WSL 2 prompt with the Powerlevel10k theme

I'm using Windows for quite some time now, but honestly, it hasn't been the most comfortable operating system when you're creating software. Sure, there are workarounds, but the integration of development tools doesn't feel as smooth as on, for instance, Ubuntu. But, and this is a big but, since Microsoft introduced WSL, finally a natively supported shell is available, providing all the beautiful command-line tools that Ubuntu offers out of the box.

I've installed WSL 2, having Ubuntu as the Linux distribution and using the Windows Terminal. To improve the "command-line experience" significantly, I'm using the Powerlevel10k theme. Yes, a shell can have a theme too :) Its functionality goes way beyond changing the color palette to improve readability. For instance, the instant prompt feature ensures that you can type immediately, even when plugins are loaded, and the transient prompt trims down unnecessary information from previous commands. The thing I like the most is the status information shown when you're in a version-controlled directory. Typing git status has become a habit of the past for me.

To use Powerlevel10k, you first have to install Zsh (i.e., the Z shell), and I like to do this in combination with Oh My Zsh. Open up the WSL 2 prompt (via Windows Terminal) and perform:

sudo apt install zsh
sudo usermod -s /usr/bin/zsh $(whoami)
sh -c "$(curl -fsSL"
git clone --depth=1 ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-$HOME/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/themes/powerlevel10k

These commands install Zsh, make it the default shell (when using WSL 2 prompt, of course), use Oh My Zsh to manage the Zsh configuration, and clone the Powerlevel10k in the folder for custom themes. After this, set ZSH_THEME="powerlevel10k/powerlevel10k" in your ~/.zshrc file.

To take full advantage of all available style options that Powerlevel10k offers, install the recommended Meslo Nerd Font patched for Powerlevel10k in your system. And then indicate in the Windows Terminal settings file (pressing ctrl + ,  opens settings.json in your default editor) to use the MesloLGS NF font for the fontFace property:

    "defaultProfile": "<guid token>",
            // Put settings here that you want to apply to all profiles.
            "cursorShape": "underscore",
            "fontFace": "MesloLGS NF"
                "guid": "<guid token>",
                "hidden": false,
                "name": "Ubuntu",
                "startingDirectory": "//wsl$/Ubuntu/home/<user name>/",
                "source": "Windows.Terminal.Wsl"

In the example above, the defaultProfile points to the Ubuntu shell GUID, which ensures the Ubuntu shell is used when the Windows Terminal is opened. I like to use an underscore for the cursorShape property, and to start in your WSL home directory, set the startingDirectory property.

Now close and reopen the Windows Terminal, and answer the question of the Powerlevel10k configuration wizard. This wizard can also be started by running p10k configure.

Below is a screenshot of the prompt I use. As you can see, I've checked out the develop branch of this site, which is in sync with the remote repository located at Bitbucket (indicated by the icon).

Screenshot of WSL 2 prompt with the Powerlevel10k theme


Windows Terminal
Oh My Zsh


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