When I use Windows, I spend a lot of time in terminal windows. If it's SSH to some other machine, there are quite a few options, and I'm actually quite ok even with putty. But when I start a cygwin shell, it gets started in this wrapper app called 'mintty'. And I don't like it, or rather, I don't like the combination of it with the Cygwin terminal emulation. It responds slowly; and sometimes the last line gets garbled (especially if I use a long / multi-line command), and feels a lot less snappier then shell sessions on other machines.

So I'd like something else. I hope it's just mintty that I need to replace, although it may go deeper or it may be the case that there's nothing I can do.

Requirements: Gratis, a non-empty user base, actively maintained, responsive.

Preferences: Libre license, actively developed, many features/highly configurable, lightweight in terms of memory and CPU use.

2 Answers 2


You can use ConEmu as a console for Cygwin, as well as Windows Command Prompt, Power Shell, msysgit, msys2, mingw, Putty, etc.

  • Free, gratis & Open Source
  • Tabbed multiple consoles with different shells
  • Small download size
  • Portable version available
  • Widely used & actively developed
  • Lots of other goodies like telling you exactly which process is running, attaching to running processes, etc.

Please read the ConEmu help page on MinGW/Msys where there is also some mention of an experimental Cygwin/Msys Connector.


If you are on Windows 10 you can enable the Windows 10 Ubuntu layer and use the bash shell from that which seems to work very well, meets your requirements and does not seem to give the problems that you have detailed. This gives you a full featured command shell including apt-get but with a limited catalogue.

Alternatively I often use, also without problems, the MINGW64 bash shell from Git For Windows while it is primarily for git use and doesn't have an apt-get command it does allow windows command line tools to be used in addition to those it provides.

  • 1
    That's not what I asked for, unfortunately; I do want to use cygwin generally; even if I replace the shell, it has to be with something that targets cygwin.
    – einpoklum
    Feb 12, 2017 at 13:01

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