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Camilo Martinez
Camilo Martinez

Posted on • Updated on

ZSH on Windows without WSL

Well, WSL it's a good way to have a Unix environment on Windows, but sadly his performance and memory consumption leads me to find another alternative... and I found it in a place closer than I expected.

1. Bash

The first step is to download and install git with bash terminal support.

2. ZSH

At least Bash is better than the windows CMD, but ZSH is in another league with his productivity boosts. So we are going to install ZSH over Bash.

Download ZSH

Download the latest MSYS2 zsh package from the MSYS2 package repository. The file will be named something along the lines of zsh-#.#-#-x86_64.pkg.tar.zst

zst files can be decompressed with PeaZip

Install

Extract the contents of the archive (which should include etc and usr folders) into your Git Bash installation directory. This is likely to be under C:\Program Files\Git. Merge the contents of the folder if asked (no files should be getting overridden).

Setup

Open the Git Bash terminal and run zsh command, then verify the installed version.

zsh --version
zsh 5.9 (x86_64-pc-msys)
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Configure zsh as the default shell by appending the following to your ~/.bashrc file:

if [ -t 1 ]; then
  exec zsh
fi
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Windows can mangle some UTF-8 encoded text, causing unexpected characters to be displayed in your terminal. To fix this, add the following to your ~/.bashrc file, ideally, before the code that sets your shell as zsh:

/c/Windows/System32/chcp.com 65001 > /dev/null 2>&1
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3. Oh my zsh!

Install

Add superpowers to zsh installing Oh my zsh! running this command.

sh -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/ohmyzsh/ohmyzsh/master/tools/install.sh)"
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Fonts

Download and install manually the Meslo Nerd Fonts to include all glyphs and symbols that Powerlevel10k may need

Theme

There are a lot of themes but my favorite is Powerlevel10k because is easy to set up and use.

git clone https://github.com/romkatv/powerlevel10k.git ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-~/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/themes/powerlevel10k
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On the ~/.zshrc file add this additional configuration

ZSH_THEME="powerlevel10k/powerlevel10k"
POWERLEVEL9K_RIGHT_PROMPT_ELEMENTS=(history)
POWERLEVEL9K_SHORTEN_DIR_LENGTH=1

export LS_COLORS="rs=0:no=00:mi=00:mh=00:ln=01;36:or=01;31:di=01;34:ow=04;01;34:st=34:tw=04;34:pi=01;33:so=01;33:do=01;33:bd=01;33:cd=01;33:su=01;35:sg=01;35:ca=01;35:ex=01;32:"
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Restart the terminal and type p10k configure.

Wizard

Plugins

Oh My zsh! have a lot of plugins to use. It's recommended to explore the options and use what is good for your needs.

I've already installed a lot related to software development and other ones to add more functionalities. Running these commands:

git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-autosuggestions.git ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-~/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/plugins/zsh-autosuggestions
git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting.git ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-~/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/plugins/zsh-syntax-highlighting
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And now edit the ~/.zshrc file and add it inside the plugins property (don't use commas as separator)

ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_HIGHLIGHTERS=(main brackets pattern cursor root line)
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_PATTERNS=('rm -rf *' 'fg=white,bold,bg=red')

plugins=(
    adb
    command-not-found
    deno
    docker
    git
    github
    gitignore
    history-substring-search
    node
    npm
    nvm
    yarn
    volta
    vscode
    sudo
    web-search
    z
    zsh-autosuggestions
    zsh-syntax-highlighting
)
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If you are using NVM take care of following this configuration to avoid slowing the zsh start-up and this configuration to speed up the compinit

4. Terminals

To use the same terminal inside VSCode and Windows Terminal follow these configurations.

VS Code

Add these properties to the user setttings.json

{ 
    ...
+   "terminal.integrated.fontFamily": "MesloLGS NF",
+   "terminal.integrated.fontSize": 12,
+   "terminal.integrated.shellIntegration.enabled": true,
+   "terminal.integrated.defaultProfile.windows": "Git Bash",
    ...
}
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Microsoft Terminal

Add these configurations on the Git Bash terminal.

{
    "profiles": {
        "defaults": {},
        "list": [
+               "font": {
+                   "face": "MesloLGS NF",
+                   "size": 12
+               },
                "guid": "{2ece5bfe-50ed-5f3a-ab87-5cd4baafed2b}",
                "hidden": false,
                "name": "Git Bash",
                "source": "Git",
+               "startingDirectory": "D:\\Developer"
            },
        ]
    }
}
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Downsides

  • Not as fast as I expected, but much faster than WSL (and also not dealing with his memory and performance issues)
  • Take some time to load the first time (but, less than WSL).
  • Volta on Windows requires additional permissions, maybe you gonna need to come back to NVM
  • Strange behavior while writing inside VS Code terminal
  • Can't use paths saved on %VARIABLE%, you are going to need to translate it with cygpath $LOCALAPPDATA. To change to a path use something like this $(cygpath $LOCALAPPDATA)/Volta/tools/image/node/

Sources


That’s All Folks!
Happy Coding
πŸ––

beer

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