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. 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 →
    • 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.

        135 votes
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          10 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.

          1,620 votes
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            65 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).

            328 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

              • 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  ·  4 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.

                  59 votes
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                    3 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.

                    8 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.

                    • 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…

                      21 votes
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                        6 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                      • Console window title: please replace "Administrator: " with something shorter or even remove it

                        Command prompts opened as administrator are indistinguishable in the task bar because of the long prefix "Administrator: " added to its title.
                        The `title` command changes only the part of the title that goes after this prefix. Please do something about it: shorten it to "Admin:", or even just "A", or a bomb emoji, or change the icon in the task bar and remove the prefix altogether, or add a setting for the user to choose, etc.

                        People go as far as modifying cmd.exe in a hex editor to get rid of this prefix:
                        https://serverfault.com/questions/35561/how-to-remove-administrator-from-the-command-promt-title

                        5 votes
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                          2 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                        • Publish nuget package for managed pseudo terminal

                          It would be great if you published a netstandard (Windows-only, but useable in Framework or Core) nuget package with a robust managed wrapper using code similar to whats in your MiniTerm example. As part of your existing open source repo, we could all help on developing it so people need only reference an official nuget package and easily make their own ConPTY clients.

                          1 vote
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                            0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                          • Option to have double-clicking text not include a trailing white space character

                            Similar to how we were given the option to use ctrl+shift+c/v to cut and paste, it would be great if we could double-click text inside a terminal and not have it select a trailing white space character. Similar to how a Linux terminal works.

                            3 votes
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                              0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                            • ConHost should support OTF fonts

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

                              7 votes
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                                0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                              • I want to use a different locale for each terminal. Like LANG=C.

                                I want a way to switch the locale for each console. Like LANG=C. This will be easy to get more feedback and Issue from non-English speaking countries. I think.

                                1 vote
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                                  0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                • Support for DECAWM escape sequence

                                  "CSI ? 7 l" or "CSI ? 7 h" (disables or enables auto-wrapping) is available since VT100 but it is still not supported by the Windows Console.

                                  We are currently developing an internal log viewer tool, and it would be a lot easier if we wouldn't have to find a workaround which can be used instead of that escape sequence.

                                  1 vote
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                                    0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                  • Bidirectional text support

                                    There are a few languages that can be written right-to-left (RTL), sometimes intermixing with the left-to-right pieces, like numbers or English words. It is crucial for Middle East countries to support this everywhere. Some Linux console programs, like Konsole or Mlterm already support it, but there is ongoing work everywhere else. It would be awesome if Microsoft will lead the way and help with adoption.

                                    See [1] and [2] for more information.

                                    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bi-directional_text

                                    [2] https://www.w3.org/International/articles/inline-bidi-markup/uba-basics

                                    2 votes
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                                      0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                    • Support other POSIX systems, not just Linux.

                                      Don't just have plain Linux, but support the running of other OS such as FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenIndiana, not on WSL but another subsystem.

                                      2 votes
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                                        0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                      • Give API to measure the space that a string occupies

                                        Created to raise support for Console issue #218 that itself is an extension of issue #57
                                        From the issue OP: "Under a certain console/PTY, assume the font family/size is specified, give a string, and return the space (a bit mask of the character matrix?) it would occupy."

                                        Closest implementation is wcwidth and wcswidth as mentioned in Issue on Linux. This API is required for anything involving zero width joiners, as are any scripts involving more complicated rules, or RTL scripts.

                                        1 vote
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                                          0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                                        • Toggle quick edit

                                          Some apps (*cough* vim) support mouse but don't disable quick edit mode, so it is unusable unless I disable it for the whole console. Can we add a menu item to toggle quick edit mode for the current console?

                                          1 vote
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                                            0 comments  ·  Console/Terminal  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
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