I've tried to create color schemes with https://terminal.sexy and http://ciembor.github.io/4bit/ but I can't get any of their exports to work with bash on Ubuntu on Windows.

What's the correct approach to customize the colors in boUoW?

8 Answers 8


This is also a nice and easy solution, from https://medium.com/@iraklis/fixing-dark-blue-colors-on-windows-10-ubuntu-bash-c6b009f8b97c :

Append this to .bashrc:

export LS_COLORS

PS1='\e[37;1m\u@\e[35m\W\e[0m\$ ' # this will change your prompt format

And I found this useful too for vim's readability:

echo "set background=dark" >> .vimrc
  • 11
    But it doesn't explain what any of those parameters are. Since I want to specify different colors, this isn't really useful for doing that except by trial and error. Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 3:50
  • 1
    what is the definition syntax of these colors? For example, how do you change the color palette for directories? And for other stuff defined in here? Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 8:30
  • I mean, I get why this is not the chosen answer, but I confess that it serves me well. Thank you for that. Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 1:51

The problem is not specific to bash on Ubuntu for Windows, as the terminal is still provided by conhost.exe.

To change the colors, you can go into the Defaults:

enter image description here

And then you can click each individual color and change it to some other color.

enter image description here

The process is somewhat confusing, because by clicking a color rectangle, you're changing what is selected as the Screen Background. So you first have to change that selection, adjust the color and then change the selection back to your desired background color.

Overall, it is easier to just go with a different terminal or console emulator altogether. I personally use ConEmu now, which allows you to change color schemes much easier.

  • 3
    Setting Screen Text to black (0,0,0) and Screen Background to some sort of light yellow (255,255,150) has worked pretty well for me. See sample screenshot.
    – Yibo Yang
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 3:01
  • 4
    The terminal is not, and has never been, provided by cmd.exe. The console was provided directly by csrss from NT through XP, and then conhost.exe since Vista. Bash runs directly via conhost and never touches cmd.
    – Bob
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 15:27
  • @YiboYang close to your suggestion, there is (255, 255, 221), which is the "black on light yellow" theme from Gnome terminal.
    – Yamaneko
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 13:36

2019 Solution:

The official ColorTool from Microsoft can be used to change the overall color scheme without having to set each color by yourself.

Just download the zip file (search for Color Tool <Month> <Year> under Releases) and extract the tool to any folder. Then run it from your bash:

# run in wsl bash (or any other windows terminal)
# note that -x is required for wsl
./ColorTool.exe -x <scheme name>

# for the change to have permanent effect go to properties and click ok

Then you can easily import other color schemes in the iTerm format, by placing a .itermcolors file in the schemes folder of the ColorTool.

  • This was the cleanest, simplest, and easiest solution for me. Also I can understand what's going on, and change it later, which is a plus. Thanks!
    – GDP2
    Commented May 15, 2021 at 6:55
  • Also, the new Windows Terminal is supposed to be good for solving this problem: github.com/Microsoft/Terminal
    – GDP2
    Commented May 15, 2021 at 19:32

Same solution as the others with some more explanation for people like me (https://medium.com/@iraklis/fixing-dark-blue-colors-on-windows-10-ubuntu-bash-c6b009f8b97c)

cd /home/<user>
ls -a

You should find a .bashrc and make a BU

cp .bashrc .bashrcBU

add 2 lines

echo "LS_COLORS='rs=0:di=1;35:ln=01;36:mh=00:pi=40;33:so=01;35:do=01;35:bd=40;33;01:cd=40;33;01:or=40;31;01:su=37;41:sg=30;43:ca=30;41:tw=30;42:ow=34;42:st=37;44:ex=01;32:*.tar=01;31:*.tgz=01;31:*.arj=01;31:*.taz=01;31:*.lzh=01;31:*.lzma=01;31:*.tlz=01;31:*.txz=01;31:*.zip=01;31:*.z=01;31:*.Z=01;31:*.dz=01;31:*.gz=01;31:*.lz=01;31:*.xz=01;31:*.bz2=01;31:*.bz=01;31:*.tbz=01;31:*.tbz2=01;31:*.tz=01;31:*.deb=01;31:*.rpm=01;31:*.jar=01;31:*.war=01;31:*.ear=01;31:*.sar=01;31:*.rar=01;31:*.ace=01;31:*.zoo=01;31:*.cpio=01;31:*.7z=01;31:*.rz=01;31:*.jpg=01;35:*.jpeg=01;35:*.gif=01;35:*.bmp=01;35:*.pbm=01;35:*.pgm=01;35:*.ppm=01;35:*.tga=01;35:*.xbm=01;35:*.xpm=01;35:*.tif=01;35:*.tiff=01;35:*.png=01;35:*.svg=01;35:*.svgz=01;35:*.mng=01;35:*.pcx=01;35:*.mov=01;35:*.mpg=01;35:*.mpeg=01;35:*.m2v=01;35:*.mkv=01;35:*.webm=01;35:*.ogm=01;35:*.mp4=01;35:*.m4v=01;35:*.mp4v=01;35:*.vob=01;35:*.qt=01;35:*.nuv=01;35:*.wmv=01;35:*.asf=01;35:*.rm=01;35:*.rmvb=01;35:*.flc=01;35:*.avi=01;35:*.fli=01;35:*.flv=01;35:*.gl=01;35:*.dl=01;35:*.xcf=01;35:*.xwd=01;35:*.yuv=01;35:*.cgm=01;35:*.emf=01;35:*.axv=01;35:*.anx=01;35:*.ogv=01;35:*.ogx=01;35:*.aac=00;36:*.au=00;36:*.flac=00;36:*.mid=00;36:*.midi=00;36:*.mka=00;36:*.mp3=00;36:*.mpc=00;36:*.ogg=00;36:*.ra=00;36:*.wav=00;36:*.axa=00;36:*.oga=00;36:*.spx=00;36:*.xspf=00;36:';" >> .bashrc
echo "export LS_COLORS" >> .bashrc

