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The Windows console colors have been the same for twenty years. You’ll often see brands keep the same colors just for the sake of familiarity, even when they don’t like the look of them very much anymore. Sometimes colors are chosen because of the psychological meaning behind them, and other times they just have some type of sentimental connection to the person picking them, by either meaning something to them personally or just being a color that they like to look at.

Sometimes colors need updating to suit modern day technology better. That’s apparently the explanation why the Windows console is now getting a color upgrade. The move is said to “improve legibility” (or readability) on the screens when you look at them.

There have been two colors to date that people know from the console: a bright green and a bright blue. The type of blue and green that you see are similar tones for their respective colors. That’s typically the right thing to do when trying to pick colors that go well together because it matches up on the opposite spectrum of the color chart. Those are the colors that are said to work well together. The problem in this instance though is that the blue is hard to see when used on the dark background.

You should now find the colors make it easier to read the text when using the color console in Windows operating systems going forward. The change was brought up as of build 16257.

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’ll soon be publishing a tool that will help you apply this new scheme and a selection of alternative color schemes to your Windows Console. Stay tuned for more details.

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

Source: Microsoft blogs

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