Yes, terminal emulators are still relevant to this date. There was a time when emulators were just used for controlling text commands. However, the ones used in recent times are more advanced in capabilities. While developers use terminal emulators to get shell access to the computer, programmers use it for basic programs for a more beneficial approach with the command line interface.
Having said that, Windows has had its own terminal emulator (Command Prompt) for long, but if you are looking for something more efficient, and with more features, there are many third-party terminal emulators to choose from. Here’s a rundown of some of the best terminal emulators for Windows that we think will suit your requirements.
Table of Contents
PuTTY is a well-known free and open-source SSH and telnet client for Windows that allows you to connect with a remote computer and even control it. Better said, it’s a terminal emulator for Windows that also works as a client program for rlogin network protocols. With the ability to control remote computers over a network, it also serves as a serial console and as a network file transfer program.
- Specifically designed for SSH, Telnet, and rlogin, which allows you to safely run commands from your host machine.
- It offers clients like PSCP, PSFTP, and PuTTYtel for specific tasks.
- It comes with a command-line interface called Plink at the back-end of PuTTY.
- Features Pageant, which is an SSH verification agent for PuTTY, Plink, and PSCP.
- It offers key generation tools like PuTTYgen, an RSA and DSA.
PuTTY is complete software for network administrators and serves the purpose well as your main terminal emulator. Moreover, it’s relatively cheaper and works with all major platforms.
Cmder is a great command-line tool that works as a perfect substitute for Windows emulators. This free app is available in both a mini version (6MB) and a full version (40MB).
- It is a portable software so you may easily carry it on a USB drive.
- It features an attractive user interface.
- Suits your requirement especially if you work on the command line and the Visual Studio concurrently.
Cmder is perfect for those who are already on Git and among the GitHub community.
MobaXterm is yet another great addition to the list that’s loaded with a lot of functions perfectly suited for programmers, IT admins, and anyone else who wants an easier solution to their remote tasks.
- It offers all the critical remote network tools like the SSH, VNC, etc., and Unix commands such as, cat, rsync, and so on, for Windows.
- Lets you launch remote sessions with a choice of selection from SSH, Telnet, Rlogin, RDP, VNC, XDMCP, FTP, SFTP or Serial session.
- a drag-and-drop facility on the graphical SFTP browser.
- Offers X11-forwarding facility to secure your network.
- Equipped with the latest features based on X.org.
Multi-execution on different servers, ability to start network daemons, embedded tools, option to work on remote Solaris desktop, are among its other major features.
Price: Free version available; pricing starts from $69.
A Telnet and SSH client for Windows, Absolute Telnet is known for creating direct connections with COM ports, SSH, and VT100 emulators. It also supports SFTP file transfers making it perfect for programmers, developers, and administrators.
- Equipped with firewall option and offers support for SOVKS proxy.
- Features industry-standard SSH protocols to provide a secure environment for the terminal session data.
- It comes with a tabbed interface for easy access.
Among its other features are, printing and logging functions, easy access with just one right-click, and no need for starting an external file transfer application.
Price: Priced at $49.95.
If you are looking for professional software, ZOC Emulator can well be your answer. This reliable and sophisticated software helps you connect to hosts and mainframes using telnet, secure shell, and other such communication methods.
- Option for extensive logging, entire keyboard mapping, and scrollback.
- Facilities like automatic actions, macro recording, and customized buttons.
- Highly customizable and attractive user interface with tabbed sessions.
- From simple VT100 to IBMTN3270, it features a wide range of emulations.
- Supports SSH, Telnet, Modem, Serial Cable, and more for communication.
- Provides support for SCP, Zmodem, Xmodem, and more for File Transfer.
ZOC emulator is compatible with all major platforms and supports more than 100 commands.
Price: Free 30-day trial available; upgrade available at $79.99.
ConEmu is among the most useful, fast and trustworthy terminal emulators that offer a detailed window for you to run a console application that may have been designed for WinAPI or UnixPTY. So, you can basically run applications like cmd, Powershell, or Cygwin and msys.
- Tabbed interface with an ability to showcase plenty of consoles and GUI applications.
- It can be used with other console applications and with other GUI tools.
- Advanced console window that enables you to run one of your chose Shells.
- Customizable emulator with a detailed guide on how to go about it.
This free terminal emulator is best suited for the Far Manager as a shell replacement.
It’s a console extension for Windows 10 that’s designed for easy interaction and direct access. Although simple, it’s full command-line efficient.
- Sports a simple design that hides a considerable level of dynamism and customization.
- Ability to integrate with all major shells.
- Features multiple tabs, a number of background themes, and window styles.
- It allows you to customize fonts, texts, colors, and transparency.
With AlphaCom you get a powerful multi-session terminal emulation for Windows. It supports SSH, Telnet, LPD, high volume printing, file transfer, and much more.
- Powerful font sizing, free LPD, and support for pass-through printing.
- Modem connections work with Linux, ANSI, IBM3151, Wyse 50/50+, Wyse 60, SCO ANSI, VT52, VT100, VT102, VT220 emulation.
- It also supports setting international character, OEM readiness, multiprotocol file transfer, integration with Web Browser, and more.
- Equipped with network troubleshooting tools, adaptable settings for IT-based deployments, ActiveX developer toolkit, and commercial assistance.
AlphaCom also supports functions like highlighting and enabling URLs, online assistance, Ping, Finger, and more.
Price: F330-day free trial available; upgrade priced at $25.
