How to change the default Terminal in Windows 11

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer. Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • If you want to change the default Terminal in Windows 11, just modify a single setting from the command-line application.
  • Windows 11 supports multiple shells, so you're entitled to change the default shell and pick the one that works best in your case.
  • When using this OS, note that you don’t have to set Windows Terminal since it’s already a default command-line tool.
change default terminal windows 11
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Windows Terminal is the default command-line tool on Windows 11, and it works as a replacement for the PowerShell and Command Prompt.

The software has many improvements, and it can run various shell interfaces side by side, so you won’t have to learn to use a new tool from scratch.

Thanks to this feature, there’s no need to start Command Prompt, PowerShell, or any other shell individually since you can run them all from a single application.

Windows Terminal can run multiple shell interfaces, therefore many users are wondering is it possible to set a default command-line shell.

We’re happy to inform you that this is one of the features that the Terminal supports, and in this guide, we’re going to show you how to easily change the default Terminal in Windows 11.

Is Windows Terminal a new application?

Windows Terminal is a modern terminal app for Windows that works with various shells such as Command Prompt, PowerShell, and Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Do keep in mind that Windows Terminal isn’t a new application. It was released in 2019 and it is available for download from the Microsoft Store for Windows 10.

You can easily install Windows Terminal when using Windows 10 yet with Windows 11, the Terminal is now the default command-line application, so there’s no need to download and install it separately.

Are Command Prompt and Windows PowerShell still available in Windows 11?

Yes, Command Prompt and Windows PowerShell are available in Windows 11, and Windows Terminal can run both of them or any other installed shell interface.

If you want to use PowerShell or Command Prompt instead of Windows Terminal, you can just search for them and open the app the same way you did on previous versions of Windows.

How can I change the default Terminal in Windows 11?

1. Change the Terminal settings

  1. Click the Search icon in the Taskbar.
  2. Now type Windows Terminal and select Windows Terminal from the list of results.
  3. Click the down arrow next to the Open tab and choose Settings from the menu.
  4. Now select the desired Default profile and click Save.

After doing that, your default command-line shell will be changed, and each time you start the Terminal, the selected application will be used to process your commands.

2. Change the Command Prompt or PowerShell settings

  1. Open Command Prompt (or PowerShell). You can do that by opening Search, typing command prompt, and choosing Command Prompt from the list of results.
  2. Right-click the title bar and choose Defaults.
  3. Navigate to the Terminal tab and change the Default Terminal Application. Click OK to save the changes.

If you have issues starting PowerShell, be sure to check our Windows PowerShell has stopped working guide to see how to fix them properly.

What are Windows Terminal features?

Windows Terminal has many unique features, and the first one that you’ll notice is the multi-tab interface allowing you to have several tabs open.

This is crucial because the Terminal works with multiple shells, so you can take advantage of both Command Prompt and PowerShell from a single application.

Customization features are plentiful and you can rename tabs, give them different colors to distinguish them better or change the color scheme of the entire application.

Lastly, Windows Terminal has a dedicated search feature allowing you to easily find any output.

How can I open Windows Terminal?

1. Use the Win + X menu

  1. Press Windows Key + X.
  2. Now select Windows Terminal from the list.

2. Use the Run dialog

  1. Press Windows Key + R.
  2. Now type wt and press Enter.

3. Use the context menu

  1. Right-click any open directory.
  2. Now choose Open in Windows Terminal from the menu.

Keep in mind that this method will open the Terminal in that directory and not in the default one.

4. Use Search

  1. Press Windows Key + S.
  2. Enter Windows Terminal and select Windows Terminal from the list of results.

The Terminal is a great command-line tool, and changing the default Terminal in Windows 11 is simple and can be performed in a matter of seconds.

By default, the Terminal is set to run PowerShell, and from it, you should be able to run most commands, but if you need to switch your default shell, you are able to do it with the instructions from our guide.

Things aren’t at all complicated if you’re a Mac user either. You can quickly open a file from Mac Terminal to make commands shorter and easier to remember.

Are you using the new command line in Windows 11 as well? Let us know in the comments section below what you think of it.

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