Windows Terminal is here in its console glory with multiple tabs



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Windows 10

The much-anticipated Windows Terminal Preview is here and I have to say, when it works, it's pretty cool. Although this is a great promise, since this is a very early preview, you should expect to see some bugs, flaws, and quirks that will be fixed in future builds.

Microsoft briefly previewed the Microsoft Store early yesterday, but they were just getting ready for the release and were not ready yet. The working version of Windows Terminal is now available from the Microsoft Store, which is based on version 0.2.1715.0.

To get Windows Terminal Preview, you need to verify that you are running Windows 10 version 1903 and build 18362.0 or higher. If you meet the requirements, you can access the Microsoft Store and look for Windows Terminal to install it.

Windows Terminal (Preview) in the Microsoft Store

After you install Windows Terminal and open it, it will start with a single PowerShell window open. To open another console tab of the same type, you can click the + symbol as seen below.

Windows Terminal
Windows Terminal

To open other types of consoles in a new tab, you can click the down arrow and view options to start all known Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) shells and the CMD prompt. Just select what you want and the selected console will open in a new tab.

Open new console tab
Open new console tab

To exit a console, you can simply click the X on your tab or type Output in the console window.

Configuring Windows Terminal

The Windows Terminal settings are contained in a JSON file called % UserProfile% AppData Local Packages Microsoft.WindowsTerminal_8wekyb3d8bbwe RoamingState profiles.json. You can also open the settings by clicking the down arrow in the Windows Terminal and selecting Definitions.

This file allows you to configure various options, such as global settings, console sizes, keyboard shortcuts, color schemes, and console profiles.

profiles.json settings file
profiles.json settings file

When Windows Terminal is first installed, it automatically creates profiles for PowerShell, the CMD prompt, and any installed WSL Linux distributions. If you add a new Linux distribution in the future, you need to include a new profile in the profiles.json file.

For example, I installed Ubuntu after installing Windows Terminal. To show it as a supported shell, I had to add a profile to it, as shown below, by copying an existing profile and changing various settings.

Ubuntu Profile

In my tests, any changes to the profiles.json settings file will take effect immediately after you close the file.

Information on the various configurations can be found here. These settings range from creating new color schemes, changing the cursor type, changing the image assigned to a profile, and more.

Windows Terminal is great, but it has some bugs

It is important to remember that this is a very early preview of Windows Terminal and you will find bugs and peculiar behavior.

An example of a required UI change is seen when you start multiple tabs on the console. For example, in the image below, it looks like I have a PowerShell console tab and an open WSL tab.

Two console tabs open?
Two console tabs open?

In fact though, I also have a CMD prompt open, but you can not see it until you expand the width of the window. This needs to be fixed by providing an option that removes the path from the tab descriptions.

Actually I have three open tabs
Actually I have three open tabs

Also, while playing with Windows Terminal and opening new tabs, in 5 minutes I was able to trigger a failure, which I could not play again.

Beat

Microsoft knows that this build is not perfect and expects problems. They expect users to test the software and report any errors on the Windows Terminal GitHub page. What's more, they expect other developers to contribute to the Windows Terminal project with their own ideas, codes, and fixes.

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