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Friday, July 29, 2005

Modify the color of your Command Prompt

For some, this may be one of the first mods you ever did on your Win95 machine, but for others, it could be a cool new trick that really changes the feel of your Command Prompt window. I spend hours a day at work using the Command Prompt and I just couldn't stand the boring grey and black color scheme anymore. So one day, I went exploring into the depths of the Command tool and here are the tips I pulled out.

You can actually change the color of your command window many different ways, but this way is by far the best. It is the most direct and ultimate way that works everytime, no matter what other settings you may already have set. To get started, you will first need to experiment with some style choices. From the Command Prompt (I'm assuming you know how to get there or you probably wouldn't have kept reading this far), type 'color help'. This will bring up the manual entry on the color command. From the entry, we see a list of digit to color representations and we see that to change the color, all you need to type is the word 'color' followed by two hex digits. For example, to get the prompt looking the way I have it now, you would type 'color 0c'. You should play around with these values until you get a color scheme that you like. Once you have a background and text color that you like, you need to enter it into the registry for it to be the new default color. Write down or memorize the two hex digits that you want to make your new default color and type 'regedit' in the command prompt. This should bring up the Regsitry Editor (NOTE: the Registry contains some vary base level data about your operating system - do not alter or delete any values you do not understand, you just may kill your windows installation). Now, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Command Processor. Right-click on the default color variable and click modify. In the ValueData field enter the two digit hex number you want to represent your new color scheme (ex. mine is '0c'). Make sure the Hexadecimal radio button is chekced and hit 'Ok'. Close the Registry Editor and enjoy.

There are lots of other things you can play around with to alter the functionality of your command prompt. For instance, when the command prompt is open, right-click on the title bar of the window and go to 'Properties'. Within this window, their are several more modifications you can make. However, changing options through this window are not as definative as changing them through the Registry. For example, if you have already changed the default color of the command prompt through the registry (as described above) and then modify the colors through the properties tab, the colors will go back to your previously set default color as soon as you close the command prompt. As with anything, play around with the settings on your own to gather a full understanding of your system.
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