Setting Windows Terminal as Default External Terminal in Visual Studio Code

Mar 24, 2020 reading time 5 minutes

Setting Windows Terminal as Default External Terminal in Visual Studio Code

In this blog post I want to write down how you can set the new windows Terminal as the default external console when working with VSCode.

I like to have the console in an external window and NOT inside my vscode instance so I often use the combination Ctrl + Shift + C to start an external console window at the folder I am currently with my vscode instance.

What bothered me was: I love the new Windows Terminal but I wanted it to start as default when I use my preferred combination on my keyboard.

So here is how I configured it:


To prepare VSCode open an instance and press Ctrl + , to enter the settings. Set the "terminal.external.windowsExec" property to the path to the file wt.exe.

"terminal.external.windowsExec": "C:\\Users\\Fabian\\AppData\\Local\\Microsoft\\WindowsApps\\wt.exe",

This is of course my local PC, your path may differ.

Windows Terminal

To let the terminal open up at the path you are at currently open up the profiles.json file of your Windows Terminal. You can access it opening up a Windows Terminal Instance and Press Ctrl + , again.

In there are the profiles which are currently active. You can now put the "startingDirectory": "%__CD__%" at the profiles you want to edit the startup directory.

I got that hint from Rick Strahl’s Blog ([]. Thanks man!

// To view the default settings, hold "alt" while clicking on the "Settings" button.
// For documentation on these settings, see:

  "$schema": "",

  "defaultProfile": "{61c54bbd-c2c6-5271-96e7-009a87ff44bf}",

  "profiles": [{
      // Make changes here to the powershell.exe profile
      "guid": "{61c54bbd-c2c6-5271-96e7-009a87ff44bf}",
      "name": "Windows PowerShell",
      "commandline": "powershell.exe",
      "hidden": false,
      "startingDirectory": "%__CD__%" // <--- Add this line!
    // ...

  // ...

Of course you should add it to all the profiles/consoles you want to.

And that is it. After restarting VSCode pressing Ctrl + Shift + C opens up a Windows Terminal (with Powershell in my case) instead of the normal console.

Hope this helps