In this article I will tell how to make work with command prompt on Windows 10 better with Windows Subsystem for Linux, Hyper terminal, oh-my-zsh framework for zsh and zsh-syntax-highlighting plugin.

For this article you need to have Windows 10 x64 Version 1607 Build 14393 or higher and installed Node.js.

Install Windows Subsystem for Linux

If you have installed Windows 10 Build Less Than 16215:

First, you need to install Windows Subsystem for Linux. Go to Settings -> Update and Security -> For developers and change Sideload apps setting to Developer mode

DEVELOPER_MODE

Next open command prompt and go to OptionalFeatures.exe and enable Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta) then reboot your PC. After rebooting you need to open command prompt and use bash command. Then begin automatic downloading and installation of Linux Subsystem.

In the next time when you need to use bash shell open command prompt and use bash command.

If you have installed Windows 10 Version 1709 (Fall Creators Update) Build 16215 or Higher:

Go to Settings -> Update and Security -> For developers and change Sideload apps setting to Developer mode.

Open command prompt and go to OptionalFeatures.exe and enable Windows Subsystem for Linux then reboot your PC.

Since Fall Creators Update we need to install Windows Subsystem for Linux from Windows Store.

For now (21 October 2017) we have three Linux distributions in Windows Store to choose from:

I recommend to install Ubuntu to this article.

Then after installing Ubuntu and rebooting PC you can run it with bash or ubuntu commands in command prompt.

In more detail, this parts is described in Installation Guide on the Microsoft Official Website.

Install Hyper Terminal

Go to official hyper terminal website and download latest version of terminal for Windows.

Install cURL and Git

Go to bash terminal installed above and use following commands:

  • Install cURL:
sudo apt-get install curl
  • Install Git:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:git-core/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install git

Install Zsh

To install Zsh use following command:

sudo apt-get install zsh

Install Oh My Zsh

Official GitHub repository of oh-my-zsh project https://github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh

To install oh-my-zsh go to bash terminal and use following command:

curl -L https://raw.githubusercontent.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/master/tools/install.sh | bash

and wait until the installation is completed.

Configure and Run Oh My Zsh

Now each time when you need to use bash shell and zsh you need go to command prompt, use bash (or ubuntu) command and then use zsh command.

Let’s simplify it.

If you have installed Windows 10 Build Less Than 16215:

Open bash terminal using bash command and use nano ~/.bashrc to open .bashrc config file.

Warning: Do not change Linux files using Windows apps and tools

In start of that file add following command:

bash -c zsh

Example: .bashrc file on gist

Note that in this time if you will try to use “default” command chsh -s /bin/zsh in bash shell terminal it will not run zsh as default bash shell environment.

Look at this comment of Ben Hillis @benhillis - https://github.com/Microsoft/BashOnWindows/issues/1724#issuecomment-282420193

GITHUB_COMMENT_1

Now each time when you will use bash in command prompt then zsh will start automatically instead of bash shell.

If you have installed Windows 10 Version 1709 (Fall Creators Update) Build 16215 or Higher:

Since Windows 10 Fall Creators Update you can run WSL with ubuntu command and chsh command will works.

https://github.com/Microsoft/BashOnWindows/issues/2199#issuecomment-334453644

GITHUB_COMMENT_2

So open ubuntu command in command prompt and use following command:

chsh -s /usr/bin/zsh

Each time when you will run ubuntu command then zsh will runs automatically as the default shell environment.

Note that this still will not work if you will run the bash command.

Configure and Run Hyper Terminal

If you have installed Windows 10 Build Less Than 16215:

After you installed Hyper Terminal open %USERPROFILE%/.hyper.js config file and replace line:

shell: '',

with

shell: 'C:\\Windows\\System32\\bash.exe',

Now each time when you will open hyper terminal it’s will be use zsh as default shell environment.

