Microsoft announced during the Build developer conference in May that it was rethinking Windows 10's command line tool. The new utility, which the company unimaginatively dubbed the Windows Terminal, was today released as a "very early preview" on the Microsoft Store.
The new app features an updated interface with support for custom themes, multiple tabs, and numerous other personalization options. Because text is such a core part of the app, Microsoft also included GPU-accelerated text rendering as well as support for multiple fonts and emoji. (Because if there's anything command line users need in a utility it's the ability to render the "100" emoji in all its crimson glory.)
Windows Terminal won't immediately replace Command Prompt. Microsoft told us at Build that it was considering options for making Windows Terminal the new default command line tool, but for now, the company is maintaining the status quo with Command Prompt. That's partly for compatibility reasons, but it likely stems from the fact that Windows Terminal isn't exactly ready to make a grand debut.
Microsoft said in the Store description: "This very early preview release includes many usability issues, most notably the lack of support for assistive technology. Much of the internal work to support this is complete and it’s our top priority to support assistive technology very soon." We suspect that Windows Terminal might not have even been released yet if it wasn't given a mid-June launch date at Build.
Windows Terminal is being developed as an open source project. Interested users can follow the app's progress on GitHub or, if they like, contribute to its development themselves. Microsoft hasn't yet revealed when it plans to release a non-preview version of the program.