Updating the Windows Console Colors

Craig Loewen

In another blockbuster post, our Summer 2017 Intern, @craigaloewen unveils a subtle, but important improvement to the Console in Windows 10 build 16257. I know many of you have been asking for this! Over to you Craig …

The Windows Console’s colors are getting their first overhaul in more than 20 years! Hurray!

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 & feel.

For example, Windows Console’s legacy blue is very difficult to read on a modern high-contrast displays …

… and the improved blue is much more legible:

What might not be immediately apparent from the above screenshots is that we didn’t just change the blue, we actually tweaked **all **of the colors!

Why Change the Entire Color Scheme?

During the past 20 years, screens & display technology, contrast ratio, and resolution have changed significantly, from CRT’s through TFT LCD’s to modern-day nano-scale 4K displays.

The legacy default scheme was not built for modern displays and does not render as well on newer high-contrast LCD displays. This is particularly apparent with deeply saturated darker colors like blue.

The new default colors will modernize the look of the Windows Console and make it more congruent with other terminal experiences, such as the integrated terminal in VSCode.

Where Will I See these Changes?

If you clean-install a new build of Windows 10 >= 16257, you’ll get the new colors as the default Console scheme.

If you upgraded to this new build of Windows, you will still see the original legacy colors, not the new defaults! This is because we do NOT want to* *overwrite any of your existing custom color settings. To better understand how color settings are stored, please read this blog post on Windows Console settings.

So how will you see the new color scheme if you have upgraded from a previous build? We’ve also released a ColorTool with which you can apply this and a selection of alternative color schemes to your Windows Console.

The New Default Scheme Details

Here is the legacy color scheme (top), and the new default scheme (below):

Additionally, the following table describes the color scheme change in terms of RGB values.

Color Name Console Legacy RGB Values New Default RGB Values
BLACK 0,0,0 12,12,12
DARK_BLUE 0,0,128 0,55,218
DARK_GREEN 0,128,0 19,161,14
DARK_CYAN 0,128,128 58,150,221
DARK_RED 128,0,0 197,15,31
DARK_MAGENTA 128,0,128 136,23,152
DARK_YELLOW 128,128,0 193,156,0
DARK_WHITE 192,192,192 204,204,204
BRIGHT_BLACK 128,128,128 118,118,118
BRIGHT_BLUE 0,0,255 59,120,255
BRIGHT_GREEN 0,255,0 22,198,12
BRIGHT_CYAN 0,255,255 97,214,214
BRIGHT_RED 255,0,0 231,72,86
BRIGHT_MAGENTA 255,0,255 180,0,158
BRIGHT_YELLOW 255,255,0 249,241,165
WHITE 255,255,255 242,242,242



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