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Microsoft Is Updating the Windows Console Colors For the First Time In 20 Years ( 142

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Microsoft is giving its Windows Console (Command Prompt) a color overhaul. Windows 10 testers will be able to try out the new color scheme in a new build (16257) that will available later today. Windows Console's legacy blue is getting a subtle change to make it more legible on modern high-contrast displays, alongside color changes to the entire scheme. Windows 10 testers will only see the new colors if they clean install build 16257, and if you upgrade you'll keep the legacy colors to ensure any custom color settings are not replaced. Microsoft is planning to release a tool soon that will allow Windows 10 testers to apply the new color scheme and a selection of alternatives. Developers, you can thank Microsoft summer intern Craig Loewen for the overhaul.
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Microsoft Is Updating the Windows Console Colors For the First Time In 20 Years

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  • It's blue?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @04:22PM (#54928911)
    I've always changed mine to the proper white on black. Or green on black for that 1984 Hackers look...
    • The article isn't worded very well, but looking at the pictures, I think it simply means wherever the console *used* blue before, that blue color will now be brighter. AFAIK, the default *background* has always been black for good old cmd.exe.
      • Re:It's blue?! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @04:44PM (#54929083)

        I don't see how this is a "new feature". You've been able to change the colors to anything you want for as long as I can remember.

        Properties --> Colors

        I guess they've given up on fixing the billion other things that are wrong with Windows 10.

        • Yep..I always just go to black with green text on every CLI I set up to work on....
          • by eam3 ( 962365 )
            I do black with green for regular command prompt. Black with amber for Admin command prompt.
        • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

          I guess they've given up on fixing the billion other things that are wrong with Windows 10.

          When every bug you fix introduces two new problems, the only way to win the game is not to play. :(

        • Re:It's blue?! (Score:5, Informative)

          by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @09:53PM (#54930791) Journal

          I think you've misunderstood a bit. I had the same first reaction as you, but then read the article.

          They changed the colors used to represent the colors you can change to.

          For example, I've always changed mine to a yellow or bright green on dark blue background. If you look at the examples in the article, you can see that was a very high contrast but somewhat restful combination before. It is now actually reduced in contrast and I can't see a color combination in the new example that I would find comfortable.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            I concur. There's no way to tell the difference between the two shades of purple on most backgrounds now, either. Good old Microsoft "fixing" things that weren't broken. :(
        • by yagu ( 721525 )
          a billion other things wrong with Windows 10

          I don't think anyone would ever need more than that.

        • by mea2214 ( 935585 )
          It's Malibu Stacy with a new hat.
      • It is exactly this.

        In the beginning was the CGA/EGA 16-color text mode palette.

        They've adjusted some of those colors a little bit.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      OMG It's 1990 and X Windows lets you select Cornflower Blue, or any of dozens of similarly odd color names, to any part of your 'command' window

      I am left wondering why it took so damned long for MS to do the same, since they pretty much ripped of the whole X Windows idea in the first place

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
      Maybe they mean the powershell console (which is the default console on a fresh install after the April update on 10).
    • Amber on black, you insensitive clod! Not all of us could afford a green monochrome monitor.
    • by s.petry ( 762400 )

      Isn't blue background the powershell default?

      Like you, I prefer to work white/green on black. Some of the newer utility color schemes (vim) suck with a black background, so you need either turn off the colors or change background to white.

    • VT-52 green is a wonderful fashion statement

    • by hawk ( 1151 )

      The times I've had to use windows, it always seemed to turn blue soon enough . . . :)


  • by thegreatbob ( 693104 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @04:23PM (#54928919) Journal
    I could've sworn the legacy console colors were black and not-quite-white. I've only seen the blue scheme in PowerShell.
  • ... the black screen of death. And the blue screen of death. What else?

    • You forgot the black and blue, and screams of living with Windows.
    • Red screen of death (bootloader implosion), the bluish screen of death (windows 8/10 default), and a green screen of death in preview builds of 10. I'm not aware of any others in WindowsLand, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were.
    • The colors also used to be configurable (dunno about the graphical mode form of Win8+) via SYSTEM.INI. Potentially useful in a high security environment to make the screen unreadable, to make a specific machine more identifiable, or just for kicks.
      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        The colors also used to be configurable

        To digress: I remember the time when the BSOD screen saver made it's way around our company. Numerous calls were made to IT support when people would leave their PC for a few minutes and return to what looked like a crashed system.

