Bash on Windows

At first, official place for bugs of ‘Windows Subsystem for Linux’ is:

WSL or ‘Windows Subsystem for Linux’ or ‘Bash on Ubuntu on Windows’ was brought to you by efforts of Microsoft and Canonical. This subsystem allows users to run native linux binaries in Windows 10 without using of virtual machines or recompilations.

Required 64-bit version of Windows 10 Anniversary Update build 14316 or later!

Good places to start are:

Bash on Windows in ConEmu

TLDR: Installation

  • ‘Settings’ -> ‘Update and Security’ -> ‘For developers’: Enable ‘Developer mode’
  • Reboot
  • ‘Administrator’s command prompt’ execute the following:
powershell -command Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux
  • After another reboot, run in the ‘command prompt’ to install required files:

Some techinfo

Despite the fact WSL binaries runs in Windows console window, they are not native Windows console applications (obviously) and they are not using native Windows Console API.

When you run %windir%\system32\bash.exe this native Windows process starts ‘linux kernel’ outside of Windows console, and linux applications commuticate with conhost without use of Windows Console API.

That means ConEmu can’t ‘hook’ linux processes! Unfortunately bash.exe which may be hooked is only a sort of a loader for WSL, bash.exe does not do console output and all ANSI sequences are processed before ConEmu can see them. WSL process all ANSI and writes stripped output directly to conhost.

Another problem is that due to mistake in WSL design, keypresses written to conhost input buffer using standard Windows API function WriteConsoleInput are not converted into xterm keyboard sequences. But when user presses same key directly in RealConsole they are converted properly.

Both problem have workarounds, read further.

Get 24-bit colors working in ConEmu

Ryan Prichard has created wslbridge which allows anyone to run WSL in any POSIX enabled terminal like mintty or ConEmu cygwin/msys connector.

If you don’t like to download megabytes of cygwin’s installation, you may try precompiled distribution of wsltty. It’s just a 32-bit bundle of mintty, cygwin1.dll and wslbridge.

Does not matter what bitness of cygwin binaries you are trying, wslbridge is just a ‘bridge’ between Windows terminal and your 64-bit linux applications which are running in WSL.

So, example of minimal working environment is below. Just place these files in some folder on your NTFS drive, I used the folder C:\MSYS\WSL.

File Source
conemu-cyg-32.exe latest connector release
cygwin1.dll or wsltty

Now you may run the command below. Don’t forget to change C:\MSYS\WSL if you use different folder! Also read about -new_console switch.

conemu-cyg-32.exe ./wslbridge.exe -t "-new_console:C:%LOCALAPPDATA%\lxss\bash.ico" "-new_console:D:C:\MSYS\WSL" -new_console:np

TLDR: Just run wslbridge

Well, you may run wsl-con.cmd which would set up wslbridge for you.

Warning, if you have installed ConEmu in ‘Program Files’, or any other protected location, please run wsl-con.cmd as Administrator (from elevated ConEmu tab).

Download wsl-con.cmd here.

How to get 24-bit colors working

You need just few more files:

1) download it from [./]

2) wsl-con.bat to start new tab in ConEmu

@echo off
if "%~1" == "-run" goto run
ConEmuC -c "%~0" -run "-new_console:C:%LOCALAPPDATA%\lxss\bash.ico" "-new_console:D:%~dp0" -new_console:np
goto :EOF
call SetEscChar
echo %ESC%[9999H
conemu-cyg-32.exe ./wslbridge.exe -t ./

3) and to print gradient map, system information and run bash prompt

uname -a
cd ~
bash -l -i

Get arrows working in ConEmu

This solution is only for Bash on Windows (WSL)! It does not rely to Cygwin, MSYS or Git-for-Windows!

Due to the bug BashOnWindows#111 arrows were not working if you start bash.exe in old ConEmu builds. More details in tickets BashOnWindows#111 and ConEmu#629.


  1. Don’t use Old ConEmu Builds! There is no sense to complain on things changed months ago! Update your installation!
  2. ConEmu creates new task for ‘Bash on Windows’ automatically, you may check this by running ConEmu64.exe -basic -run {bash}. Also, you may call Add default tasks… from Tasks page on your existing config.
  3. So, just run {bash} task, arrow keys are expected to be working!

Alternatively, you may enable StatusBar column ‘Terminal modes’. LeftClick the column and select ‘XTerm’ and ‘AppKeys’ when tab with Bash on Windows is active.

Another alternative is wslbridge described above.