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How to set Windows Terminal default app for Command Prompt, PowerShell, WSL

You can now make the Windows Terminal experience the default application to open PowerShell and Command Prompt, and here's how.

Windows Terminal default app
  • Windows Terminal can be set as the default app for launching PowerShell and Command Prompt.
  • Windows Terminal: Open Settings > Startup > Default terminal application > Windows Terminal.
  • Windows Console Host: Open Defaults > Terminal > Default Terminal Application > Windows Terminal.

On Windows 10, you can now open Command Prompt, PowerShell, and WSL directly into the Windows Terminal app instead of the legacy Windows Console Host. The ability to set the default terminal emulator for the command-line interpreters is available starting with Windows 10 build 21390 and higher and Windows Terminal version 1.9 and higher releases.

The startup behavior can be set in the Windows Console Host defaults configuration and the Windows Terminal settings. However, you can only undo the option from the Terminal app settings.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to make the Windows Terminal experience the default application for launching Command Prompt and PowerShell on Windows 10.

Set Windows Terminal default app for Command Prompt and PowerShell

To open Command Prompt, PowerShell, and WSL with the Windows Terminal app by default, use these steps:

  1. Open Windows Terminal.

  2. Click the menu (down-arrow) button and select the Settings option.

  3. Click on Startup.

  4. Use the “Default terminal application” setting and select the Windows Terminal option.

    Windows Terminal default app
    Windows Terminal default app
  5. Click the Save button.

Once you complete the steps,  the next time you open Command Prompt or PowerShell, the command-line tool will open on Windows Terminal instead of the legacy Windows Console Host.

Set default terminal app in Windows Console Host

Alternatively, you can always enable the feature within the Windows Console Host with these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Command Prompt or PowerShell and click the top result to open the app.

  3. Right-click the title bar and select the Defaults option.

    Console context menu
    Console context menu
  4. Click the Terminal tab.

  5. Under the “Default Terminal Application” section, select the Windows Terminal option.

    Windows Console Host terminal settings
    Windows Console Host terminal settings
  6. Click the OK button.

After you complete the steps, the apps will launch automatically using the Windows Terminal application.

Set Windows Console Host default app for Command Prompt and PowerShell

To make again the Windows Console Host the default app experience for PowerShell, WSL, and Command Prompt, use these steps:

  1. Open Windows Terminal.

  2. Click the menu (down-arrow) button and select the Settings option.

  3. Click on Startup.

  4. Use the “Default terminal application” setting and select the Windows Console Host option.

    Windows Console Host default app
    Windows Console Host default app
  5. Click the Save button.

Once you complete the steps, the command-line tools will no longer open by default inside the Windows Terminal application.

Since the applications won’t open with the Windows Console Host option is enabled, the only way to disable this behavior is through the Windows Terminal settings.