If you have installed Windows 10 Version 1709 (Fall Creators Update) Build 16215 or Higher:

After you installed Hyper Terminal open %USERPROFILE%/.hyper.js config file and replace lines:

shell: '',

and:

shellArgs: ['--login'],

with:

shell: 'C:\\Windows\\System32\\cmd.exe',

and:

shellArgs: ['--login', '-i', '/c wsl'],

respectively.


Short Q&A:

  • Question:

Why not just use path to ubuntu.exe file in hyper.is config?

  • Answer:

You can just use ubuntu.exe or full path to ubuntu.exe without any shell arguments:

shell: 'ubuntu.exe',
shellArgs: [],

or

shell: 'C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps\ubuntu.exe',
shellArgs: [],

but in this case your hyper terminal will opens only in Ubuntu home directory.

Links to related issues about this:

Solution: we can use cmd.exe in config and just run wsl as a command line argument. That’s works.

Also, note that in this case we are running wsl.exe not ubuntu.exe and this running Ubuntu because Ubuntu is current default “WSL OS”. For example if you will install openSUSE from Windows Store and set as default then wsl.exe will run openSUSE.

To understand what I mean, I recommend to reading article: Manage multiple Linux Distributions in WSL.

  • There is a second way to solve:

Also you can just use wsl.exe without any shell arguments:

shell: 'wsl.exe',
shellArgs: [],

And that’s works too.


Without installed themes for hyper this will looks like this:

DEFAULT_HYPER

Themes and other plugins for Hyper Terminal you can find here https://github.com/bnb/awesome-hyper.

I use hyper-material-theme theme by Mattia Astorino @equinusocio.

MATERIAL_HYPER

Change Oh My Zsh Theme

List of Oh My Zsh themes you can find here https://github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/wiki/Themes

By default oh-my-zsh use robbyrussell (like on screen above). If you want to change theme open ~/.zshrc config file by use following command in terminal:

nano ~/.zshrc

and change default “robbyrussell” value of ZSH_THEME variable to another theme name that you need to enable.

Known Issue: Hot key Ctrl + X in Hyper Terminal Does not Work. Instead of this use Shift + Ctrl + X. Link to Related GitHub Issue https://github.com/zeit/hyper/issues/1069

Known Issues for Windows Subsystem for Linux here https://github.com/Microsoft/BashOnWindows

Install zsh-syntax-highlighting plugin

Official GitHub repository of project https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting

This plugin provides syntax highlighting in terminal like in Fish shell.

Open terminal and download zsh-syntax-highlighting plugin to .oh-my-zsh plugins directory using git:

git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting.git ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-~/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/plugins/zsh-syntax-highlighting

If $ZSH_CUSTOM variable exist and contains value (full path to /.oh-my-zsh/custom in this case) use its value, otherwise use ~/.oh-my-zsh/custom.

About :- (colon dash) you can read in this topic on stackoverflow: Usage of :- (colon dash) in bash.

Next to activate this plugin open ~/.zshrc config file using nano ~/.zshrc and find the following text:

# Which plugins would you like to load? (plugins can be found in ~/.oh-my-zsh/plugins/*)
# Custom plugins may be added to ~/.oh-my-zsh/custom/plugins/
# Example format: plugins=(rails git textmate ruby lighthouse)
# Add wisely, as too many plugins slow down shell startup.
plugins=(git)

Here you need to add zsh-syntax-highlighting to plugins list. For that just replace

plugins=(git)

with

plugins=(git zsh-syntax-highlighting)

and save changes.

Finally you need to take changes into account. For that use follow command:

source ~/.zshrc

And now after restart hyper terminal you can see result. Screen:

ZSH_SHELL_HIGHLIGHTING


Mikhail

I am Mikhail Evdokimov, a Web Developer and Perfectionist from Russia, Far East, Vladivostok. Enthusiast performance, responsive design and usability, always looking for the best project and good coffee. Love JavaScript and JavaScript Full Stack Development. MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, NodeJS. Also I can use a few Ruby and Lua for Corona SDK. In my blog, I plan to write not only about development but also about my other hobbies and interests.