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Lots of people used to ask whether PuTTY would be able to act as a front end for Windows command interpreters (Command Prompt, bash, etc), in place of the not-very-pleasant standard console window.
Some advantages of this (and probably not all of them):
This wishlist item was raised at Mayhem difficulty, because at the
time it was originally suggested, there was essentially no way to do
it reliably. I (SGT) did some experimental work, which involved
instantiating a Windows console as a hidden window, and using the same
console API used by applications running in the console to read out
its screen buffer and transfer that into the PuTTY window. This was
unreliable in corner cases (in particular, I never got keypresses like
Ctrl-C to cause the right things to happen in the hidden console), and
it involved some extremely intrusive refactoring of PuTTY itself (you
basically needed two totally different shapes of backend, one emitting
an escape-sequence stream fed to
terminal.c and the other
directly providing updates to a rectangular character grid).
But in 2018, Windows itself helped out, by introducing the new ConPTY interface to newer versions of Windows 10, which means now the Windows API itself does the hard part, and all you have to do is to interpret the escape-sequence stream you get back.
As of 2022-05, we're now building an experimental
pterm.exe for Windows. It's not part of the installer or
putty.zip yet, but it's linked from the Download page, so
you can download it and give it a try.
There's one known issue, involving bad handling of line wrapping on Windows 10. We think that's actually a Windows issue: see win-pterm-line-wrap.
If your version of Windows is too old for
work at all, you'll see the error message Pseudo-console API is not
available on this Windows system.