How can I configure zsh to be the default shell under Cygwin?
Unless you're using cygwin as a multiuser environment (in which case use
chsh as you would under a standard environment.)
Otherwise, you just change cygwin.bat to run
zsh -l -i instead of
bash --login -i and it will run as a login shell.
Of course, if you want to run multiple shells from startup, just create a set of
.bat files to load different shells. (
I felt I should update this to provide info on doing this without
chsh but still doing it on the Unix end. Edit the
/etc/passwd file and replace occurrences of
/bin/zsh. (This is effectively what
chsh would do, but this way you'd do it for all users in one go.)
If I read your question right, you're looking for something else than what chere supplies (which, granted, is pretty cool in its own right).
The current version of Cygwin doesn't have an /etc/passwd file, and the system I'm working on has Windows account information in a domain database out of my control. Consequently, chsh is no longer supported.
I also found that bash is not hard-coded into the startxwin script, nor is it hard-coded in any .bat file. Turns out you don't need to fiddle with .bat files at all.
Searching for how to change my shell, I found some advice about mkpasswd
I added it to the mix.
The man-page said:
SYNOPSIS mkpasswd [OPTIONS]... OPTIONS Don't use this command to generate a local /etc/passwd file, unless you really need one. See the Cygwin User's Guide for more information. -c,--current Print current user. DESCRIPTION The mkpasswd program can be used to create a /etc/passwd file. Cygwin doesn't need this file, because it reads user information from the Windows account databases, but you can add an /etc/passwd file, for instance if your machine is often dis‐ connected from its domain controller. Note that this information is static, in contrast to the informa‐ tion automatically gathered by Cygwin from the Windows account databases. If you change the user information on your system, you'll need to regenerate the passwd file for it to have the new information. For very simple needs, an entry for the current user can be cre‐ ated by using the option -c.
(I don't know why the spacing is so "off"...)
I then used the following command:
mkpasswd -c | sed -e 'sX/bashX/zshX' | tee -a /etc/passwd
The next time you open a Cygwin Terminal, it will go straight to zsh
And that, I think, is what you asked for.
I just add the
bin directory in the cygwin directory to my Windows Path Environment Variable and then either create a shortcut to:
mintty.exe -i /Cygwin-Terminal.ico /bin/zsh --login
or just change the default cygwin start menu shortcut to the same.
Copied from my answer on Stack Overflow:
The down/up side of this method is that, if you have multiple users, this change affects all of them. The up/up side is that it's dead simple. The only catch is that you have to restart Cygwin.
If you do use mkpasswd after this change, it will use your new default shell for all users that are allowed to log on.
1 The mkpasswd documentation says this:
Don't use this command to generate a local /etc/passwd file, unless you really need one. See the Cygwin User's Guide for more information.
I can't really find any solid reasoning in the user's guide, other than a mention that you'll have to regenerate the /etc/passwd and /etc/group files if your users and groups change, which I suppose is a decent enough reason. I can say that the process is somewhat error prone for newbies.
Assuming you're interested in changing the shell used in mintty/Cygwin Terminal, it first checks the SHELL environment variable, then the (now nonexistent) passwd file, then falls back to /bin/sh, which is what it seems to be doing by default.
I was able to set the SHELL environment variable in Windows to
/usr/bin/zsh and it worked without any other changes. I just changed it for my Windows user, not globally.
Setting an environment variable probably varies for different versions of Windows. Try searching for "environment" in your Windows Control Panel. For me, under Windows 7, it was Control Panel → System → Advanced System Settings, which brings up the System Properties control panel/dialog, then the Advanced tab, then the Environment Variables button, which brings up the Environment Variables dialog, then create a new user variable named
SHELL with the value
/usr/bin/zsh. Then OK back out of all of that and start a new mintty.
Just thought I'd add this answer in case it helps anyone who's looking for it. If you use chere (which adds a "Bash prompt here" option to the right-click context menu of any folder), you can set it to zsh ("Zsh Prompt Here") with:
chere -i -t mintty -s zsh
If you want to use Cygwin shell inside the IDE Intellij, then use following setup inside settings/tools/terminal
c:\cygwin\bin\zsh.exe -l -i
This will embed the cygwin shell inside intellij instead of spawning a new window