  • Looks like the new color scheme would make it much easier to spot floating eyes.

    That was my motivation for making a similar change to the blue on my xterm.

    • by hord ( 5016115 )

      I play blindfolded. And die a lot.

    • Ha! That was the first thing I thought of as well. That's why I always change the default CGA-ish Dark blue in various terminals to "DodgerBlue"

      I also change DIR 01;34 to DIR 37;44 in /etc/DIR_COLORS (it makes directory names show up as white text on a light blue background)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @04:32PM (#54928997)

    See subject: This is an old trick you could do in DOS via ANSI.SYS loading in config.sys ala DEVICE = C:\DOS\ANSI.SYS & then in autoexec.bat using $e[xx;yy;zzm
    where xx = attribute code, yy = foreground color code, and zz = background color code.

    A table of the color codes follows:

    Code Color
    0 Turn Off Attributes
    1 High Intensity
    2 Normal Intensity
    4 Underline (mono only)
    5 Blink
    7 Reverse Video
    8 Invisible
    30 Black
    31 Red
    32 Green
    33 Yellow
    34 Blue
    35 Magenta
    36 Cyan
    37 White
    40 Black
    41 Red
    42 Green
    43 Yellow
    44 Blue
    45 Magenta
    46 Cyan
    47 White
    For example, the following command will result in a bright red C:\> prompt and bright yellow text on a blue background.

        C:\> prompt $e[1;31;44m$p$g$e[1;33;44m


    P.S.=> See subject - it's been done, long ago.. apk

    • Every moderator who moderated the parent up needs to go RTFA. Nothing in the parent post allows one to change the actual colors used to represent the ANSI color codes. That is what MS has done. Amongst others, blue is no longer the same blue.
    • The article has nothing to do with changing your console prompt to a set of predefined colours. The change here is that the pre-defined colours have been changed so that you can actually read 34 on 40 for example.

    • They have actually redefined the RGB values of those colours, supposedly to better suit LCD monitors.

      You couldn't do that originally under DOS because the various graphics adaptors of the day emulated ancient text modes that only supported digital colour and half-bright. That is, each of the red, green and blue channels could be binary on/off and a binary half brightness applied to all of them, so the available colours were (hex RGB values):

      000 black
      00F blue
      0F0 green
      0FF cyan
      F00 red
      F0F magenta
      FF0 yellow
      FFF white
      007 dark blue
      070 dark green
      077 dark cyan
      700 dark red
      707 dark magenta
      770 dark yellow
      777 grey (default text colour in DOS)

  • by ITRambo ( 1467509 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @04:37PM (#54929041)
    I'm not sure where the information came from, but I presume that the change is to Powershell and not to the Command Prompt, which in Windows 10 defaults to a black screen with white text. Powershell defaults to a blue screen with white text.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Which black, which blue? :-)

      Read the actual Microsoft information [], it's actually conhost.exe (which is the actual 'console renderer' -- think 'xterm' in linux terms); used by powershell AND cmd (and any other console-mode program).

      And it's about redefining the ANSI colours to RGB value mapping (e.g., DARK_BLUE goes from 0,0,128 to 0,55,128. lightening it somewhat to be appealing on today's higher contrast displays.) It's still blue, it's just a different blue.

      And it's the default mapping being changed (so

      • There is LITERALLY only 1 black.
    • by Ubi_NL ( 313657 )

      Maybe you should try reading TFA beforing concluding the story is wrong. This is not about the background, it is about the coloring scheme defaults in cmd.exe. I agree it is a bit far-fetched to call this an overhaul though.

  • Wow, just wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcle ( 1575627 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @04:37PM (#54929043)

    We should all be grateful that the insanely talented coders at Microsoft were able to perform such a thrilling technical feat. It must have been incredibly difficult, as evidenced by how long it took.
    This is no doubt why Windows 10 is so buggy, since so many team members were slaving away adding colors to the terminal window instead of actually, you know, trying to fix the operating system.

    • Every element in Xwindows can have its color specified in RGB, and window managers as primitive as MWM allowed a clear hierarchy to specify the colors. How old is that? 20 years? 30 years?

      Multiple work spaces have existed from 1990s in all unix systems. Even now in Win10, finally some lame way MS has implemented it. Still does not allow windows to moved easily or pinned. Worst thing, there is no indication to tell which work space you are in. No way to customize it. One of the first things I did when I joi

    • by rogoshen1 ( 2922505 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @05:10PM (#54929279)

      Do you have *any* idea how much telemetry they need to go through? Every click, every window, every interaction -- everything!

