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Cmder vs Windows Terminal: What are the differences?

Cmder and Windows Terminal are both popular console emulators for Windows, offering enhanced command-line experiences with features like multiple tabs, customizable themes, and modern interfaces. Let's explore the key differences between them.

  1. User Interface Customization: Cmder provides a highly customizable user interface, allowing users to change the fonts, colors, and other visual aspects of the console. It also supports multiple tabs and panes, making it convenient to work with multiple command-line sessions simultaneously. In contrast, Windows Terminal offers even more extensive customization options, including the ability to use different themes, configure keyboard shortcuts, and create multiple profiles with their own settings.

  2. Compatibility and Integration: While Cmder runs on Windows, it is not specifically designed to integrate seamlessly with other command-line tools or systems. On the other hand, Windows Terminal is an official Microsoft product that is built with native support for PowerShell, Azure Cloud Shell, Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), and other Microsoft technologies. This integration makes it easier to switch between different CLIs and perform tasks across various environments.

  3. Multiple Operating System Support: Cmder is primarily targeted towards Windows and doesn't have native support for other operating systems. On the contrary, Windows Terminal aims to provide a unified terminal experience across different platforms. It is available for Windows 10, Windows Server 2019, and can also be installed on Linux distributions through the Microsoft Store or by building from source.

  4. Modern Features and Support: While Cmder is a capable console emulator, it is built using the ConEmu project, which hasn't seen active development since mid-2018. Comparatively, Windows Terminal is actively maintained by Microsoft, ensuring regular updates, bug fixes, and new feature implementations. It takes advantage of modern Windows APIs and technologies to provide a more robust and efficient terminal experience.

  5. GPU Acceleration and Visual Effects: Windows Terminal leverages hardware acceleration and GPU rendering to provide a more responsive and visually appealing experience. This includes features like animated transitions, transparent backgrounds, and improved font rendering. Cmder, being based on ConEmu, doesn't natively support these visual enhancements.

  6. Default Shell Selection: Cmder is bundled with a default shell, which is usually the command prompt (cmd.exe) or PowerShell. While it is possible to configure Cmder to use different shells, it requires additional customization. In contrast, Windows Terminal allows users to choose the default shell from the start, making it easier to switch between different CLIs without any extra configuration.

In summary, Cmder provides a customizable console experience with features like tabbed interface, multiple shell options, and extensive customization options. On the other hand, Windows Terminal is a modern terminal application from Microsoft that integrates various command-line tools and supports multiple tabs and panes, catering to developers' needs for a versatile command-line environment.

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Pros of Cmder
Pros of Windows Terminal
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      Add almost any cli tool using profiles
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      Can be highly customized by using terminal preview
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    What is Cmder?

    It is a software package created out of pure frustration over the absence of nice console emulators on Windows. It is based on amazing software, and spiced up with the Monokai color scheme and a custom prompt layout.

    What is Windows Terminal?

    A new, modern, feature-rich, productive terminal application for command-line users. It includes many of the features most frequently requested by the Windows command-line community.

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