Changing Colors in MS-DOS Shell (95099)

The information in this article applies to:
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0a
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.0

This article was previously published under Q95099


This article discusses changing colors in MS-DOS Shell and covers these two topics:
    Choosing Colors in MS-DOS Shell Generates a Beep
    Adding New Colors to MS-DOS Shell


Choosing Colors in MS-DOS Shell Generates a Beep

If your computer beeps when you try to choose Colors from the Options menu of MS-DOS Shell, the DOSSHELL.INI file is probably corrupt.

To change the colors, MS-DOS Shell looks in the DOSSHELL.INI file for a section that begins with the line:
   color =
If this section does not exist, choosing Color causes a beep. To correct this problem, expand the file EGA.IN_ (for an EGA or VGA monitor) on Disk 3 (MS-DOS 5.0 5.25-inch set) or Disk 2 (MS-DOS 6.0 5.25-inch set) or Disk 2 (MS-DOS 5.0 3.5-inch set) or Disk 1 (MS-DOS 6.0 3.5-inch set).

If you have a CGA monitor, the compressed file is CGA.IN_ instead of EGA.IN_. The EXPAND.EXE utility can be found on Disk 6 (5.25-inch set) or Disk 3 (3.5-inch set). The EGA.IN_ or CGA.IN_ file contains the same color information as the original DOSSHELL.INI. To get the color information into the DOSSHELL.INI, do the following (substitute "cga.in_" for "ega.in_" if you have a CGA monitor):

    Expand the file. For example:

    expand a:\ega.in_ c:\dos\color.txt

    Edit COLOR.TXT so only the color information is left in the file. To do this, you can use MS-DOS Editor.
    Combine the DOSSHELL.INI file with the COLOR.TXT file. Use the COPY command:

    copy c:\dos\dosshell.ini + c:\dos\color.txt c:\dos\dosshell.ini

You should now be able to change the color scheme in MS-DOS Shell.

Adding New Colors to MS-DOS Shell

To change the colors in MS-DOS Shell, choose Color from the Options menu. Only certain choices are available; to create more choices, you must edit the DOSSHELL.INI file.

The currentcolor= section is the color scheme being used. The color title is placed here. The color= section keeps records of all the available color schemes.

The color options for the following include:
   black         brightblack
   white         brightwhite
   red           brightred
   cyan          brightcyan
   magenta       brightmagenta
   green         brightgreen
   blue          brightblue
   brown         brightyellow
NOTE: There is no yellow or brightbrown color.

The DOSSHELL.INI color settings are as follows:
   Setting         Description
   -------         -----------

   color=          Header for the list of color schemes
   selection=      Header for a particular color scheme
   alert=          Color of a warning dialog box
   menubar=        Color of the menu bar
   menu=           Color of the menu text
   disabled=       Color of a disabled menu item
   accelerator=    Color of a menu accelerator
   dialog=         Color of a dialog box
   button=         Color of a button
   elevator=       Color of the list box elevator
   titlebar=       Color of the title bars when focused
   scrollbar=      Color of a scroll bar
   borders=        Color of the lines around menus and dialog boxes
   drivebox=       Color of the area around the drive icons
   driveicon=      Color of the drive icons
   cursor=         Color of the mouse cursor
You can change any part of the screen by changing the existing color name. You can create a new color scheme by copying one of the existing color schemes and changing the title and any of the individual colors. The name you choose for the new color scheme will be added to the Color Scheme dialog box.

Modification Type: Major Last Reviewed: 10/13/2003
Keywords: KB95099