I'm using PuTTY to SSH from my PC at home to Linux computers at work, but some of the text (folder names) is dark blue on black, which is almost impossible to read. How do I change the colour-scheme?

My computer at home has Windows 7 in case it makes any difference.

  • 4
    Who in the heck thought dark blue on back in a good idea??
    – RonJohn
    Nov 27 '19 at 21:19

In the PuTTY configuration window on the left side (the category section) there is an expandable item called Window and under that item is Colours. That is where color changes can be made.

  • 7
    @Bec yes you can save the settings. In the same putty configuration window just type the host name in the text field where it says Saved Sessions then press the Save button. Oct 12 '10 at 4:20

Click on the System menu at the upper left corner of the PuTTY window.

  • Select Change Settings > Window > Colours.
  • In the box that says "Select a colour to adjust", choose ANSI Blue and click the Modify Button.
  • Slide the black arrow on the right up until you see a lighter shade of blue that you like.
  • Click OK.
  • Perform the same steps for ANSI Blue Bold so you can have a perceptible difference between the two.
  • When you're finished, click Apply.
  • 2
    It worked. I dont have a apply button. Make sure you select a saved Session and then change the color. Then save it! Jul 22 '15 at 9:32
  • 1
    Useful trick: You can open putty to a particular session using the -load command line option. So if you have a session named Pale Yellow, you can setup a shortcut that would open that session by using the Target line "G:\Program Files (x86)\PuTTY\putty.exe" -load "Pale Yellow" in the shortcut. Having multiple color schemes is handy for keeping track of which window is which system. Jun 8 '18 at 11:32

You can use the very awesome 4bit Terminal Color Scheme Designer to generate a full color scheme for your shell.

Just create a color scheme to your liking, then click the Get Scheme button and select putty.

After downloading the .reg file, just import it to your registry to get the new color scheme. By default the registry change will only affect new sessions, but you can also apply the scheme to existing saved sessions by changing the last part of the path in the .reg file.

  • Brilliant solution for this age old problem!
    – zb226
    Feb 6 '15 at 14:54
  • 2
    anything in 2018? unable to download .reg files from the site.
    – Kid101
    Jun 29 '18 at 17:53
  • Yea, cool idea but downloading the config files doesn't seem to work anymore Nov 12 '19 at 21:12

The default PuTTY color scheme is known to be tough on the eyes, I would recommend taking a look at Pretty PuTTY, Solarized PuTTY, or Solarized & Modern PuTTY for better color settings.

Screenshot of Pretty Putty:

Pretty PuTTY Light Light color scheme

Pretty PuTTY Dark Dark color scheme

Other Settings

In addition to PuTTY color settings you can configure:

  • .dir_colors for custom colors when using the ls --color=auto command.
  • .screenrc with the entry term screen-256color for 256 color support with screen.
  • In PuTTY Connection -> Data -> Terminal-type string to putty-256color.


In general avoid:

  • Solutions that modify the TERM variable in .bashrc.
  • Solutions that modify the Vim t_Co variable.

These are hacks rather than solutions.

Further reading


You may also want to make those colour changes to the default session so that all future sessions you save will have this.

  • how do i save the default session?
    – Kirt
    Oct 12 '10 at 2:49
  • 3
    Click 'Default Settings' in the Session category. Then Load. Make your changes, then click Save.
    – Dave
    Jan 12 '11 at 6:40

Open regedit.exe, and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SimonTatham\Putty\Sessions

For each saved session you have to specify the R,G,B code. The ANSI Blue is Colour14

For the Default Settings, you have to edit the colours for the Default%20Settings session

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