Best Terminal for Windows: 10 Most Efficient Options

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best terminal for windows

Finding the best terminal for Windows can be challenging given all the available options.

To simplify this process, I tested more than 20 software options, and the following list contains all the information I’ve gathered. Read on to find out more details.

Best Terminal for Windows

1. Windows Terminal

Windows Terminal interface best terminal for Windows

Windows Terminal is built into Windows 11 and 10.

Windows Terminal command 1

The only downside is that it’s only compatible with them. If you use an older version of Windows, explore other options below.

Windows Terminal command 2

After testing this app, I concluded it’s modern, fast, and performed without issues during all my tests.

Windows Terminal command 3

What made it stand out from the crowd was its support for a variety of command-line applications. These include PowerShell, Command Prompt, and even Azure Cloud Shell.

Windows Terminal settings

The software has a feature that I didn’t expect: customization options. You can open the Settings by pressing the following key combination inside Terminal: Ctrl +,.

Windows Terminal command 5

Windows Terminal allows you to create color schemes and even keyboard shortcuts.

Windows Terminal personalization

These features ensure that you can have a customized experience while also improving functionality considerably.

Pros:

  • Completely free with the Windows OS
  • It has a tabbed interface that streamlines any process
  • Custom keyboard shortcuts can be added
  • It can be customized with custom themes
  • Offers full support for stylus usage
  • Supports WSL, SSH, PowerShell, Command Prompt, and Azure Cloud Shell
  • GPU-accelerated text rendering

Cons:

  • It’s not supported on platforms other than Windows 10 and 11

2. FireCMD

firecmd interface

After testing FireCMD, I can say that it’s well worth trying if you’re looking for a competent terminal for Windows.

firecmd shells

This app surprised me with its features, including command auto-completion, full HTML and CSS support, and even Unicode support.

firecmd snapshot

The auto-completion feature stood out, offering users a way to reduce time spent writing commands.

firecmd shells

As in the case of Windows Terminal, FireCMD allows you to open multiple tabs in the same window.

firecmd tab settings

With this software, you can open multiple command-line or console applications, and the impact on the system is negligible.

Pros:

  • Amazingly-useful autocomplete for any command
  • Allows users to create up to 500 aliases
  • Has a free trial version available

Cons:

  • This terminal isn’t free
  • Sometimes, multiple tabs can cause your PC to slow down

3. MobaXTerm

MobaXterm interface

MobaXterm has a fantastic range of features and support capabilities.

MobaXterm multi-execution mode

This app fully supports SSH, Telnet, RDP, VNC, XDMCP, FTP, SFTP, and Serial sessions. This makes it one of the most versatile terminal apps.

MobaXterm session types
MobaXterm sidebar

What made it stand out from the crowd even more was its SFTP browser. This handy little tool appears on the left sidebar whenever you log into a remote SSH server.

MobaXterm usage

You can navigate your database quickly and explore your data set more efficiently.

MobaXterm port forwarding

The SSH tunnels manager also streamlines the process by allowing you to perform port forwarding with ease.

Pros:

  • High-speed processing of commands
  • Quick and easy to download and use the app
  • Includes support for SSH, Telnet, etc.
  • It’s easy to manage SSH connections and download files

Cons:

  • The user interface can be a bit old-school
  • Some users reported issues when the connection was closed

4. ZOC Terminal

ZOC Terminal interface

ZOC Terminal is another contender for the best Terminal for Windows.

This professional terminal emulation software works perfectly both on Windows and macOS.

ZOC Terminal Emulations list

Besides its versatility, ZOC contains various features that make it reliable when connecting to hosts and mainframes via Secure Shell, Telnet, and others.

ZOC Terminal scripting language

Its well-designed and user-friendly interface made it stand out from the crowd.

ZOC Terminal command

Furthermore, you can customize your experience.

ZOC Terminal clock

This terminal also offers a powerful scripting language and automatically triggers actions based on received or typed text.

ZOC Terminal wyse60 clocks

Pros:

  • It can be customized in a variety of ways
  • Includes a varied and powerful scripting capability
  • Allows tabs to be created for more efficiency

Cons:

  • This software isn’t free
  • The interface design might not be for everyone

5. Cmder

Cmder interface

Cmder has convinced me that it’s an excellent portable terminal for Windows.

Cmder command 1

This lightweight Terminal for Windows acts like a console emulator, providing a Unix-like environment.

Cmder command 2

This can be extremely useful for people accustomed to the Unix environment and offers excellent capabilities.

Cmder command 3

You can carry aliases, settings, or history anywhere you’d like.

Cmder new console creation

This feature makes Cmder ideal for USB sticks or other storage mediums, including the cloud.

Cmder options

Even though it doesn’t offer the same range of capabilities as the previously-mentioned software, it’s still a great choice.

Pros:

  • Built upon the ConEmu console emulator
  • It can be used as a portable terminal
  • Includes a built-in Quake-style drop-down
  • Fully compatible with command-line applications

Cons:

  • It’s harder to configure than the previous software options
  • The large number of options can make it hard to find what you need
  • The software isn’t free

6. ConEmu

ConEmu interface

After testing the ConEmu software, I concluded that it’s an advanced console with the capacity to run any shell you want.

ConEmu customization

The element that makes it stand out is its capacity for deep integration.

ConEmu command 1

Even though it’s not as powerful as a stand-alone app, it’s great when used with Far Manager.