An extremely configurable terminal emulator, Terminus is a perfect alternative to Windows native terminal, or to PuTTY, iTerm, or PowerShell.
- Offers different color, themes, and entirely customizable shortcuts.
- Comes equipped with split panes, recognizes your tabs, built-in SSH client and connection manager.
- Supports Cmder, WSL, PowerShell, CMD, CygWin, and Git-Bash.
- Makes easy pathway for fast-flowing outputs.
- Complete support for Unicode and double-width characters.
It has an appropriate shell experience on Windows along with tab completion. Moreover, it comes with a lot of plugins and themes.
Mintty is a lightweight and compact application that serves as a terminal emulator for Cygwin on your system and a great alternative for PuTTY. The software is specially designed for professionals like coders, programmers, and developers.
- Sports a built-in Windows user interface and can independently run on the target computer (without a display server).
- Works seamlessly with Xterm compared to terminal emulation and Windows-based components of PuTTY.
- Supports 256 colors and True-Colour.
- Offers support for complete Unicode, detailed character encoding, and wide character handling.
- Provides support for character attributes (italic, underlining styles and colors, strikeout, etc.)
- Offers bidirectional rendering and adaptable controls for bidi.
Apart from offering alternative and secondary fonts, Mintty also provides support for Image, Sixel, Emoji.
It’s a Windows shell that has the ability to run various command-line programs. This shell eliminates the need of Cygwin and rather makes the entire shell running process much easier.
- Easy to use and fully compatible with Unix.
- Pre-designed Cygwin with lots of features, and git and shell.
- Offers noiseless command-line installer with no admin permission required.
- Automatically gets updated.
- Comes with an advanced packet manager called “pact”, built-in oh-my-zosh, and context menu entry for “Open menu here”.
- Sports a plugin-based environment.
Moreover, the console is XTerm compatible and provides support for HTTP(s) proxy.
If you have heard of HyperTerminal, HyperACCESS is the advanced version of the same. It’s a highly customizable version and comes loaded with features like terminal emulators, powerful scripting capabilities, customization, and more. Best of all, this program helps you to even automate tasks completed by the terminal emulator.
- Plenty of additional terminal emulators and file transfer protocols.
- Option to record and playback logons and continuing steps using VBS.
- It allows you to restate keys and include your own buttons to the toolbar using text or bitmap labels.
- Automates interactions using C#, C++, VBS, Visual Basic, and so on.
- The facility of scripting service.
HyperACCESS works with all major Windows versions (Vista, 7, 8, and 10). Moreover, it also has the capability of connecting with SSH protocol.
Price: 15-day free trial available; upgrade version priced at $159.99.
KiTTY is a GPU based terminal emulator for Windows that’s fast and comes loaded with features. It’s a similar version as PuTTY and is one of the best Telnet and SSH clients globally.
- Distributes rendering to the GPU to reduce the system burden and offers threaded rendering to lower input suspension.
- Equipped with all the latest terminal functions such as focus tracking, Unicode, graphics, bracketed paste, true-color, and so on.
- Provides support for tiling of various terminal windows parallel to each other in different formats, and for startup sessions
- Easily controllable from scripts or the shell prompt.
- Equipped with a structure for Kittens, which are tiny terminal programs used to increase Kitty’s functionality.
- Lets you open the scrollback buffer in a new window.
With support for multiple copy/paste buffers and cross-platform compatibility, KiTTY may be just the terminal emulator for Windows you are looking for.
Kermit 95 is a powerful protocol for computer file management or transfer with a massive collection of software programs that get installed on a wide range of platforms. Apart from file transfer, it also has the ability to create a network, connection (dialed/serial-port), along with other capabilities like terminal emulation, character-set conversion, and script programming.
- Supports internet and serial communications for Microsoft Windows 95, 98, ME, NT (4.0 and above), 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, 7, IBM OS/2, and also Embedded Standard.
- It offers text-based terminal connections to Unix, VMS, and many other hosts.
- Option to automate interactions and file transfers using an integrated scripting language, free of platform and transport.
- Easy graphical setup for all your connections.
- Integrated, secure, scriptable command-line clients.
- The integrated terminal emulator supports over 40 other terminal emulators.
Kermit 95 is a feature-packed software with any other capabilities like FTP, XYZMODEM, and “ASCII” file-transfer protocols, active and passive FTP modes, lockdown features, X Windows session forwarding, and so on.
Price: Free trial available; to upgrade and check price visit website.
One of the most powerful SSH clients in the industry, Xshell is an open-source Internet and Network software that’s developed to emulate a virtual terminal. It basically allows a computer to works as an emulator.
- It allows you to open Windows cmd right within its own tab.
- Enables to easily make, edit, and start various sessions concurrently right from the main window with the session manager.
- Comes with a tabbed interface that helps you to organize different sessions to be viewed and monitored at the same time.
- Option to configure the program to blend with your workflow.
- It allows you to draft multiple lines of the string prior to sending it to the terminal.
- Use Highlight Sets to define keywords and usual expressions when added/removed in the terminal.
Moreover, it takes advantage of the end-to-end encryption algorithms and different verification methods to provide extended security.
Price: Pricing starts at $99.
Whether you are looking for an easy and manageable terminal emulator, or something advanced, this list meets the requirement for both types of users. While there are hundreds of third-party software available online, these are undoubtedly the best terminal emulators for Windows you could have for smooth file transfer and control on text commands.
I find passion in writing Tech articles around Windows PC and softwares