When comparing VirtualBox vs ConEmu, the Slant community recommends VirtualBox for most people. In the question“What are the best power user tools for Windows?” VirtualBox is ranked 9th while ConEmu is ranked 10th. The most important reason people chose VirtualBox is:
VirtualBox is available for free with source code available [here](https://www.virtualbox.org/browser/vbox/trunk). A "VirtualBox Extension Pack" that includes virtual USB 2.0, VirtualBox RDP & PXE boot support is available only under a commercial license.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Free and mostly open source
VirtualBox is available for free with source code available here. A "VirtualBox Extension Pack" that includes virtual USB 2.0, VirtualBox RDP & PXE boot support is available only under a commercial license.
Pro Highly customizable
You can configure a plethora of settings, including shortcuts and aesthetics (background image, transparency, colors, and fonts) per software.
Pro Can be used with any shell
ConEmu allows running CMD, PowerShell, Cygwin, PuTTY, TCC/LE, etc.
Pro Useful status bar details
Not only does the status bar show detailed information out-of-the-box, it can be configured for your specific needs.
Pro Free and open source
ConEmu is licensed under New BSD which is a class of very simple and liberal software licenses.
Pro Dynamically resize the window
You can change the width and height of the console window without having to reset your session.
Pro Transparent, Quake-style mode
You can set up ConEmu as a transparent, Quake-style console by following these instructions.
Pro Supports Jump Lists
ConEmu allows pinning commands to Jump Lists (available in Windows 7 & 8; accessed by right-clicking the application in the taskbar), giving you quick access to common tasks and configurations.
Pro Tab support
ConEmu allows the user to create tabs (Win+W by default) for separate instances of the terminal window, allowing them to have both multiple shells and multiple instances of the same shell open. The user can also set up a startup directory for each tab and run each tab as a specific user or rights.
Pro Supports borderless mode
To put ConEmu in borderless mode:
Set Main -> Appearance -> Frame Width to 0
Pro Explorer integration
ConEmu integrates well with Explorer.
Pro Highly configurable hotkeys
Hotkeys allow the user to easily trigger an action and can be configured to their liking.
Pro Run DOS applications with DosBox
If you have both ConEmu and DosBox installed, you can run DOS applications (and games) within a 64-bit OS environment.
Pro Progress Bar integration
ConEmu permits the user to check up on the progress of an operation with a quick glance at the taskbar, without needing to bring the app to the foreground.
Pro Integrates with FarManager
ConEmu was originally designed as an updated front-end specifically for the FarManager, which means it has increased functionality.
Pro Actively developed
ConEmu is under active development. Updates roll out almost daily with bugfixes and new features.
Pro Run simple GUI apps within a ConEmu tab
With -new_console and -cur_console switches you can run simple GUI apps in a ConEmu tab (or split).
Pro Search in console input/output history
ConEmu supports searching in all text that has been printed or entered in the console history.
Pro Box selection
ConEmu offers multiple, configurable ways of interacting with text, including an ability to select text in a rectangular way.
Pro Auto discovers your shells
Zero config gets you all your installed shells.
Pro Works well with WSL/Tmux/Neovim/SSH
There were issues before in the WSL usage scenario that forced me to use an X gui terminal using X forwarding, but now Conemu is working great, and is the only terminal I use from Windows/WSL.
Pro Works well with Vim/Neovim on Windows
There were issues before that forced me to use graphical versions of Vim/Neovim, but latest versions of Conemu + Neovim, seem to be working much better on Windows now.
Pro Built-in screenshot tool
The screenshot tool allows the user to capture their computer desktop or anything shown on their computer screen in a static image file.
Pro Closest replacement for iTerm2 users
Supports many of the features that iTerm users have become accustom to (like multiple tabs, highlighting, configurable scroll bars, decent support for themed color pallets to support basic/solarized/etc.).
Con Inferior performance
Apart from second-class performance in virtualization, there are some visual glitches with Windows 8.1 on Mavericks.
Con Confusing interface and lacking usability features
VirtualBox might be a bit confusing for beginners - it requires an understanding of a lot more technical details than other VMs.
Con Default look is somewhat unpleasant
In order to get a more pleasant look and feel, you may need to customize ConEmu yourself.
Con Layering of features per tab works with limited functionality
Can't do all of this, but it can theme colors per terminal:
Tab 1: I want it transparent, with a fixed background, with a certain color scheme, running powershell
Tab 2: Similar thing, but different bg, theme, and running posh as admin
Tab 3: Similar thing, but different bg, theme, and running cygwin
Con Bad scrolling support
The mouse wheel scroll doesn't transfer to terminal applications by default. It moves to the blank space instead of scrolling actual text content. This is especially true for ConEmu where there doesn't seem to be a way to make it work better.
Con Poor performance with WSL
Con Screen scrapes from real console
ConEmu always runs the standard Windows console - ‘real console’, but it is hidden most of time.
This adds overhead, introduces another layer of complexity, and frequently creates irritating strange glitches (lost keys, messed up spacing) for heavy users.
Con Only simple, black and white emoji
It's not much, but is sad we can't get colored emojis. May change soon, I'm working on a PR.
Con No remote connections
A terminal emulator should emulate a terminal, i.e. a local input/output device to a remote computer. ConEmu can only run local processes in a window (albeit nicer than the local command shell window).