      Once Team Windows gets that telemetry data back from the NSA, they still need to sift through it, and then look for ways to improve the OS.

      But once they start getting caught up, you'll see more game changing improvements out of Redmond.

    • since so many team members were slaving away adding colors to the terminal window

      Slashdot fail. When making a hyperbolic claim you need to reference something in TFA, not TFS. There's always a risk someone may read TFS and then point out that this was done by a single summer intern.

      Or maybe you're making a subtle joke that all of Windows 10 is managed by one summer intern in which case I tip my hat to you.

  • I mean after all if they are fixing unimportant things like this it must mean that they have fixed every other bug in existence. It will be wonderful to finally get to use 100% bug free software.
    • It's like the 1960s color TV fad all over again... Definitely makes Windows worth a 2nd look, dontcha think?!

      Windows console - now in COLOR!
    • by tomxor ( 2379126 )

      I mean after all if they are fixing unimportant things like this it must mean that they have fixed every other bug in existence. It will be wonderful to finally get to use 100% bug free software.

      No need for sarcasm... Microsoft has had bug free software since 1981, it's called DOS, although they didn't write it - maybe that's why.

  • The BSOD Blue Screen of Death is also getting an overhaul, and it would inherit the color scheme from the upgraded console. No longer limited to the standard blue, you can have a choice of translucent, iridescent, fluorescent, speckled and coruscant versions of blue.
    • by tomxor ( 2379126 )

      The BSOD Blue Screen of Death is also getting an overhaul, and it would inherit the color scheme from the upgraded console. No longer limited to the standard blue, you can have a choice of translucent, iridescent, fluorescent, speckled and coruscant versions of blue.

      No it's more advanced than that... the BSOD themes are going to be in-death purchases, the transactions will be handled by a intel ME firmware module to allow the system to continue crashing unhindered.

  • This is ground breaking and truly innovative.

    Who cares about having multiple tabs or unicode? The reason why millions switched to mac os x was that the blue in the console was too dark.

  • I will forever remember where I was when I learned about such momentous news. There is no gainsaying that the world will be an utterly different place after this epoch-making development.
  • All they're doing is adding mauve to the palette.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    C:\>COLOR AB
    Where : A is background color and B: Is forreground color.
    Colors could be like:
    0: Black
    1: Blue
    2: Green
    3: Cyan
    4: Red
    5: Purple
    6: Yellow
    7: White
    8: Gray
    9: Light Blue
    A: Light Green
    B: Light Cyan
    C: Light Red
    D: Light Purple
    E:Light Yellow
    F: Bright White

  • Windows Version one-point-oh finally hits primetime!

    Kinda odd how everyone refers to this version as "ten"

  • by sombragris ( 246383 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2017 @08:30PM (#54930453) Homepage

    From TFA:

    It’s a minor change, but if you’re familiar with the Windows Console then it’s a welcome addition that developers have been asking for. It’s also a particularly relevant change now that Microsoft is supporting its own console alongside Bash, and another example of Microsoft paying attention to the small things that matter in Windows 10.

    Yeah right. If MS is paying attention to small things that matter and things developers (and other people) were asking for, why then they did not restore Classic style? Or disable telemetry...? Or refrain from forcing updates down our throats...?

    The original article is nothing but blatant ad copy thinly disguised as editorial content. In other words, an advertorial.

  • your text paints like I'm on a 300 baud modem and the scroll buffer is unusable. Fix fundamental issues with the app, you can already get far better console apps like cmder for windows, you should worry about coming to usability parity before freaking colors.

  • 20 years and that's all we get?! The console with DOS 25 years ago was more powerful than what we have today! After decades of waiting for something _at_least_ as good as we had back then, I got sick of waiting and found ConEmu. It's a wonderful console. I can't imagine ever going back to the built-in Windows console.

  • I'm using an alternative shell because the standard Windows one still doesn't support selection with the mouse, or the standard Ctrl-X/C/V shortcuts.

  • Microsoft have the inexplicable practice of radically altering the look and experience of Windows while leaving some of the most fundamental tools broken or seriously deficient. Things like msconfig, notepad, paint, calc, etc.

    Compare Conemu or other console replacements to the default and it's quite obvious it has more problems than a simple colour scheme. Just being able to horizontally resize the console would be nice, or allowing it to handle standard escape codes, or selection / copy behaviour or usin

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