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Windows 11: Change Console to Windows Terminal or Command Prompt

Here's how to change the Windows 11 default console app to Windows Terminal or Command Prompt. The default console is a host app that opens when you launch a command line software, such as diskpart or sfc.

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The default console is also responsible for running PowerShell applets, command prompt tools and commands, and so on. Those commands and utilities run inside the specified console host, that process their output and provides them certain system resources.

Windows 11 allows you setting either Windows Terminal or classic console (conhost) as your default console software. The latter doesn't need introduction, as it is available in Windows for decades.

The Windows Terminal app is a new, modern command host that greatly extends capabilities of the input window. It has tabs, graphic accelerated text output, multiple profiles, customizable appearance and hotkeys, and much more.

With Windows Terminal, you will have PowerShell, WSL, and Command Prompt running in tabs, as each of the tools will have its own individual profile.

With conhost as your console, PowerShell, WSL, and Command Prompt will run in their own windows and will be limited to the classic set of features.

Set the Default Console to Windows Terminal or Command Prompt in Windows 11

There are three methods to change your default console on Windows 11. You can set your preferred command host app using the Windows Settings, Windows Terminal settings, and also in the Command Prompt window properties. Let's review these methods.

Change the Windows 11 Default Console in Settings

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Settings from the menu.Windows 11 select Settings from the Start right-click menu
  2. On the left, click on Privacy & security. On the right, click on For developers.Windows 11 Settings, For Developers Option
  3. On the right, select Windows Terminal or Windows Console Host from the drop-down menu of the Terminal option.Change Windows 11 Default Console To Windows Terminal Or Command Prompt

Done!

Besides the system Settings app, you can specify the preferred console app right in the options of the Windows Terminal. It has very tight integration with the OS, e.g. it is available in the context menu of File Explorer.

Change Default Console in Windows 11 in Settings of Windows Terminal

  1. Press Win + X and select the Windows Terminal entry.Windows 11 Open Windows Terminal
  2. In Windows Terminal, click on the down arrow button and select Settings.Windows Terminal Settings Item
  3. In the left pane of settings, select Startup.
  4. On the right, select Windows Terminal or Windows Console Host from the Default terminal application drop-down menu.Change Default Console In Windows 11 In Settings Of Windows Terminal
  5. Click on the Save button to apply the change.

You are done.

Finally, you can change the preferred terminal app right from the Command Prompt options. Please keep in mind that this method only works when you current terminal app is set to Windows Console Host, and not to Windows Terminal.  Do the following.

Change the Default Terminal app from Command Prompt properties

  1. Press Win + R and type cmd.exe into the Run box to open a new Command Prompt.
  2. Right-click the title bar and select Properties from the menu.Windows Command Prompt Titlebar Right Click Menu
  3. Go to to the Terminal tab in the Properties dialog.
  4. Under Default Terminal Application, select either Windows Console Host or Windows Terminal.Change Default Terminal App From Command Prompt Properties
  5. Click OK to save the change.

You are done.

Again, this option will not be available if you have already set your default terminal application to Windows Terminal. In this case, you must use any of methods reviewed above to switch it back to Windows Console Host.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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