Microsoft is exploring adding a command line text editor into Windows, and it wants your feedback

Linux Mint on WSL
The Neovim text editor working inside WSL. (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has opened a thread on GitHub exploring the possibility of adding a default CLI (command line interface) text editor into Windows. 
  • While you can launch graphical apps from the command line, such as VS Code, many developers, admins and even end users, still work in a predominantly CLI environment. 
  • Microsoft wants user feedback on the idea, with the end goal potentially having a default option that users can launch straight into while working in the terminal. 

Those who never dip inside a terminal on Windows 11 might not know or care, but those who do, there's a potentially interesting development being explored to make your lives easier. 

Personally, I wasn't aware that 64-bit Windows doesn't ship with a default command line text editor, but that could be something that's going to change in the future. 

Microsoft's Connor Plante has opened a thread on GitHub detailing the idea, and is soliciting feedback from users over what could be implemented. 

This issue is suggesting that Windows should once again ship with a CLI editor installed inbox by default. 32-bit versions of Windows ship with edit, but 64-bit versions of the OS have no CLI editor installed inbox. A CLI editor is a core tool for system admins, developers, and power users – providing an immediate viable option here is an important quality-of-life improvement.

Connor Plante, Microsoft

It's a small potential change, but one that would certainly improve the quality of life of those who use CLI text editors. 

An alternative solution also being discussed is better error handling so that the shell will recognize the commands trying to be used, and display a quick installation solution using Windows Package Manager

Give your feedback, it could make a difference 

The Nano text editor running inside WSL.  (Image credit: Windows Central)

The whole point of starting the discussion on GitHub is to engage the community and solicit feedback. Specifically, there are three questions being asked: 

  • Do you want to see a default CLI editor in Windows? How would it improve your experience?
  • Do you use a CLI editor today? If so, which do you use and why?
  • Are there alternative solutions or CLI editor-related features you’d like to see?

For a lot of workflows, bouncing out to a GUI app like VS Code or even Notepad to make changes to text files can be quite jarring. The reason these type of text editors still exist is because so many people use them. 

I'm no developer, far from it, but I use a CLI text editor a lot inside WSL. I couldn't necessarily tell you why I like it so much, but I do, and I'm a sucker for Neovim. Or Nano if I just have to make a really quick adjustment to a file. I spend far more time in WSL than I do in PowerShell, but I'd certainly be happy to see a default text editor added natively to Windows. 

So if this is of interest to you, drop on over to the thread and let your voice be heard. It might make a difference. 

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at