before change vim also background to see correctly

echo "set background=dark" >> .vimrc

quit and restart

You then still have the path in the name with this strange blue color. You can modify this via PS1. Here the source (https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/219125/is-there-a-way-to-change-the-font-color-of-the-current-path-in-termial)

echo $PS1
\[\e]0;\u@\h: \w\a\]${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\[\033[01;32m\]\u@\h\[\033[00m\]:\[\033[01;34m\]\w\[\033[00m\]\$

By me the balise [\033[01;34m]*[\033[00m] is the blue color so I change the color in pink [\033[01;34m]*[\033[00m]. To overwrite PS1


You could do it this way, but it will not be permanent, and this variable will be deleted at the end of the session.

PS1='\[\e]0;\u@\h: \w\a\]${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\[\033[01;32m\]\u@\h\[\033[00m\]:\[\033[00m\]\w\[\033[00m\]\$'

To make it permanent you have to write it to a file that will be loaded at the beginning of a session, like the precedent .bashrc.

echo "PS1='\[\e]0;\u@\h: \w\a\]${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\[\033[01;32m\]\u@\h\[\033[00m\]:\[\033[01;35m\]\w\[\033[00m\]\$'" >> .bashrc
  • Thanks so much! You save my life-time with this simple explanation
    – pinguinone
    Commented Apr 1, 2020 at 8:16

I don't think the UI lets you change all ANSI colors, you'd have to edit them via the registry.

There is already a solarized-dark theme that works quite well on https://github.com/neilpa/cmd-colors-solarized

(close/open the console window to activate)


You can use windows cmd's color customization to customize boW. Simply click on the small ubuntu icon in top right corner and click properties.

Also, to customize the prompt, you can use

export PS1="\e[0;31m[\u@\h \W]\$ \e[m "

which will change only the prompt to red and so on.

As such, colors seem to work fine on boW. The above sites won't work as they create config files for specific terminal emulators, but its just cmd here.

  • 2
    The Properties dialog allows me to set foreground and background color, but not the color scheme. Unless I'm missing something here. Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 13:56
  • 2
    Okay, you can adjust the color scheme that way. You have to select a color from the palette, adjust the RGB, then go to the next one and then finally select what background color you want again. Your answer could have been a bit clearer Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 8:12

Also looking for a solution, found this SuperUser post then this post from MS Understanding Windows Console Host Settings

What it basically amounts to is all the settings are stored in the Shortcut file itself upon creation in the Start menu / Pinned to taskbar. Which can then be changed by modifying the properties.

Everything including colors can be customized in registry entry [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Console\Git Bash] using properties outlined in the MS post, but to realize the change bash.exe must be executed directly by running "C:\Windows\System32\bash.exe" via Windows+R to force Windows to stop reading config in after the registry entries.

Once satisfied with the config, create new shortcut links in start and pin-to taskbar (if that's your thing).

Argument for doing it this way, is sweeping changes are easier to manage (say a new color scheme try out?) through .reg file than through tedious making and saving changes to a shortcut file.


What's the correct approach to customize the colors in boUoW?

As others have mentioned, .bashrc is usually your goto for adding the code.

The colors operate on 'escape sequences'. e.g. the sequence for Light Blue is \033[1;34m

The Linux Command Line book covers in detail changing color and format of prompt. Chapter 13: Custominzing The Prompt: Adding Color pg. 183

"Released under a Creative Commons license, this book is available for free download in PDF format."

Highly reccomended reading/reference for those who want to know more of the 'why' behind the CLI.

Alternatively :

It has some baked in color in the .bashrc if you uncomment a line, remove the '#' symbol.
Line 39: #force_color_prompt=yes

Either modify this file in Ubuntu nano or similar editor. Or using Windows, navigate to the folder (CAUTION: you can potentially screw things up in here.) C:\Users\"YourUserName"\AppData\Local\Packages\CanonicalGroupLimited.UbuntuonWindows_79rhkp1fndgsc\LocalState\rootfs\root

and open the .bashrc file using Vim, emacs, notepad++, etc, to edit. Usually best to avoid using Windows Notepad, has been know to cause problems in the past.

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