Command Prompt is Getting a Color Upgrade in the Fall Creators Update

Posted on August 3, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 15 Comments

The Windows 10 Console is Getting a Color Upgrade in the Fall Creators Update

Microsoft announced this week that it is updating the colors used by the Windows Console for the first time in over 20 years.

Yes, this is the environment used by Command Prompt, the command line interface that many probably still think of as “DOS.” It’s also used by PowerShell and the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

“The default color values have been changed to improve legibility of darker colors on modern screens, and to give the Console a more modern look and feel,” Microsoft’s Craig Loewen explains. “We actually tweaked all of the colors.”

According to Loewen, this rarely-touched part of Windows needed to be updated to accommodate modern display technology such as “nano-scale” 4K displays. But the reality is that the Windows Console was last updated, from a color palette perspective, back when CRT displays were the norm. So it’s not particularly well-suited for any LCD-style display, regardless of its age.

You can test this new Windows Console in Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16257, which arrived last night. With one caveat: If you upgrade to this build, as most will, you’ll still see the “legacy” console (a hilarious redundancy, when you think about it). To get the new console, you need to do a clean install. So unless Microsoft ships that ISOs, that probably means upgrading and then resetting for now.

They did this to preserve users’ console color customizations, by the way. But Microsoft says it will soon publish a tool that will help you apply the new color schemes to Windows Console.


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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Command Prompt is Getting a Color Upgrade in the Fall Creators Update”

  1. madthinus

    Really now.

  2. Tony Barrett

    OMG. This is huge - I mean massive. Hold the front pages. MS must have spent months on this, with all their top people working extra shifts to get it ready in time. Well done Microsoft.

    FWIW, I've always changed my console colours to black on pale yellow (*nix like). Looks way nicer.

  3. Patrick3D

    From those screenshots, the legacy scheme is easier to read, must be these cheap 1080P 24" LCD monitors at work.

  4. karlinhigh

    When tech writers tend to say "legacy" as a bad thing, I hear "normal" or "international standard" as a good thing.

    So Microsoft is working on the console? I'm a little excited, and a little anxious. Since each new version of Windows seems to re-arrange important user interfaces to match whatever's in fashion at the moment, I've taken to using keyboard shortcuts, the run command, and the console to get things done. When start menu Cortana search started showing web results after a 5-second delay instead of things that actually reside on my computer, this tendency greatly increased. Is my last bastion of normalcy going to be enhanced or destroyed now that Microsoft's attention has been drawn to it?

  5. F4IL

    Maybe i misunderstood this but... you have to do a clean install of the entire OS for the new color scheme?

    • MikeGalos

      In reply to F4IL:

      Yes. They intentionally preserved the old colors on upgrade so people wouldn't lose customization.

      They also said they'd be sending out a utility to switch to the new colors later in the preview process for people who want the new colors on an existing install.

      • F4IL

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Wow, that's good to know. A utility (or a relevant setting in the application) would be really helpful for people who want to try it out without reinstalling everything.

  6. Waethorn

    At least it's better than the original EGA/Tandy 16-colour palette. Originally in DOS, "yellow" was actually brown. "Light yellow" was what you'd consider normal yellow.

  7. Winner

    So glad that Microsoft focuses on this critical item and not that polishing up/finishing up of Windows 10 details like Paul mentions...

  8. CaedenV

    So... maybe I am missing something, but the old color scheme looks way easier to read across the board than the new ones?

    But then again I am on a crappy TN panel. Maybe this is more for people running Amoled displays?

  9. DadCooks

    On all my 1080P LCD monitors/screens from 10-inches to 27-inches the Legacy Scheme is far superior in clarity and contrast.

    I don't have any 4K displays so is this Microsoft's plan to obsolete all but high-end high-resolution monitors?

  10. skane2600

    A CLI remains ancient tech no matter what colors it uses. Do they make color Teletype machines these days?