Not a lot of computer users nowadays could remember the old days. As far back as the 1960s a user needed to issue orders to a computer of the time by means of line after line of typed commands. The “command-line interface” (CLI) was how Microsoft’s first breakout product, MS-DOS, was utilized. Ironically, the company’s next breakthrough, the Windows operating system, would eventually lead to the fall of MS-DOS and similar CLI systems from mainline use outside of troubleshooting and backwards-compatibility. Microsoft however continues to see further use out of CLI even in this bleeding-edge era, which explains their latest downloadable app for Windows 10.
The Verge tells us that Windows Terminal, Microsoft’s newest evolution of the command-line prompt that has served as a backup for successive versions of the Windows OS, is now available for download at the online Microsoft Store. Although marked as a Preview version, this is an official installable for Windows Terminal, which initially was only usable by programmers by acquiring the source code from GitHub. Terminal is a new central location from which users can use CMD lines, not only the default PowerShell but also the Windows Subsystem for Linux.
Prior CLI apps in more recent Windows versions have invariably been of a windowed black screen with the once-ubiquitous command-line prompt (root directory letter like C:\>). But Microsoft has given that old format a major Windows-like facelift. By that, it means Windows Terminal can open multiple CLI prompt screens at once, each separated by tabs like any regular Windows application can. Furthermore, the background screen can now be customized out of the bland black. It is not automatic, but by editing settings line by line a user can, for instance, insert a more colorful image in the back, an example of which is shown below.
Aside from just jazzing up the command-line display, Microsoft also has addition features added to Windows Terminal that goes beyond just CLI. The command prompt can now also recognize emoji input and GPU text renders, both of which have support included in the inner workings of this app. While the available Terminal download on the Microsoft Store is still a work in progress, the computing pioneer has more plans on the horizon. One upgrade would be the beefing up of the Windows Subsystem for Linux by adding the full Linux kernel into Windows 10. Such an addition would open up new options for command-line programmers.
Images: Engadgent and Tom’s Hardware