To try to determine the window width, this patch which uses the "mode con" command was committed:
#1078514: Determining the number of columns on Windows


  if (!($columns = getenv('COLUMNS'))) {
    // Trying to export the columns using stty.
    exec('stty size 2>&1', $columns_output, $columns_status);
    if (!$columns_status) $columns = preg_replace('/\d+\s(\d+)/', '$1', $columns_output[0], -1, $columns_count);

    // If stty fails and Drush us running on Windows are we trying with mode con.
    if (($columns_status || !$columns_count) && drush_is_windows() && version_compare(phpversion(), '5.3.0') > -1) {
      $columns_output = array();
      exec('mode con', $columns_output, $columns_status);
      if (!$columns_status && is_array($columns_output)) {
        $columns = (int)preg_replace('/\D/', '', $columns_output[4], -1, $columns_count);

    // Failling back to default columns value
    if (empty($columns)) {
      $columns = 80;

Alas on Windows 7, there apparently is no mode command. I tried cmd, powershell, and cygwin. On my Vista machine, it does work with powershell. There is a test for PHP version. I'm wondering if this was actually related to windows version?

The support solution is to simply define a windows environment variable of COLUMNS and whatever number you want. (If you set it wider than 80, then adjust the shell's properties by clicking on the icon in the title bar of the shell window.)

I'm not sure what to suggest, other than to perhaps issue a message to suggest setting COLUMNS as an environment variable, should mode not return the desired result. Maybe something to the effect of "Your terminal window does not support the 'mode' command which Drush uses to set the column width of its output. To avoid this message, set a Windows Environment named COLUMNS=80 (or other desired value) to avoid this message." Hideous, I know.

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greg.1.anderson’s picture

Issue tags: +Windows

Hm, it's been a while since I've fired up Windows 7, but I could have sworn that mode worked there for me.

If mode does not work, I am not very fond of the idea of Drush printing a warning message every single time. I think that leaving the default behavior of always wrapping to 80 columns, with perhaps an addition to the documentation, would be better. (Docs patches welcome.)

Anyone in Windows land have any extra info or advice on column detection on that platform?

DanChadwick’s picture

Well the message would be no worse than the "mode is not a recognized command" error that you get with every Drush command. ;) At least one could fix the problem, which would both give the option of setting the columns and silencing the message.

Or is there a way to call exec and suppress the error to the console? That would work too.

greg.1.anderson’s picture

Yes, I agree that the error message should be suppressed when the mode command is missing. exec('mode con 2>/dev/null', $columns_output, $columns_status); might do the trick there.

DanChadwick’s picture

Status: Active » Reviewed & tested by the community

#3 works in so far as it avoids the message. Assuming Greg has confirmed that it works when mode is available, I'd say #3 is RTBC.

greg.1.anderson’s picture

Status: Reviewed & tested by the community » Active

Setting status to 'active', since there is no patch, but I agree that if mode con 2>/dev/null still works fine on systems with the mode command, that this change could be easily committed.

DanChadwick’s picture

Status: Active » Needs review
730 bytes

@greg -- sorry. I misunderstood your workflow (since it was your idea and you're a co-maintainer). Here's a patch. Thanks for your help on Drush.

I changed the status back to needs review, although maybe it should be RTBC.

greg.1.anderson’s picture

rtbc after it has been tested on a windows system with the mode command. I will help out here when I have time, but I'm slammed right now, and I don't usually work on Windows systems. Setting status to strict definition allows others to see what stage the issue is at, so they can pitch in if desired.

DanChadwick’s picture

Status: Needs review » Needs work

On Windows 7:
- MinGW32:
-- mode doesn't work
-- 2>/dev/null results in no error message
-- 2>nul results in no error message
- PowerShell
-- mode doesn't work
-- 2> error redirection seem to work regardless of target (even a valid filename). An error is generated.
- Cygwin
-- mode doesn't work
-- 2>/dev/null results in no error message
-- 2>nul results in an actual nasty file named 'nul', which Cygwin can delete, but the windows explorer can't delete or rename.

On Windows Vista:
- MinGW32: same as Windows 7
- PowerShell
-- mode does work
-- 2> error redirection to either null device doesn't work; an error is generated
-- 2> error redirection to a file does work (creates an empty file with no error)
- Cygwin: same as Windows 7

Based on this and absent further info, I would suggest that a message be displayed should 'mode con' fail. At least the user can then add the COLUMNS environment variable to both suppress the message and get the functionality they want.

greg.1.anderson’s picture

Since it's hard to correctly suppress the error message for all shells and all platforms, I agree that a message is okay. I'll commit any submitted patch for Windows that does this after I test on Linux (which should behave the same, since all code is inside a drush_is_windows() test).

DanChadwick’s picture

Status: Needs work » Needs review
599 bytes

The message says:

Drush could not detect the console window width. Set a Windows Environment Variable of COLUMNS to the desired width.

greg.1.anderson’s picture

Status: Needs review » Fixed

Committed to 8.x-6.x and 7.x-5.x. Thanks.

Automatically closed -- issue fixed for 2 weeks with no activity.