Command Prompt / Console / Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

Greetings from the Windows Command-Line Teams, including the Windows Console and Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) teams!

We’re hear to learn about the features you’d like to see in the Windows Console (the terminal app itself), Cmd and PowerShell shells, and the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) upon which several Linux distros now run!

Note: Please don’t file bugs & issues here: file issues on our GitHub repos instead:

Please DO post your asks, ideas, wants and needs for future features: We ARE listening, and we ARE grateful for your feedback!

Windows Console & WSL Teams.

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  1. Spinner

    Permit a SPINNER [optionalstring] command

    General structure:

    spinner somestring
    for ...(
    spinner
    )
    spinner /end

    where the first (optional) invocation sets a series of characters to be used as the spinner,

    The second invocation, within (typically) a FOR loop advances the spinner to the next character in the string The spinner character replaces the cursor.

    The third restores the initial cursor and resets the spinner string to the default "|/-\"

    hence

    for /l %%x in (1,1,8) do (
    spinner
    timeout /t 1 >nul
    )
    spinner /end

    would replace the cursor with a spinner which changes once per second

    spinner Microsoft …

    1 vote
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      1 comment  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    • SET /p additional options

      Allow

      set /r[character]

      to replace input-characters with character (default "*") on the display for obscuring password-input, games, etc.

      set /n

      -similar, but does not show input at all so lenth-of-password is not visible.

      2 votes
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        0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
      • cmd.exe FOR /f options

        FOR /f should have attional options:

        EACH : same as delims but each delimiter encountered should increment the token counter. Hence with 'delims=,' the text ,col2,col3,,,col6 would assign token1=col2; token2=col3; token3=col6 but 'each=,' would assign token2=col2; token3=col3; token6=col6 (as logical columns 1,4 and 5 ar missing)

        Option QUOTE should be implemented to turn off recognition of delimiters within "q,u,o,t,e,s"

        "SKIP=0" should be allowed

        NEWLINE should be allowed to assign NO tokens on an empty line

        LINENUM should assign the line number (32-bit limit, not 16-bit) to the LAST token+1. Thus "linenumtokens=1-3" %%A would assign the line number to %%D

        2 votes
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          2 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
        • Windows Console should support tabbed 'pages'

          Great to see some of these improvements, especially the cut/copy/paste keyboard shortcuts. However, I've been seeking for a way for the cmd window to have a tabbed interface for a while. So, for example, I can run a ping/tracert etc. in one tab, a chkdsk in another tab, and something else in a third, without having multiple windows open taking up screen real estate.

          Also consider adding panes side-by-side within the console.

          1,579 votes
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            63 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
          • Quick launch shortcut

            It would be great option to let shell be Quake-style - to have it launched on start and quickly toggled by hotkey. Idea is inspired by Terra Terminal and Guake for *nix

            2 votes
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              0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
            • cmd.exe enabledelayedexpansion

              enabledelayedexpansion/disabledelayedexpansion should be permitted as a swich, a la echo on/echo off rather than just as an option for setlocal which necessitates extraordinary actions to retrieve altered values within the setlocal/endlocal block.

              1 vote
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                0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
              • UTF-8

                I really really want utf-8, I do not use any legacy console apps from 80-s, so please please please make it happens :)

                744 votes
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                  21 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                  As Chip said, UTF-16 is rather baked into the stuff we do. The console host does use UTF-16 somewhere in there. :P We just have the matter of dealing with code pages throughout the history of computing existence that causes us heartburn every time we think about how to fix this. :( It’s definitely something that we would like to look into on our backlog.

                  —Michael

                • Make links clickable

                  Parse console output for urls and make it possible to open them with a click (or ctrl+click).

                  318 votes
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                    5 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                    Yep, this would be really cool. Not just for URLs, but things like paths too. Script emits a path to an error log? Just ctrl+click it to open!

                    I can see some trickery around the parsing (performance impacts? security? and of course the parsing itself…) and the launching of another app (security again?). But it would be awesome.

                    It’s on our backlog for sure.

                    —Michael

                  • Mouse Scroll Wheel or CTRL +/- to zoom text size

                    Another needed step to make the Cmd feel more responsive and dynamic.

                    302 votes
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                      on the backlog  ·  10 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                    • Visually indicate when a console is expecting keyboard input

                      When executing a long running task, you often switch away from the console window to do something else. Sometimes these tasks prompt you (e.g. to confirm to overwrite a file).

