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How To Personalize the Windows Command Prompt

Command line interfaces can be downright boring and always seem to miss out on the fresh coats of paint liberally applied to the rest of Windows.  Here’s how to add a splash of color to Command Prompt and make it unique.

By default, Windows Command Prompt is white text on a black background. It gets the job done, but maybe you want to add some color to it.

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To get an overview of what we can do with the color command, let’s enter:

color /?

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To get the color you want, enter color, then the option for the background color followed by the font color.  For example, let’s make an old-fashioned green on black look by entering:

color 02

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There are a bunch of different combinations you can do, like this black background with red text.

color 04

sshot-2010-05-05-[14-55-24]

You can’t mess it up too much.  The color command won’t let you set both the font and the background to the same color, which would make it unreadable.  Also, if you want to get back to the default settings, just enter:

color

Now we’re back to plain-old black and white.

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Personalize Command Prompt Without Commands

If you’d prefer to change the color without entering commands, just click on the Command Prompt icon in the top left corner of the window and select Properties.

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Select the Colors tab, and then choose the color you want for the screen text and background.  You can also enter your own RGB color combination if you want.

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Here we entered the RGB values to get a purple background color like Ubuntu 10.04.

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Back in the Properties dialog, you can also change your Command Prompt font from the font tab.  Choose any font you want as long as the one you want is one of the three listed here.

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Customizations you make via the Properties dialog are saved and will be used any time you open Command Prompt, but any customizations you make with the Color command are only for that session.

Conclusion

Whether you want to make your command prompt bright enough to cause a sunburn or old-style enough to scare a mainframe operator, with these settings, you can make Command Prompt a bit more unique.

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 09/10/14

RECOMMENDED POSTS

  • Tom Wilson

    don't forget the SET PROMPT command. The default is $P$G, which prints the path and the Greater-than sign.

    Back in the DOS days, I used to use a two-line prompt, to put the directory on its own line:

    C:\Users\tom>set prompt=$P$_:$s C:\Users\tom :

    Here is a list of the replacement tokens for the command prompt:

    http://www.computerhope.com/prompthl.htm

  • Michael Ramsdell

    I prefer set pompt=What is thy bidding master?cls

    then you get the following

  • Adam Olivero

    Love that Michael. We used to do this all the time in High School. It would drive the teachers up the walls.

  • Brian Ortiz

    Setting the font to Consolas is always the first thing I do.

  • CogniView

    This seems to have absolutely no use whatsoever, but it certainly is fun!

    I love being able to customize the little details, and I honestly didn't even know this possibility existed ... thanks for bringing more colour into my world!

  • Tom Wilson

    Here's one use: I run 2 Minecraft servers for my kid and her friends to play on. Because the GUI is messed up on my machine, I use the console version. By using two different colors and setting different titles, I can quickly see which server I'm looking at when I need to perform maintenance.

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