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. ConHost should support OTF fonts

    More and more fonts are OTF rather than TTF (e.g. nerdfonts.com)

    10 votes
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      0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    • Support Unicode in more, type and other commands

      When I pipe console.log("hello it’s time"); or simply type it, it gets mangled. This also happens in PowerShell (I presume because it uses the DOS commands

      1 vote
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        0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
      • A command to confirm that linux is running on WSL

        There are many cases where it's useful to programmatically check whether linux is "regular" linux or WSL linus. E.g., in Python calling `sys.platform` just returns `linux`, not `linux-wsl` or something like this. It'd be helpful if there were a command line argument that could reliably confirm that the platform is WSL.

        5 votes
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          4 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
        • Libsixel support for CMD/Powershell/WSL

          I would like native libsixel support as the only current way to run it is as per this comment https://github.com/Microsoft/WSL/issues/1099#issuecomment-248513013. If possible, this support would be for for all terminals. This would prove extremely useful in performing quick research without having to leave the terminal.

          16 votes
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            2 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
          • Selecting text shouldn't pause program

            Many people run into the unexpected behavior that accidentally selecting text on the console causes their program to pause when it tries to write to the output stream.

            While text is selected, the console should continue to read from the output stream, and have some different way to provide stable text selection (freeze the scrollbar, or just render the text after the selection ended?).

            Here's some other users who probably find the current behavior unintuitive:
            https://superuser.com/questions/555160/windows-command-prompt-freezing-on-focus
            https://superuser.com/questions/459609/what-does-it-do-exactly-if-i-click-in-the-window-of-cmd

            26 votes
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              4 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
            • Replace the titlebar colour into black. White titlebar is distracting to CLI contents.

              The current white titlebar (when not using the optional theme color) is really distracting and just looks out-of-place on CLI.

              I suggest that the console window should be like this: https://imgur.com/a/UQZS9

              This is Hyper, a 3rd-party terminal app. An example of modern looking CLI that I think Windows deserve to have out-of-the-box. It is clean and way more focused to the CLI itself rather than the GUI chrome.

              3 votes
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                1 comment  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
              • Make UTF-8 an option for "non-Unicode" programs (ACP)

                While I personally appreciate Microsoft's recent improvements involving CP_UTF8 in UoW/conhost, I feel that the support is still far from complete.

                Windows' traditional way of making console programs support Unicode characters – compiler-level settings like TCHAR & UNICODE – have been causing troubles for cross-platform libraries and their users. On the other hand, UTF-8, an ASCII-compatible MBCS with support for full Unicode ranges, has become the choice of "legacy-style" C/C++ programmers as well as front-end engineers.

                MS is now extending its sphere of influence to many other fields, by introducing open-source programming components and by providing decent cross-platform app-building support.…

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

                  Thanks for the suggestion.

                  The biggest overhaul to the Console’s innards in more than 30 years is currently underway. UTF-8 support is something that we are and will be working on in order to support a much broader set of scenarios, platforms, clients and tools.

                  Just one example of the level of improvements being made include all the Virtual Terminal sequence support added to the Console during Win10AU to support many *NIX tools, along with the new 24-bit color support we released in today’s Insiders build #14931.

                  Stay tuned for lots more improvements coming in future insiders and major releases.

                • Triple click to select whole line

                  Currently (AnnUpd) clicking selects one character and double clicking selects whole word. Another step would be to triple click to select whole line.

                  5 votes
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                    0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                  • Auto-hide scrollbar, esecially in full-screen mode

                    Hide the scrollbar until mouse approaches it. Make the "hit zone" for showing the scrollbar bigger than the scrollbar itself so it's not too hard to show. This feature would be especially nice in full screen mode.

                    136 votes
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                      11 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.

                      1,637 votes
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                        66 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                      • Enable Console to use Fallback Fonts to display emoji and more Unicode codepoints

                        It'd be nice if Console could support font fallback to enable it to display emoji, east-Asian glyphs, and Unicode symbols.

                        Consolas doesn't have very broad Unicode coverage, and most *nix terminals have the capability.

                        48 votes
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                          4 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 :)

                          767 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

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

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

                            330 votes
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                              15 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                            • Make links clickable

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

                              330 votes
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                                6 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

                              • 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.

                                197 votes
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                                  15 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

                                • 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.

                                  122 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 :)]

                                    94 votes
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                                      on the backlog  ·  5 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                    • Support long paths (>MAX_PATH)

                                      Please support long paths (>MAX_PATH) - robocopy supports that, the Windows API supports that (=> "\\.\").
                                      Right now I have to use subst to shorten the path, which is a real pain.

                                      61 votes
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                                        3 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                      • New CMD UI Idea

                                        I use CMD to run Apps like Blender from Blender foundation were the is a lot of text being posted onto CMD from the application it would be amazing if you could set CMD to always appear on top of other windows, just like Task Manager that way you could being working in the application and see any text in Cmd

                                        8 votes
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                                          0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                        • Why do you continue to restrict us?

                                          First, I love the new experimental features! Only complaint, not enough of them. Lots and lots of developers use Linux simply because of the customization offered by those OSs, so give us more!

                                          Tabs, more fonts, colors, backgrounds. Maybe Im understating how difficult it would be to enable this stuff, but **** turn it into an option. A lot of Windows users will never know its there, so make these types of options available as a non-default setting. You could even hide it :) We will find it I promise.

                                          9 votes
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                                            1 comment  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                                            We hear ya. Alas, we’re a very small team (3 dev’s) and have a loooooong list of (several hundred) issues & asks that we’re prioritizing and working through, many of which involve modernizing a fragile, >30 yr. old code-base, which must be done with great care.

                                            If you want more colors, emit 24-bit RGB color sequences. We have improved font support, backgrounds, transparency, zooming, fluent UX, better tabs, animations, regions, and several tens of future features. on our backlog.

                                            Bear with us while we continue to crank through our feature list.

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