I installed Cygwin, to be disappointed that bash by default runs within "cmd.exe". I googled around and found Console2. It's not a particularly well-designed application, as doing adjustments is slightly painful, although most of the time it works well.

I am still looking for a better way to survive in a Windows environment as even Console 2 occasionally crashes e.g. when trying to resize my terminal when editing in vim and there are plenty of other annoyances that I'm really not satisfied with.

Any ideas? I tried using Cygwin via PuTTY and that was an equally bad user experience.

10 Answers 10


MinTTY - here.

It makes Cygwin entirely usable on Windows. I would be lost without it. Based on the original PuTTY code, but integrates straight into Cygwin (and in fact, is bundled with Cygwin).

Start it with,

C:\cygwin\bin\mintty.exe -

Or where-ever you installed it. The '-' is key.

There are a few other useful additions for Cygwin as well, one being apt-cyg. It's not perfect, but it's better than running setup.exe every time you remember you're missing a package.

Even with Cygwin/X, I still use MinTTY as my primary terminal (I hate the scroll bars on xterm).

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  • Oh, how do I make it start in my home directory? I start mintty and it starts in /usr/bin and it doesn't even have a PATH variable. Thanks :) – T.K. Aug 11 '11 at 7:34
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    Invoke it with a dash (i.e. '-') as its argument. If you've installed it through Cygwin's setup.exe, there should be a mintty start menu entry in the Cygwin folder that already does that. – ak2 Aug 11 '11 at 8:27
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    Yeh I was just adding the - to the answer. – EightBitTony Aug 11 '11 at 8:32
  • Thanks guys. I am using MinTTY now and I'm very happy with it. – T.K. Aug 12 '11 at 9:31

Reviving an old thread; however, I stumbled across this while doing my own search. So rather than make a new thread - Here's what I found:


The core of Babun consists of a pre-configured Cygwin. Cygwin is a great tool, but there’s a lot of quirks and tricks that makes you lose a lot of time to make it actually 'usable'. Not only does babun solve most of these problems, but also contains a lot of vital packages, so that you can be productive from the very first minute.

It installs quickly and sets up the environment for you, which is great, and installs pact (a package manager similar to yum / apt-get)

Uses mintty as the console.

Overall, I'd say it's a great project and the more people that use it, the better it will become.

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  • 32bit only though – graywolf Apr 13 '16 at 13:57
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    Discontinued just two years on, while Cygwin goes on strong. Just goes to show the importance of depending only on software that's been tried and attested to for years. – Prometheus Sep 28 '19 at 22:58

Install Cygwin/X and use xterm. (And then you'll probably either want their version of gvim or the Windows native one.)

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Alternatively, you can try AndLinux and work with a real terminal.

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  • That actually looks interesting. Will look into it. – T.K. Aug 11 '11 at 7:20
  • Limited to Windows versions: 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, or 7 and 32-bit only. – Sean Mickey Apr 5 '18 at 10:22

I added C:\cygwin\bin (the Cygwin installation path) to the System environment variable: Path. It solves two problems:

  1. You need not cd to a particular folder (go to a folder, press <alt+d>, type cmd, and press <enter>)
  2. Use Cygwin Terminal as the default cmd in Windows
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I realize this is very old, but since things have changed, ConEmu is the best in my opinion. It lets me run all variety of tabbed shells with massive customization, hot keys, etc. My primary use case is a series of named Cygwin zsh instances.


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I've been using Poderosa for a long time.

It works beautifully with Cygwin.

It has a dedicated button to launch a Cygwin terminal, while being a capable terminal itself. It's a tabbed terminal, has the ability to send commands to all your tabs (using a plugin), display profiles (text/background color) per session, copy-by-select, etc.

I mainly use it to test awk/sed scripts on Cygwin before running it on the server.

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  • Could you expand this a little please? Perhaps explain what features make this useful? As it stands, this is more of a comment than an answer. – terdon Feb 9 '16 at 9:53

To answer the wider question about surviving on a Windows box coming from a Linux world, I'd like to recommend MobaXterm from Mobatek. It's a self-contained Windows application, works on Windows 7 & 8, and includes a plugin for Cygwin. You get the nice wide console that you don't get from the pre-packaged Windows cmd.exe. You can easily create session shells to Linux boxes from your windows machine. It's got X server capabilities so you can launch Linux apps and have them served up locally on the Windows box.

My primary machine at work is (unfortunately) Windows. But, I'm able to quite easily access and work with remote Linux boxes using my favorite GUI interfaces -- all popping up quite nicely in Windows. Quick examples of things I run include gtkterm, gedit, and Eclipse.

I have no affiliation with the company. Just a very satisfied customer who simply loves how easy it is to install and use. Download the standalone version, run the executable, and you'll be going in no time. Seriously. The Home Edition works just as well as the Pro Edition with some session count limitations that I honestly never even ran into before I became a paying customer.

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Personally I don't think there is a great solution on Windows unfortunately. I've opted to install the gvim windows package and use that for most of my editing (it adds a nice option in your right click menu to open with Vim).

As for CLI, you can keep using bash if you'd like. Other options include Windows PowerShell. I haven't bothered to learn it, but I've heard its pretty good.

The last solution is to run a VM in VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation. May not be ideal, but it lets you get Linux and edit/manipulate files from Windows via SMB Share or Shared Folders.

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  • The OP is going to have to weather this somehow and there ARE things to be suggested to improve the situation even if you don't personally think there are "great" ones. – Caleb Aug 9 '11 at 17:24

rxvt is nice.

From my blog (currently down, thanks Google cache!):

My buddy Bill told me there is now a Cygwin command xhere and a setup command chere that will do all the Registry insertions for you. So launch Cygwin in the default crappy shell (with admin privs) and you can type:

chere -i -af -t rxvt -o "-bg black -fg white -sr -sl 1000 -fn \"FixedSys\" -ls" -s bash -e "Bash prompt here"

You can change -af to -cf for current user only if you don't have admin on the machine.

Because he was kind enough to give it to me, I will give you his command which seriously hurts my eyes. :) I also prefer the default size and expand it if needed.

chere -i -af -t rxvt -o "-ls -sr -sl 1000 -bg grey70 -fg black -geometry 120x65+300+15 -fn 10x16 -title Bash" -s bash -e "Bash prompt here"

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