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When starting Zsh as the shell in Cygwin 1.7, I get the escape characters in plain text. When using Zsh with the -l option, this is resolved. Why is this?

enter image description here

As you can see, the terminal renders the Bash prompt correctly, but the Zsh prompt does not render the prompt as ANSI escape sequences.

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PS1= for bash don't work with zsh, unless they are very simple. – Ярослав Рахматуллин Nov 28 '12 at 18:40
up vote 2 down vote accepted

zsh starts a new interactive shell, zsh -l starts a login shell.

The main difference between a login shell and any other interactive shell is that a login shell reads different configuration files. For zsh this comes down to: /etc/zprofile, ~/.zprofile, /etc/zlogin and ~/.zlogin.

The reason why the prompts acts differently is probably due to a setting in one of these files.

For a longer and more detailed explaination, see chapter 2, section 6 of this guide.

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