git, etc). It’s simple to setup and configure.

I’ve been using Console2 for some time now but it hasn’t been updated in awhile and I am always looking for new programs to try. I recently stumbled upon ConEmu and it has all the features of Console2, is actively developed and has a ton of options.

While these programs help somewhat they simple are putting lipstick on the pig of cmd.exe. So I went looking for a replacement for cmd.exe itself.

Shell Replacements

The first thing I found was Clink. Clink claims to bring bash’s powerful command line editing to Microsoft Windows’ cmd.exe. Clink is supported in both Console2 and ConEmu and supports the main thing I was after - a persistent command history.

In cmd.exe you can type commands all day but when you stop the terminal it’s all lost. With Clink you can access the commands you entered previously, even after restarting the terminal!

Clink was good but when I was digging though all the ConEmu options I noticed something called ‘TCC/LE’. TCC/LE is a replacement for cmd.exe. Like ComEmu it has a ton of options (hint - when in the TCC/LE terminal - type ‘option’). You can setup a location for your command history, etc.

ConEmu can be setup to use TCC/LE if it is installed instead of cmd.exe.

So now we have a nice terminal app with tabs, nice fonts (Consolas!), transparency, persistent history and a whole slew off options both in ConEmu and TCC/LE that I haven’t even investigated yet…