Photo by Mohamed Shaffaf on Unsplash

Photo by Mohamed Shaffaf on Unsplash

New features in Windows Terminal Preview

Quick Shell

Article from ADMIN 67/2022
Windows Terminal Preview comes with interesting new features, such as state-preserving quick windows access via shortcuts and configuration of almost all settings in a GUI, which is reason enough to take a look at the preview.

You can pick up both the current version of Windows Terminal and Windows Terminal Preview from the Microsoft Store [1]. Alternatively, a manual install from GitHub [2] is also possible; make sure you choose the version with the highest release number. At the end of the description, you will find the Assets item, which you should expand if you do not see any file links there. A click on the line with the file name ending with msixbundle starts the download of the installation package – or the installation, depending on your browser settings. If you install from the Microsoft Store, the applications are updated automatically.

For this article, I looked at the Windows Terminal Preview, which at the time was version 1.10.1933.0 with the then current Stable version at 1.9.1942.0. Both the Preview and Stable versions can be used in parallel with separate settings.

Configuration (Almost) Without an Editor

One important innovation is the graphical interface for configuring the tool. It was already included in the current version, although with significantly reduced functionality. Most settings can be made in the graphical interface (Figure 1). Depending on the Preview version you use, some very detailed settings might still need to be edited directly in the JSON file. Whether this will change by the time the final 2.0 version is released remains to be seen. Note that the key names are localized if you change the interface language, but the JSON file always uses the English expressions.

Figure 1: The graphical user interface for configuring the Windows Terminal Preview.

The profiles for the command prompt, PowerShell, Windows Subsystem for Linux, and Azure Cloud Shell are always generated automatically if the respective feature is available. Deleting these profiles will not do you any good because they will just be created again. However, you can disable them by enabling the Hide profile from dropdown option. The settings in Defaults apply to all profiles. Exceptions are configured in the individual Profiles panes.

The interface is most likely not final and could still change by version 2.0, but one thing that should remain is that right-clicking on a window tab opens a menu for customizing the tab.

Quake Mode

One very practical function is the new Quake window. A keyboard shortcut can be used to start the Windows terminal with the default profile in the upper half of the screen and immediately move it to the foreground. Pressing the same shortcut causes it to disappear again. Between calls, the state remains. The default shortcut for this is Win+`, which can cause collisions with the default key combination of the FancyZones editor from Microsoft.

As a prerequisite for the Quake window, an instance of the Windows Terminal must be running. In this context, the setting to start Windows Terminal with the user's login is very practical. The current Stable version already supports Quake mode. In the Preview version, an icon is visible in the taskbar, but not in the Stable version.

Key Bindings Become Actions

In the Actions sidebar item, dubbed Key bindings in earlier versions, you can configure the shortcuts between the key combinations and the Windows terminal commands. They can be adjusted conveniently in the graphical configuration interface, which also gives you access to the JSON file (bottom menu item) that stores all settings. Therefore, you can easily transfer the customized actions to another computer.

To define actions, select Settings | Actions . A click on the pencil icon (which appears when you hover over the line in question) lets you change the keyboard shortcut. After making changes, don't forget to press the Save button. Note that the selection accessible from the command palette in the standard menu is used for executing the commands and not for configuring the settings. You can also reach the command palette with the Ctrl+Shift+P shortcut and then select an action from the menu or type the command in a kind of internal command line.

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