How to Set the Default Terminal Application in Windows 11

The Windows Terminal becomes the default terminal. This means, all command line applications, such as Command Prompt and PowerShell, will open in Windows Terminal automatically. This article tells you how to change the default terminal to Windows Console Host or revert to Windows Terminal as the default host.

Set the default Terminal app in Windows 11

You can set the default terminal app using different methods.

Option 1: Using Settings

  1. Open Settings, and click Privacy & Security.
  2. Click “For developers”, and set the default terminal.

    set default terminal settings

    Here are the options:

    • Let Windows decide
    • Windows Console Host
    • Windows Terminal

    set default terminal settings - console host

  3. To revert to pre-Windows 11 behavior, set it to “Windows Console Host” so that the classic Command Prompt window opens when you run a console app.

Option 2: Using Windows Terminal settings

  1. Launch Windows Terminal and access Settings (Win + ,) by clicking on the chevron and clicking Settings.

    set default terminal settings - Windows Terminal settings

  2. In the Settings window, set the default terminal application.

    You get the same three options when you click on the list box.

    • Let Windows decide
    • Windows Console Host
    • Windows Terminal

    set default terminal settings - Windows Terminal settings

  3. Once done, click Save and close Windows Terminal.

Option 3: Using the Registry or Group Policies.

Here are the registry keys that apply to Windows 11 22H2 and higher.

Registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Console\%%Startup
Registry values DelegationConsole


Data type REG_SZ containing a GUID

The following values are offered for the selection of the default console host.

Console host Values
Automatic selection (Windows Terminal, if available) DelegationConsole




Windows Console Host (legacy) DelegationConsole




Windows Terminal DelegationConsole




Command Prompt window opens even though Windows Terminal is the default terminal?

Even after setting Windows Terminal as the default command host, your console applications (or running cmd.exe manually) may open the legacy Windows Console Host Command Prompt window instead of the Windows Terminal.

This happens because the “Use legacy console…” option may have been enabled in Command Prompt settings. To disable the legacy console option, do the following:

  1. Open a Command Prompt window.
  2. Right-click on the title bar and click Properties.
  3. Uncheck “Use legacy console (requires relaunch, affects all consoles)
    command prompt legacy mode enable or disable
  4. Click OK.

That’s it. Running a console application (or launching cmd.exe manually) should launch Windows Terminal if Windows Terminal is set as the default host.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

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