By default Windows came with a command prompt and powershell as their main terminal / command-line interface. Although it’s powerful enough for a basic and even advanced task, it’s not nearly flexible as Linux or MacOS terminal. In this post, we are going to discuss some of the better terminal alternative that I personally recommend for Windows users.
To me, an ideal terminal /console can be described as flexible, fast and can be customized as well as can perform functions such as SSH, code editing (Vim) and perform basic commands (ls, cat, echo, !! and etc.). By having this functionality, I believe those programmers or computer users will have a slightly advantage over those users that only rely with basic command prompt or GUI’s.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the discussion with Git Bash. Git bash is powerful command prompt / powershell alternative that come together with Git. You can launch bash by pressing the launch icon (from the Windows start menu) or by typing bash in the powershell. Bash provides almost all unix command out of the box and you can slightly customize and tweak it’s appearance through the settings window.
Bash comes with ssh, scp, cat, find and other useful command tools that will slightly ease and help our development process. With the features that it provides, I would say that it’s a really big help compared to the default command prompt that’s provided by Windows.
cmder is my favorite of all and this is the one that I personally use for my day to day terminal. It comes with all of the goodies that Git Bash provide and on top of all, there are 2 versions (portable and non-portable) that you can install. cmder is a console emulator and it provides terminal with tab, shortcuts, auto updates as well as plugins.
I recommend that you watch this video by Traversy Media and check out their github personally to furtherly learn more about. Trust me, once you’ve tried it, there’s no going back! 😉
Lastly, Windows Subsystem for Linux. Quite a long name but this lets developers to run Linux environments — including most command-line tools, utilities, and applications — directly on Windows, unmodified, without the overhead of a virtual machine.
By the time of this writing, it’s been available for quite sometime now but I personally haven’t used it that much. I recommend that you visit the website and have a read on your own to learn more on the features that it provides out of the box.
Skin / Themes
There are also several other skins/theme that these CLI supports. One of the way to change the default appearance is to access the settings from the properties panel and adjust the color, opacity, font family on it’s own. There’s another alternative and to me, this is the only way for beautiful windows CLI.
Introducing Hyper™ which is HTML/JS/CSS terminal that’s brought to by the ZEIT team. Hyper is freaking cool terminal that can run your cmd or even bash on top of it’s cool looking terminal UI. It also come with plugins management that will allow you to install any plugin to add extra wings for your CLI.
To conclude this post, there are several recommendations that I personally want to suggest to everyone. First, just stick with any terminal that works for you. Second, only try these terminals when you have free time.