When comparing cmder vs ConEmu, the Slant community recommends cmder for most people. In the question“What are the best terminal emulators for Windows?” cmder is ranked 1st while ConEmu is ranked 2nd. The most important reason people chose cmder is:
Cmder builds on [ConEmu](https://code.google.com/p/conemu-maximus5) console emulator, by adding enhancements from [clink](http://mridgers.github.io/clink/) (such as bash-style completion in cmd.exe and PowerTab in powershell.exe) and optionally extending it with [msysgit](http://msysgit.github.io), that brings Unix tools to Windows.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Minimal and portable version available
There is a portable version of cmder available which is just 10 MB in size. It can be put on an external device, like a USB stick, and run off it. There's no installation required.
Pro Monokai color scheme
Cmder pretties up the default look of ConEmu using Monokai color scheme out of the box and allows flexible color and transparency schemes, including custom out-of-focus opacity.
Pro File explorer integration
Cmder can be added to the right-click menu, allowing the user to start a terminal session from the selected directory with a "Cmder Here" command. The functionality can be enabled by opening up a terminal with administrator privileges, navigating to the Cmder folder and executing
.\cmder.exe /REGISTER ALL.
Pro Works nicely with command line applications
Such applications include CMD, Powershell, and MinTTY.
Pro Has built-in Quake style drop-down mode
This is an extremely useful mode whereby the console hides and shows on ctrl+~ similar to a gaming console. This feature is inherited from ConEmu.
Pro Integrates with graphical applications
Portable GUI applications can be integrated directly into the interface of the terminal emulator.
For example, it's possible to integrate ST3 with cmder by moving the portable version of ST3 to
/cmder/vendor/ and editing alias file in
/cmder/config/aliases to include
subl="%CMDER_ROOT%\vendor\Sublime Text 3\sublime_text.exe" $1 -new_console:s75V. Now writing
subl in the command line will open ST3. The alias of subl can be changed to whatever's needed and similarly, the
-new_console option's parameters can be changed to alter how the text editor integrates with the terminal emulator. It can be horizontal or vertical splits of varying sizes or tabs, etc.
Pro Works with ZSH and Oh My ZSH through WSL (using ubuntu 18.04)
Set ZSH as shell using "chsh" command, and launch the console using "ubuntu1804" command.
Pro Highly flexible
Pro Works with VS Code, Hyper and IDEs
Cmder can be used with popular editors such as VS Code, which delivers aliases and clink as well as its color scheme to VS Code.
It can also be used without ConEmu and Hyper as an alternative terminal emulator, which makes customizing the UI through NPM plugins much easier.
Pro Works with WSL bash.exe
CMDer works great with the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Just change your startup task to point to the bash.exe file.
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 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 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 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 Integrates with FarManager
ConEmu was originally designed as an updated front-end specifically for the FarManager, which means it has increased functionality.
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 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 Actively developed
ConEmu is under active development. Updates roll out almost daily with bugfixes and new features.
Pro Dynamically resize the window
You can change the width and height of the console window without having to reset your session.
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 Transparent, Quake-style mode
You can set up ConEmu as a transparent, Quake-style console by following these instructions.
Pro Supports borderless mode
To put ConEmu in borderless mode:
Set Main -> Appearance -> Frame Width to 0
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 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 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 Auto discovers your shells
Zero config gets you all your installed shells.
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.).
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 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.
Con Issues with non-unicode characters
'ls' command can have issues with non-unicode characters such as cyrillic. As of 1.1.2, 'dir' can be used as a substitute that will properly display non-unicode characters. Unfortunately, it's an issue with msysgit that isn't being officially addressed (a workaround is available) thus no official ETA on the bugfix is available.
Con Not as portable as advertised
Even though cmder is advertised as a "portable terminal emulator for Windows", it's not adequately minimalistic to be considered truly portable. In fact, one of the dependencies required to use it is the Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015.
Con Issues with escape codes
Sometimes it doesn't interpret terminal escape codes correctly and the output gets mangled using tmux over ssh, for instance.
Con Slower than ConEmu
Con There is no ligatures support
As though the fonts like Fira Code or Hasklig work in Cmder, this enhancement for the Windows command prompt doesn't display ligatures in the above-mentioned fonts.
Con Lots of conflicts with OS keybindings
By default, things lke ctrl-w will close your window unexpectedly when using nano or trying to delete a word in bash.
Con The portable (mini) version does not have UNIX commands
UNIX command support is only available for the full version.
Con Very slow
Scrolling in vim lags the screen and can crash.
Con Default look is somewhat unpleasant
In order to get a more pleasant look and feel, you may need to customize ConEmu yourself.
Con It is slow
If you have a console process that outputs a lot, ConEmu will be the slowest option. Everything else will be faster. Even Terminus, which is, common, a packed web browser app. In my tests if ConEmu takes one unit of time, Terminus and Windows Terminal will be 0.6, FluentTerminal 0.35, Alacritty 0.3.
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).