Console2 + Powershell: A Better Windows Command Prompt

Windows has always had a ponderous command-line experience. And no wonder, because for the longest time, Microsoft developed Windows to be GUI-first. As a result, the terminal shell in Windows was always something of an afterthought (until Windows PowerShell happened). While PowerShell is a big improvement by virtue of its .NET roots and UNIX-inspired command set, the UI still suffers greatly from strange issues of old, e.g. fixed window size and screwed copy-paste.

Fortunately, free software comes to the rescue. Console2 is a software project hosted on SourceForge and describes itself as (citing their project page):

Console is a Windows console window enhancement. Console features include: multiple tabs, text editor-like text selection, different background types, alpha and color-key transparency, configurable font, different window styles

Yeah, Console2 adds everything Command Prompt lacks, and it gets better, because we can configure it to use PowerShell as its shell to create the ultimate Windows command-line environment.

Here’s how.

Download & Install Console2

Get it from its project page at SourceForge, here.

(optional) Download Windows PowerShell

If Windows Update hasn’t already installed PowerShell on your system, you might want to fire up Windows Update manually and enable it. If you’re running Windows XP, you can get it manually.

Configure Console2 to use PowerShell

Open up a Console2 instance and open the settings dialog via Edit > Settings.

Use the browse button next to the Shell field to select powershell.exe from its installation directory. On my system (a Windows XP machine, issued by work..), I used a system variable to reference the PS executable, like so:

%SystemRoot%\system32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\powershell.exe 

Console Settings

Hit OK.

I’ve been using this setup for a couple of months now and I’m extremely satisfied with it. The combination of PowerShell and the features Console2 adds, I’m in CLI Nirvana whenever I need to use it.

That’s all folks!

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