How to install Canary version of Windows Terminal

You can now use the Windows Terminal Canary to try experimental features and changes before anyone else, and here's how.

Windows Terminal Canary
Windows Terminal Canary

On Windows 11 or 10, you can download and install the Windows Terminal Canary, and in this guide, you will learn how. The “Canary” version offers nightly builds of the Windows Terminal, allowing anyone to access the latest code to be among the first ones to try new experimental features and enhancements even before they arrive in the “Preview” version.

Microsoft is providing the Windows Terminal Canary through an installer that supports automatic updates. However, it’s only available for Windows 11, and then there’s the portable version that doesn’t offer updates, but it’s available on Windows 10 and 11. Yes, you can use the Canary version alongside the Preview version and even the stable version. Also, consider that while you will have access to the newest innovations, you may come across issues and broken features.

This guide will teach you the steps to download and install the Windows Terminal Canary on Windows 11 or 10.

Install Windows Terminal Canary (automatic updates)

To install the Canary version of the Terminal on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Windows Terminal on GitHub.

  2. Click the download option for the “App installer” option.

    Terminal Canary installer download

  3. Save the installer file on the device.

  4. Right-click the file and choose the Open option.

  5. Click the Install button.

    Terminal Canary install

Once you complete the steps, the Canary version of the Windows Terminal will launch, and you can use it like any other version.

This distribution should receive updates automatically every night, but you can always open the “About” page from the main menu to confirm the version and check for updates.

To uninstall the application, open Settings > Apps > Installed apps, open the menu (three dots) on the left for the “Terminal Canary,” and choose the “Uninstall” option.

Install Windows Terminal Canary (portable version)

To install the Canary version of the Terminal on Windows 11 or 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Windows Terminal on GitHub.

  2. Click the download option for the “Portable ZIP” option.

    Terminal Canary portable download

    Quick note: This option works on Windows 11 and 10. Usually, you would choose the “x64” download, but if you’re on Windows 10 x86, you will have to choose the “x86” option.
  3. Save the Zip file on the device.

  4. Choose the “Microsoft.WindowsTerminalCanary_latest_x64” file and click the Extract all button.

  5. Select the folder location to extract the files.

  6. Check the “Show extracted files when complete” option.

  7. Click the Extract button.

    Terminal Canary portable extract

  8. Open the Terminal folder.

  9. Right-click the WindowsTerminal.exe (with the yellow “CAN” label) and choose the Open option.

    Terminal Canary run

After you complete the steps, you don’t have to install the application. You only need to run the executable to access the Windows Terminal Canary.

To uninstall the portable version of the Terminal, right-click the folder containing the files and select the “Delete” option.

The only caveat with the portable version is that automatic updates are not supported, meaning that you will have to repeat the steps to download and run the application every time you want to try a new release.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].