Drop Down PowerShell Console

About twice a year I install Linux on an old laptop as a way to increase my blood pressure and test my heart. One of my favourite features in Ubuntu’s desktop experience is the terminal that slides down from the top of the screen reminiscent of Quake and other video games. I wanted to replicate that experience with PowerShell on Windows and discovered you can using an application called ConEmu.

ConEmu

ConEmu (short for Console emulator) is a free and open-source tabbed terminal emulator for Windows. ConEmu presents multiple consoles and simple GUI applications as one customizable GUI window with tabs and a status bar. It also provides emulation for ANSI escape codes for color, bypassing the capabilities of the standard Windows Console Host to provide 256 and 24-bit color in Windows. – Wikipedia.org

In short, ConEmu is an application that lets you have multiple PowerShell, CMD, PuTTY, Git Bash, and other terminal windows open in a single tabbed application. ConEmu also gives you greater control over colors and appearance settings and one of it’s coolest features is the “Quake Style Slide Down.” Using ConEmu we can get that slick Terminal behavior from Ubuntu in Windows.

Setting It Up

The Important Stuff

These are the basic steps required to get your own drop down PowerShell console.

  1. Download the latest stable or preview installable release of ConEmu and install it on your computer. When installing be sure to select the correct option when presented with the x86 or x64 choice. If you don’t know it’s probably x64 that you want.
  2. Launch ConEmu and chose the following options on the fast configuration screen:
    1. Choose your startup task… {Shells::PowerShell}
    2. Quake-style slide down… Yes / Ctrl+`
    3. Install keyboard hooks… Yes
    4. Inject ConEmuHk.dll into all processes… YesConEmu Setup
  3. Press ok and keep the settings window that appears next open on your screen.
  4. In the settings window find and make the following changes:
    1. Main  Size & Pos  Window Size… Width: 100% / Height 50% (the percent symbols are required.)
  5. Click Apply and then Save Settings.
  6. To open and close your drop down console press Ctrl+`  (or whatever hotkey you selected.)

ConEmu-Quake-Console

My Setup

While the basic setup is pretty cool on its own we can tweak some more settings to make it a bit better. To reproduce my look you’ll need to change the settings below all of which are optional and personal preference.

If you closed the settings window you can right click the grey tab bar at the top and chose Settings or press Win+Alt+P to bring it back.

  • Main
    • Size & Pos
      • Restore to active monitor: No
      • Pad size (pixels): 5
    • Appearance
      • Scrollbar: Hide
      • Title bar, Hide captions when maximized: Yes
      • Title bar, Frame width: 0 (You will need to go back to Size & Pos and change the size back to 100%x50% and click Apply)
    • Quake style
      • Auto-hide on focus lose: Yes
    • Tab bar
      • Tabs: Don’t show
    • Task bar
      • Taskbar status area: Auto minimize to TSA
      • Taskbar buttons: Don’t show ConEmu window on Taskbar
      • Minimize when Esc pressed: Always
  • Features
    • Text cursor
      • Active console Text Cursor: Block
    • Colors
      • Scheme: Monokai
    • Transparency
      • Active window transparency: Yes / ~90%
    • Status bar
      • Show status bar: No

ConEmu-Quake-Console-Mine

Final Steps

Now that you have an awesome Quake style slide down console you’re going to want to be sure it’s always there when you need it. Adding ConEmu to your startup apps will ensure you never forget to open it.

  1. Press Win+R on your keyboard to open the run dialogue.
  2. Type shell:startup  and hit press OK.
  3. Create a shortcut by right-clicking and selecting “New” and then “Shortcut”.
  4. Click Browse… and find the ConEmu executable. You should find it at  C:\Program Files\ConEmu\ConEmu64.exe
  5. Click Next and Finish.

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