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Cmder - Making the most of the Command Line Interface

March 30, 2019

I learned to use a computer way back in 1995 on a Windows 3.1 PC. At that time, Windows was a visual environment on top of MS-DOS — the command-line driven operating system. As a kid, I recited some of the commands to navigate around and start Windows. Later, Windows gave me less and less of a reason to dig into the ugly Command Prompt, as everything could be done with the GUI. CLI was ready to be forgotten as an ancient relic of the past.

Until recently. It’s 2019 and command line is cool again!

Linux developers have been used to the CLI for a long time now. For us Windows devs, the resurgence of JavaScript and the renaissance of .NET Core and VS Code is bringing all the more reason to embrace CLI again. Command Line interface is something that today’s developers spend a lot of time in.

But there is a problem — Despite Microsoft’s best efforts, the Windows Command Prompt is very limiting and unpleasant to use!

Enter Cmder

Cmder is a compilation of utilities build on top of a Console Emulator aptly named ConEmu.

The homepage explains why they created it —

Cmder 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, looking sexy from the start.

It’s a console, what’s so great about it?

Interface

Multi-tab support

You can open up consoles in new tabs, just like a browser. And as you’d expect, it lets you switch tabs by Ctrl + Tab and Ctrl + Shift + Tab.

Multi-terminal support

ConEmu supports a wide variety of terminals — cmd.exe, Powershell, bash, WSL to name a few.

Git Bash included

Cmder comes bundled with Linux bash environment with Git and Unix utilities such as ls and cat preloaded. These can come really handy.

Portablity

This is as easy as copy-paste. You can even run it from a USB stick.

Full Theme Customization

ComEmu can be themed and comes with a lot of predefined themes. You can also change each color as per liking. You can also set the winow transparent or translucent. Color themes

Shortcut customization

You get full control to set which shortcuts do what. Keyboard Shortcuts

Adding new console applications to be opened via new tab

Adding new terminals is possible through Tasks. A task can be chosen to run when you choose to open a new tab. e.g. I have set up this task bash:Ubuntu to run the WSL Ubuntu 18.04 that I downloaded from Windows Store. Added the icon and command to start (which navigates to the ubuntu1804.exe) You can set up any terminal that supports emulation like this. New Task

Now, you can click the + icon to get the new tab dialog, select the task added, and Start console. New Tab Dialog

And now Ubuntu from WSL is working in Cmder. Ubuntu1804

Awesome! How can I get this?

Installing this is very easy.

Just visit https://cmder.net/ and Download the full version. Unzip the contents to a folder on the machine.

Go to the System Properties > Environment Variables…

Search for Env Vars

Environment Variables Dialog

Select Path user variable and click Edit… Environment Variables Dialog

Add New path and select or copy the extracted location of cmder. Environment Variables Dialog

OK.

Go to the extracted location where cmder is present, right click cmder.exe and pin it to Start or Taskbar for easy access.

How to update?

Cmder can automatically update ConEmu as relaeses become available. To edit this setting, go to Settings ( Win + Alt + P ) > General > Update. Update


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Written by
Vibhav Churi