I want to disable all color in my shell. Not ls, not nano, not vi, nothing. What's the best way to achieve this?

migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 6 '11 at 1:38

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if you are using PUTTY to remotely access the shell, then:
- on the left panel, click Colors
- uncheck the three boxes on the right panel (they are checked by default)

  • I'll have to switch to a terminal program that lets me do this. Thanks. – Poe Apr 6 '11 at 1:57
  • 1
    Geekosaur's answer is better for you, really. – ocodo Apr 6 '11 at 3:21
  • @slomojo his answer didn't work with my terminal client – Poe Apr 6 '11 at 9:46
  • 1
    Oh, interesting, which client is it? – ocodo Apr 6 '11 at 10:37
  • I'm using iTerm (OS X) and still getting color if I export TERM=vt220, and in 'ls' even after unsetting LS_COLORS – Poe Apr 7 '11 at 3:42

unset LS_COLORS; export TERM=xterm should do it, or at least get you most of the way there. You may need to change that to say TERM=vt220 for some overly "smart" programs.

  • 3
    Definitely recommend VT220 over XTERM. – ocodo Apr 6 '11 at 3:20
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    "xterm" is a color terminal, to disable colors you need TERM=xterm-mono – Idelic Apr 11 '11 at 21:37
xterm -cm

This will start an xterm with no colors.

  • This won't work if you have LS_COLORS set FYI. – lzap Oct 14 '16 at 14:22

I encountered the same problem while writing an SSH robot in Python (colors came out as jibberish when run through Visual Studio). The simplest solution was to open a new shell inside the other shell that was running.


This opened a fresh shell without any of my settings and all printouts was monochrome. It also reset the prompt which was a bonus for my intended purpose.

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