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I use Windows 7, but am a big fan of Linux. However for this computer, I have to run Windows and wanted a transparent always on terminal for my desktop, something like this:

desktop with wanted CMD effect

I tried using Glass CMD and Console but they're not the same. How can I possibly get a similar desktop CMD prompt on Windows?


Thanks to Darth Android! I got my console2 working like I needed. also for any people who need to focus their console window, here's an autohotkey script.

Loop{
    if GetKeyState("LButton", "P"){
        if WinActive("ahk_class Progman"){
            MouseGetPos, xpos, ypos
            if(xpos > 522){
                if(ypos < 475){
                    if WinExist("ahk_class Console_2_Main"){
                        WinActivate
                    }
                }
            }
        }
    }    
}
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Karsetn Sperling specifically made Alpha as a way for Windows users to get a transparent command-prompt like in Linux, but it still has the window frame. Console windows are special and not handled like others, so even if you could find a program that lets you strip the frame from a normal window, it may not work for consoles (I just tried a couple of such programs and one did nothing while the other crashed). –  Synetech Aug 6 '12 at 20:30
1  
You mentioned that Console/Console2 are not the same - I was able to get pretty close with it (see my answer), but I would be interested to know specifically which issues you had with it in case I missed them. –  Darth Android Aug 6 '12 at 21:59
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can use a program called Console2 to create this effect. I have mine set up with an auto-hotkey script to produce a quake-style drop-down terminal, but you could just as easily stick it to your desktop, set the background color to be completely transparent, and strip the window decorations:

enter image description here

If you want to get it really similar to your *nix terminal, install Cygwin and configure Console2 to launch bash instead of cmd.exe or PowerShell.

The only caveat with the setup is it's a bit difficult to focus the window due to the nature of Windows' color-keying (i.e., clicking on transparent pixels actually click through the window to the desktop, instead of giving it focus), but that can be fixed with an auto-hotkey script configured to listen for mouse-clicks in specific areas of the desktop, and then transferring focus to Console2, or by simply alt-tabbing to it if you're willing to leave the icon in the taskbar.

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I'll try this out again, already have cygwin, so it should be okay –  Link Aug 6 '12 at 23:41
    
Yay, it worked! Accepted! –  Link Aug 7 '12 at 0:28
    
Hey, having a bit of trouble getting the focus, how would an autohotkey script work? –  Link Aug 7 '12 at 2:26
    
@TheEliteNoob It would be something along the lines of "Left Click -> if desktop is active window -> if mouse coordinates overlap the location of the console window -> focus the console window" (paraphrased) You can set a persistent window title to help with focusing the console window, and Stack Overflow or the autohotkey forums can help you nail down the details of the script. If it's still giving you trouble, I'll sit down this evening or tomorrow and see if I can get a script working. –  Darth Android Aug 7 '12 at 14:38
    
Thanks, but I got it working, I'll edit my answer so other people can see it. –  Link Aug 7 '12 at 17:53
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