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How can a terminal layout be reset?

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Quick Answer

In most Linux and BSD terminal programs, the command "echo -e \\033c" resets the terminal layout; this command works on typical OS/X terminals as well. On Windows computers, deleting the "Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Console" item in the system registry resets its default look.

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Full Answer

Terminal emulators are common on Unix-like platforms, including most Linux distributions, BSD operating systems and Apple's OS/X operating system. These programs emulate the terminal interfaces of much older computers, and either sending an errant command or running a program that sends one can leave the terminal in an unusable state by changing its layout. The "echo -e \\033c" command resets this screen in most situations. Since this command can be difficult to remember, it's wise to write the command in a file named "reset" and make it to executable.

On Windows systems, the cmd.exe program operates similarly to terminal emulators but has fewer features. Because of this, it's less likely to become unusable due to layout problems. However, users can change it under the registry. By selecting "Run Program" and typing "regedit.exe", users can find the "HKEY_CURRENT_USER" registry entry. Double-clicking this opens a list of entries, including the "Console" entry, which saves setting and other information related to the Windows command prompt. Deleting this entry by right-clicking on it and selecting "Delete" causes Windows to rebuild the registry entry using default settings the next time a user runs it, thereby fixing layout issues.

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