                      It would be nice if the taskbar button (for example) could change colors indicating that the program in the console window needs keyboard input similar to how Windows highlights the taskbar button when requiring privilege escalation.

                      15 votes
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                        0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                      • Global hotkey to activate/deactivate running console window.

                        It would be great if there could be a global hotkey to activate and deactivate the console window.

                        This is also called a "quake style" command line, similar to the console in Quake games.

                        For example, if I have the console running in the background, but my current focus is Visual Studio and I hit Ctrl+`, it should activate the console window by making it the current focus. Hitting Ctrl + ` again would make Visual Studio the focus.

                        iTerm2 on the Mac has this and it's my favorite feature.

                        192 votes
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                          14 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                          You will be Rich’s best friend forever. He loves the idea of a Quake console as well and talks about it all the time. :P I know for sure this is in our backlog already.

                          Some of the suggestions like persistence and multiple sessions and whatnot seem related to the “history between sessions” and tabs/multiplexing ideas. Same technical challenges apply, but sounds possible at some point. :)

                          —Michael

                        • Transparency enhancement

                          Transparency is a nice visual enhancement, should generally only apply to the window contents and not the surrounding "chrome" of the window, such as the title bar and scroll bar.

                          Optionally, the Console "frame" could be made transparent when focused/un-focused, controlled via separate transparency slider

                          167 votes
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                            on the backlog  ·  13 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                          • More integration with Windows features.

                            Add commands to interact with standard Windows features. Metro Notifications, systray messages, Message boxes, and maybe even window actions. (close/minimize other windows)

                            26 votes
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                              0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                            • Backspace should delete selected text

                              Now that you can easily select text [with ctrl+a or just by dragging over it] and copy and paste text [with ctrl+c & ctrl+d], why not make that we should not be required to delete every character separately?! Please make the backspace and delete key work to delete all selected text.

                              120 votes
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                                2 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                                Oooh yep. That is a natural extension of what we’ve done. It’s just a lot trickier to manipulate the input line (there are different input modes that apps can subscribe to and whatnot) than it is to enable more ways to select the output. But I hear you for sure. Now that we select more like a text editor, I want it all! It’s on the backlog. :)

                                —Michael

                              • Consider adding a status-bar

                                2.Please add an (optional) status-bar showing the cursor position in X:Y coordinates, Insert key mode, Text selection mode, etc.

                                [Transposed from my original asks posted in 2011 :)]

                                91 votes
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                                  on the backlog  ·  4 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                • Please add a hotkey to clear the console (similar to ctrl-k on OS X)

                                  I frequently use the OS X terminal when teaching Python *even for Windows developers*. Much of what you are doing with the command prompt is going to fix this. But the ability to hit a single hotkey and clear the console is very helpful. Please give us this feature.

                                  39 votes
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                                    4 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                                    You got it, it’s on our backlog, including the ability to clear the console while an app or script is executing. We’ll have to think carefully about the latter, especially. —Rich

                                  • Please improve the environment variables UI or add startup scripts

                                    Not directly cmd.exe but closely related: Working in CMD often requires to manually set PATH variables (since there still is no default location for user installed binaries like perl, python, MinGW etc.) and as of now the UI is completly unusable:

                                    * Working with one single big string
                                    * No validation of paths
                                    * No easy enable/disable or (manual) sorting of paths
                                    * No resizing of the window/input text field

                                    Alternatively, you could add a startup script like the good old "bashrc" on linux where you could use a couple of SET commands to configure your CMD by hand…

                                    18 votes
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                                      5 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                    • Console / cmd.exe add additional fonts

                                      Add additional fonts and font sizes to the windows / cmd.exe console in windows 8+.
                                      The current font selection needs to be expanded especially at smaller font sizes.
                                      Nice to have: A setting in console window system menu to add 'open console here' right click menu command to windows explorer (without hitting alt/shift right click like in windows 8.

                                      4 votes
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                                        3 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                      • Preserve the formatting of the command window

                                        Pasting the contents of the clipboard loses all formatting - msbuild (and other programs probably) format (colourize) their output which makes them far more readable but only while it's in the command window.

                                        Preserving the formatting when copying would provide the same benefits in the event the command output is copied and pasted to a file

                                        4 votes
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                                          1 comment  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                        • new edlin.exe and debug.exe

                                          A new version of old edlin and debug will be fine..thanks

                                          2 votes
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                                            2 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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