Nov 12

Ways to a better shell in windows

The default Windows command prompt (cmd.exe) is terrible compared to what UNIX terminal emulators and shells offer that’s why people constantly develop new tools to make the command prompt bearable. Here are some links:

cmd.exe replacements


  • http://sourceforge.net/projects/pycmd/
  • CMD replacement implemented in Python
  • provides better TAB completion and command line editing
  • not a full CMD replacement
  • not under active development (?)


  • http://www.nyaos.org/
  • customizable command completion (via LUA scripting)
  • UNIX shell like key binding and command line editing
  • thin documentation
  • user community mostly Japanese


UNIX shells

  • aka Cygwin or Windows ports of zsh, bash, etc.
  • IMHO better than any of the Windows shells
  • execution speed of scripts is slow due to “fork() emulation”

cmd.exe improvements


  • https://github.com/adoxa/ansicon/
  • adds ANSI colors to cmd.exe
  • injects dll into cmd.exe

Alternative terminal emulators

Console 2




ConEmu is definitely a must have. Adding clink to your system does not hurt and makes cmd.exe somewhat usable. If you want to try another shell  I would give NYAOS a try. Unfortunately the documentation is thin and the community is mostly Japanese.