How to make the Windows 8.1 Command Prompt Sexy

In my mind, the command prompt is roughly tantamount to a PC tower case:

Its utility usurps its beauty.  

Let’s face it: most PC’s aren’t pretty; maybe yours in an exception but most of the PC’s I’ve seen emphasize function over form.

The command prompt is all about function.  You open that thing up, bang out a few commands and you’re done.

But I’m tired of using an ugly command prompt – and you should be too.  That’s why I’m going to show you how to make the prompt a little prettier on the eyes by adding color!

Check it out.

The Windows 10 command prompt is already innately sexy but what about the rest of use running Windows 8.1?

In Windows 8 or 8.1, press Windows Key + x and hit the letter c on your keyboard to conjure up the command prompt.

Now type the following command into the prompt:

color /?

Command prompt color attribute

Review the output and you’ll see all colors you can set.

So let’s make the command prompt look more like The Matrix.  You know what I’m talking about right?  I want to see hacker green text.  I want that color.

So based on the output of the color /? command we know zero is black and A is light green.  The first parameter represents the background color and the second parameter changes the foreground (font) color.

So if we can make the bright green text on a black background by typing this:

color 0a

Changing the command prompt colors


Let’s have some fun with this.  Remember the background doesn’t need to be black:

Check out what happens when I type

color f8

Changing the command prompt colors

or look at this one:

color 4c

Changing the command prompt colors again!

You can always reset the colors to the default setting by just typing the word color by itself


Resetting the command prompt color

Great.  But there’s an arguably easier way to customize color.  We’re going to use the built in visual interface to set the command prompt color.

Right click the title bar of the command prompt and choose Properties then click the Color tab.

Command prompt color properties

Now you can change the background and foreground colors by clicking the oils from your palette.

Feeling like Bob Ross now?

I can picture him, fro and all, painting a tree — and in that soft, cathartic voice saying…

And now for a little Burnt Cienna…

So check out my command prompt now.

Can you tell which is my wannabe PowerShell prompt and which is the real McCoy (ignore the giveaway title bars)

Powershell and it's sycophantic friend the command prompt

Yes yes, I know it looks like a silly caricature of the svelte Powershell prompt but it’s close enough for now.

I just want to share two quick things before I end this post:

Typing color won’t revert the changes made from the Properties menu.  To reset your color settings to the defaults you’ll need to go to Properties again and manually pick the original colors.

Secondly, the Properties menu technique saves your settings so after closing and re-opening the command prompt your colors remain.  This is different than the color command I showed you in the beginning because that won’t save your settings when you close the command prompt.

That’s it!


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Posted in Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Vista Tagged with: , ,
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