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How to open a Linux shell in a folder on Windows 10

Windows 10 has two command-line apps; PowerShell and Command Prompt. It’s also got a new Terminal app that you can try out. The Terminal app is great if you use multiple command-line tools. If you don’t feel like using Terminal because it is still in Beta, but you need a Linux shell, you can install Linux on Windows 10. You’ll be surprised to see just how well the Linux Shell is integrated with Windows 10. Here’s how you can open a Linux shell directly to a folder.

Open Linux shell in folder

First, make sure you have Ubuntu/Linux installed on your Windows 10 system. You must have the Linux feature enabled and not a Linux installation dual-booted on your system.

That is really all you need. Open File Explorer and go to the folder that you want to open a Linux Shell in. Hold down the Shift key and right-click in an empty area. You will see an ‘Open Linux shell here’ option. Click it.

A Linux terminal window will open at the folder location. The title bar will show you the path to the folder and you will also see it in the Terminal window.

Moving between directories in the Linux terminal app isn’t hard and if you like using the Terminal over a GUI, you won’t think much of it. That said, it’s still really helpful to have this option. If nothing else, it is quicker than typing out a path or even pasting it.

Windows 10 has its problems, many of which are old and still unresolved but Microsoft appears to have committed to adding Linux to their OS. These little things are a testament to it. Windows 10 no longer has the ‘Open command prompt’ option in this context menu but it has an option to open a Linux shell.

It’s not clear what version of Windows 10 this was added in but it was definitely there in 1903 which is the Windows 10 May 2019 update. The Windows subsystem for Linux is an app and like any other app it can be run with admin rights. To that end, you cannot open a Linux Shell with admin rights from the context menu. It opens with ordinary user rights and that is definitely the downside of it. It’s also why users might prefer to just use the shell to switch to a different directory.

You may want to consider using the new Terminal app. It may be in beta but it’s still pretty good and you will like the tabbed interface if you need to work in multiple directories.


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