Let’s Learn How To Change The Default Terminal (3 min read)

There are many reasons why you may want to change your default terminal emulator. It’s actually nice easy to change the default terminal. This article explains how and anyone should be able to do it, even a beginner!

First, it’s often called a terminal emulator because it allows you to emulate the terminal in a graphical environment. There are other ways to refer to it, but just calling it the terminal is usually enough for all but the most pedantic. We’ll mostly just call it the terminal from here on out.

The people who put your distro together also picked the default terminal. It’s usually a basic terminal, and often just a terminal that has been around for a long time. That’s not a bad thing, but there may be better terminals than the default. There are terminals with all sorts of features, from multi-window terminals to terminals that support drag-and-drop!

Perhaps you might like XFCE-terminal, or you may prefer Terminator? Maybe you’d like Guake or TildeThe choices for new terminals are vast, and Wikipedia has a ton of them listed.

You can find even more by using your favorite search engine and searching for Linux terminals. Someone is always writing a new terminal and you can pick a new one to be your default terminal any time you want. There’s bound to be one out there ticks all your boxes.

If you want to open your default terminal, you can usually use your keyboard. Just press CTRL + ALT + T and it should open your terminal. If you don’t like the default, you can make any other terminal your default.

Change the Default Terminal:

For the purpose of this exercise, we’ll start with assuming you’re using Ubuntu and that you want to install Terminator and then set Terminator as the new default. However, aside from the initial installation command, it should work for other distros just fine. In fact, the installation command will work for most any distro that uses the apt package manager.

So, seeing as you opened the terminal up above, we’ll just skip right ahead to installing our example, Terminator:

Go ahead and let it finish the installation after you enter your password and agree to install it. Terminator should be in your default repositories and easily installed. This is true even if you’re not using Ubuntu or an Ubuntu derivative.

Once you’ve done that, you will need to set Terminator as the new default. To do that, run this command:

That should bring up some information that looks a little like this:

change default terminal emulator

From there you just pick the number of the terminal emulator you’d like to be the new default and press enter. That’s it. That’s all you should need to do.

You can test this by simply using your keyboard to open the default terminal like you did in the first section of this article. Once you’ve made the change, it should take effect immediately and the new default terminal should open up when you next open the terminal with the keyboard. You’ll still have the old links to the original default, but you can move those around at your leisure.

Closure:

And there you have it. That’s how you change your default terminal emulator. It’s not terribly difficult but it’s a quick and easy step you can take to make your Linux a little more customized, a little more something of your own. If you have any ideas for articles, feel free to leave a comment suggesting them. We’ll see what we can do!

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Author: KGIII

Retired mathematician, residing in the mountains of Maine. I may be old and wise, but I am not infallible. Please point out any errors. And, as always, thanks again for reading.

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