ConEmu command 2

The fact that ConEmu fully supports Cygwin and MSYS makes it a valuable addition to your software stack.

ConEmu command 3

As with other options, ConEmu is open-source and can be used on portable storage devices.

ConEmu shell options

This means you can store it on a USB device and take it with you no matter where you go.

Pros:

  • Offers full support for Cygwin and MSYS
  • Feature-rich build with a large number of options
  • It can be used on a portable storage
  • Open-source

Cons:

  • It can be complex to use, especially for beginners
  • It doesn’t support WSL natively
  • It doesn’t have a tab structure

7. PuTTy

Putty interface

Putty is a free and open-source terminal emulator with many capabilities.

Putty key generator

This app supports several network protocols, including SCP, SSH, Telnet, rlogin, and raw socket connections.

Putty configuration

What stood out during my testing was its ability to control SSH encryption keys and protocol versions completely.

Putty connection settings

This streamlines the process of using any terminal and ensures faster results.

Pros:

  • Fully supports SSH, Telnet, and serial connections
  • It can be opened and reacts very fast
  • Supports right-click mode for pasting commands
  • Free and open-source

Cons

  • Certificates need to be converted to a PuTTY format for authentication
  • Might disconnect in between sessions

8. Termius

Termius interface

Termius is another excellent Windows terminal app that offers great SSH support. This ensures that you can manage multiple DevOps and engineering teams easily.

Termius command

One element that made it pop from the many apps I tested is its ability to save time.

Termius command 2

It does this by removing the requirement to re-enter IP addresses, ports, usernames, and even passwords.

Termius changed theme

The design of this software was made with UNIX and Linux servers in mind.

Termius SFTP browsing

It offers cross-platform support for even more efficient usage and can be run multiple times simultaneously.

Pros:

  • Perfectly designed to work on UNIX and Linux server management
  • Provides remote services
  • Offers cross-platform support
  • Support for multiple sessions

Cons:

  • A bit too pricey compared to other apps
  • It can be slow on older devices

9. Mintty

Mintty interface

Mintty is another excellent option if you’re looking for a Windows terminal. It acts as a terminal emulator and provides full support for Xterm emulation.

Mintty options

Mintty ensures that its comprehensive character encoding support will aid your work.

Mintty tabs

Even though it’s not as complex as other options on the list, it still impressed me.

Mintty color scheme

This was due to its full support for 256 colors and True-Color.

Mintty configuration

The user-friendly interface also sums up this app perfectly.

Pros:

  • Support for Cygwin and MSYS
  • Good documentation provided
  • Fully supports multiple sessions
  • User-friendly UI
  • Great support for scrolling in terminal apps

Cons

  • No multiple tabs support is included
  • Limited compatibility with Windows
  • It can be buggy sometimes

10. Git Bash Terminal

Git Bash Terminal interface

Git Bash Terminal also provides you with a Unix-style command line for Windows.

This will suit you if you’re accustomed to the Unix environment.

Git Bash Terminal commands

It can automate manual tasks with scripts you created.

Git Bash Terminal tabs

Even though it’s not as competent as other options, it still provides users with a suitable terminal.

Furthermore, you can use the well-known drag-and-drop process to extract URLs from folders.

Pros:

  • Perfectly compatible with all UNIX commands
  • It allows for folders to be dragged and dropped for URL extraction

Cons:

  • Some users might see the interface as confusing

How I Chose the Best Terminal for Windows

  1. I chose software that has a streamlined installation process.
  2. I ensured that the interface was user-friendly and customizable.
  3. I tested the program’s functionality by running various commands inside the terminals.
  4. I checked if the app could handle large outputs or intensive tasks without crashing the system or lagging.
  5. I paid attention to the compatibility of the apps with different shells and command-line tools.
SoftwareInstallationInterfaceFunctionalityPerformanceCompatibility
Windows TerminalQuick and straightforward5/5Versatile terminal capabilities5/5Compatible with various systems
FireCMDSimple and user-friendly5/5Feature-rich command prompt4/5Compatible with Windows
MobaXtermQuick installation process4/5Comprehensive set of tools5/5Cross-platform compatibility
ZOC TerminalStraightforward installation3/5Extensive scripting and automation4/5Multi-platform compatibility
CmderEasy installation2/5Enhanced console emulator3/5Compatible with Windows
ConEmuQuick and easy setup3/5Tabbed interface, extensive features3/5Compatible with Windows
PuttySimple and straightforward2/5Standard terminal functionality2/5Cross-platform compatibility
TerminusQuick installation process5/5Emphasizes on modern features4/5Cross-platform compatibility
MinttyQuick and straightforward2/5Fast and efficient terminal3/5Compatible with Windows
Git Bash TerminalIncluded with Git installation2/5Git command line functionality4/5Compatible with Windows and Git

You may also be interested in:

How To Use the Best Terminal for Windows

  1. Right-click Start and choose Terminal (Admin) from the list.Right-click menu Start Windows 11
  2. Accept the User Account Control message by clicking Yes.
  3. Click the arrow next to the + sign to configure and customize the terminal.Windows Terminal Customization
  4. To access the app’s configuration, click the same arrow as above and choose Settings.Windows Terminal Settings
  5. Press Ctrl + Shift + P to open the Command Pallete.Windows Terminal Command Palette

Now you’re much closer to finding the best terminal for Windows! I’m curious about which option you chose from the list, so feel free to share this information in the comments below.

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