A console (or terminal) is an application that provides I/O to character-mode applications. This processor-independent mechanism makes it easy to port existing character-mode applications or to create new character-mode tools and applications.

A console consists of an input buffer and one or more screen buffers. The input buffer contains a queue of input records, each of which contains information about an input event. The input queue always includes key-press and key-release events. It may also include mouse events (pointer movements and button presses and releases) and events during which user actions affect the size of the active screen buffer. A screen buffer is a two-dimensional array of character and color data for output in a console window. Any number of processes can share a console.