Building & Running the New Windows Terminal

I recently learnt about the new Windows Terminal. This combined with the new Windows Subsystem for Linux, I got excited to try it out. However, it’s currently not available for download. You need to build it with your own bare hands using the code from this github repository!

This sounded like a fun Sunday afternoon project.

Requirements & Setup

The prerequitites section of the README on github is pretty good and gets the job done mostly. It was pretty easy to get it going, Here are some additional notes that you might find useful.

  • To meet the Windows build number requirements, you will need to join the Windows Insider Program and to get the build 1903, your Insider Settings will need to be on Release Preview
  • Once you open the code in VS 2019, it will offer you to upgrade the SDK versions. Make sure you select don’t upgrade for anything!
  • I also recommend reading this FAQ section before building and running it.

First Look

Once you’re able to build and run successfully, you will get this

View of the shell on the initial launch

This may look like the original power shell terminal but don’t be fooled, notice the thin scrollbar! Now go ahead and press CTRL+T, you will see tabs and you will see two new buttons, one to add another tab and another which revels a drop-down.

Available options

Developer Friendly Settings

If you click on the ⚙ Settings, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that the settings are controlled through a simple json file. It will open the file in your locally configured editor for json files.

You can configure all your console profiles here along with color schemes. The project by default will only create profiles for PowerShell and cmd. It was pretty easy for me to add one for Bash based on the bash.exe installed by Windows subsystem for Linux.

Preview of the profiles.json file

Playing around with these settings will eventually get to that sweet looking screenshot that Microsoft has on their original article. This is how far I got. Switching Windows to dark mode and setting "experimental_showTabsInTitlebar": true in the settings will get you the rest of the way!

Testing out transparency