Cartoon of people sitting on a laptop working.
Image: Julia Tim/Adobe Stock

Windows 11 comes with a command line tool dubbed Windows Terminal. Designed to launch a PowerShell command prompt, Windows Terminal offers a few enhancements over the traditional command prompt. You can launch multiple tabs with different windows, choose whether to open a traditional command prompt or a PowerShell window, and customize the look and functionality of the terminal window. Here’s how it works.

SEE: Windows 11: Tips on installation, security and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

To open Windows Terminal in Windows 11, click the Start button and select All Apps. Scroll down the Start menu and select the shortcut for Windows Terminal. If you need to open it as an administrator, right-click the shortcut, move to the More menu, and select Run as administrator (Figure A).

Figure A

an image of a screen with Run as Administrator chosen.
Run Windows as an administrator.

Alternatively, click the Search icon, start typing Windows Terminal, and then select Open or Run as Administrator from the search results (Figure B).

Figure B

Screen with options including Run as Administrator.
Another way is to start typing Windows Terminal, and then select Open or Run as Administrator.

Windows Terminal opens with a PowerShell prompt, so you can use this for PowerShell scripts or as a standard command prompt (Figure C).

Figure C

This opens up a Windows PowerShell script.

To work with additional command prompt windows, click the + button for each tab you wish to open. You can then move the order of the tabs by dragging and dropping one to the left or right. Click X to close a specific tab (Figure D).

Figure D

Black computer screen with text.
Push the + to add more windows.

Next, you can choose what type of window to open. Click the down arrow next to the + button. You can choose a Windows PowerShell window, a traditional Command Prompt window, or an Azure Cloud Shell window (Figure E).

Figure E

Black screen with a dropdown menu at the top.
Choose what type of tab you want open

To make sure you enter the right commands and syntax, you can select a command from a list. From the same menu, select Command Palette. Scroll down the window and select the command you want to run (Figure F).

Figure F

A screen with dropdown options.
Choose the Windows Command Pallette.

Finally, you can customize the look and behavior for Windows Terminal. Click the down arrow and select Settings to open another tab with various categories for settings. Select a specific category, make the changes you want, and then click Save to save them or Discard changes to reject them (Figure G).

Figure G

A startup page with settings on it to choose.
Choose your settings on startup.

To cover each category:

  • Select Startup to control how a terminal window looks and acts when you open it.
  • Select Interaction to determine the formats for copying and pasting.
  • Select Appearance to set the theme and layout for the terminal window.
  • Select Color schemes to choose the colors for a terminal window.
  • Select Rendering to determine if and when the screen redraws if you’re trying to troubleshoot a problem.
  • Select Actions to view and add any command-line actions you want to use.
  • Select Defaults to determine the default settings for a terminal window. You can also set the defaults for the three different types of windows.