If you need your Unix command line on a Windows PC, chances are you use a terminal emulator like Cygwin–and if you do, you want to check out MinTTY. The MinTTY terminal window for Cygwin puts a native Windows interface on Cygwin which offers more keyboard shortcuts and colors and styles. Check out the difference between Cygwin and MinTTY side-by-side in the thumbnail on the right. Using MinTTY you can turn on window transparency, set your font, and colors, copy and paste output by just selecting it with your mouse, and scroll up using the Shift+arrow key combination. (Once it’s installed, right-click on the MinTTY window and choose Options to customize its look and keyboard shortcuts.) Here’s what the full MinTTY window with transparency turned on looks like.
Install MinTTY either in Cygwin’s setup (find it under Shells) or get the standalone download from MinTTY’s homepage. The downside to MinTTY? It doesn’t include a tabbed interface and the developer doesn’t plan to add tabs, either. Still, MinTTY’s a big upgrade for anyone who spends time with Cygwin. After MinTTY’s installed, choose its shortcut instead of Cygwin’s from your Start menu. MinTTY is a free download that works with Cygwin for Windows only.
If beginners are interested in learning a bit about Unix through Cygwin, check out my three-part series of tutorials published over at Lifehacker: