Putting Together An Ubuntu Theme For Windows Terminal

Windows Terminal has proven to be one of my favorite additions to the PC world in a while. Coming from the Linux and Mac paradigm for the last decade-and-a-half, I felt like I needed a capable terminal emulator if I was going to be running a Windows machine as a daily driver again. Of course, the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) just makes me giggle with glee at being able to run Ubuntu at the hypervisor-level instead of using virtualization software like VMware to do the handful of specialized tasks that I would easily perform in a Mac/Linux terminal window.

Of course, if you’re going to have a modern terminal emulator, you need to be able to customize it. Under MacOS, I was rocking a classic green-on-black look that reminded me of playing Zork on an Apple II and was great for getting that “digging around under the hood” vibe. I’ll probably bring that look back for one of my specialized terminal implementations (maybe the dedicated Telnet profile I’ve set up for dialing into the occasional BBS), but for the Ubuntu profile, I wanted something that evoked the orange and purple color scheme that I’ve come to associate with my distro of choice. These colors aren’t exactly the official “on brand” colors that Canonical uses, but they get the idea across.

In Windows Terminal, you can access settings.json from the Settings tab and add the following data to the schemes section:

{
            "background": "#3C0315",
            "black": "#282A2E",
            "blue": "#0170C5",
            "brightBlack": "#676E7A",
            "brightBlue": "#80C8FF",
            "brightCyan": "#8ABEB7",
            "brightGreen": "#B5D680",
            "brightPurple": "#AC79BB",
            "brightRed": "#BD6D85",
            "brightWhite": "#FFFFFD",
            "brightYellow": "#FFFD76",
            "cursorColor": "#FFFFFF",
            "cyan": "#3F8D83",
            "foreground": "#FFFFFD",
            "green": "#76AB23",
            "name": "Ubuntu",
            "purple": "#7D498F",
            "red": "#BD0940",
            "selectionBackground": "#FFFFFF",
            "white": "#FFFFFD",
            "yellow": "#E0DE48"
}

Once you get this inserted, you should be able to select “Ubuntu” from the Color Scheme drop-down under the Appearance tab in your Ubuntu profile, and you’ll get a terminal that looks like this:

Ubuntu color scheme in Windows Terminal

Now that we’ve got the colors all set, we just need to add a custom icon to complete the look. I just grabbed a transparent *.png of the Ubuntu logo and converted it to an *.ico file. I’m weird in that I don’t really use my library folders the way they’re intended. I keep photos on my server, so I don’t have much use for the Pictures library folder. As such, I use the folder for “system” images like custom icons, profile images, and wallpapers. I just dropped the icon into the folder and pointed my Windows Terminal profile to it. Now I’ve got a terminal implementation that reminds me that I’m running a separate operating system on top of Windows and isn’t just another basic grey/white-on-black (that look is reserved for CMD and DOSBox).

How To Remove Library Folders From This PC In Windows 10/11

I’m one of those weird people that doesn’t really use the standard library folders that come in Windows (or MacOS, for that matter), but while I can easily customize Mac’s Finder menu to not list the libraries I don’t use, customizing the Windows Explorer menu is less straightforward. I like opening new instances of Explorer to the Quick Access view where I have all my attached drives, commonly used libraries (Downloads, Desktop, and Documents), and mapped network drives available at a glance. I also have locations for files synced across my devices and the Recycle Bin pinned to the menu, giving me ahem quick access to these commonly-used locations. Because of this setup, the stock “This PC” listing is redundant–listing many of the same locations twice and taking up precious screen real estate. As such, I wanted to customize this menu as much as possible with the hope of getting it similar to my Mac’s Finder sidebar menu.

Editing the Registry

The Windows Registry holds all the power under the hood in the Windows ecosystem. The problem is that it isn’t always clear what registry key values affect what parts of the OS. Fortunately, a little Google Fu is all that is needed to find the appropriate changes to make. First, open the Registry Editor by launching regedit from the Run (WIN+R) dialog. In the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FolderDescriptions then locate the appropriate folder according to the GUID key list below and expand the folder to show its nested PropertyBag folder.

  • Desktop: {B4BFCC3A-DB2C-424C-B029-7FE99A87C641}
  • Documents: {f42ee2d3-909f-4907-8871-4c22fc0bf756}
  • Downloads: {7d83ee9b-2244-4e70-b1f5-5393042af1e4}
  • Music: {a0c69a99-21c8-4671-8703-7934162fcf1d}
  • Pictures: {0ddd015d-b06c-45d5-8c4c-f59713854639}
  • Videos: {35286a68-3c57-41a1-bbb1-0eae73d76c95}

With the appropriate PropertyBag selected, right-click the ThisPCPolicy value in the main pane and select Modify. Change the value from Show to Hide, then click OK. Conversely, to re-show a particular folder, just change the data back to Show.

In some cases, ThisPCPolicy doesn’t have a defined value in the PropertyBag. In these cases, right-click on the main pane and select New > String Value, naming it ThisPCPolicy. Then set the value appropriately.

Enabling The Libraries Folder

For convenience sake, I do like to have access to the Libraries–just not at the top of the list. You can enable the Libraries folder in the sidebar menu through Folder Options in Windows Explorer. The check box is located under the “Navigation Pane” header below the View tab.

Putting things together like this makes Windows Explorer rather usable at this point!

How To Run Old Windows Games on Windows 11

As much as I love to dig out one of my vintage laptops to get theĀ full nostalgic retro gaming experience, sometimes it just isn’t very practical to fire up Windows 95 for a quick round of JezzBall. Unfortunately, the newer versions of Windows built on 32 and 64-bit architectures won’t run these old software relics. However, unlike Apple, Microsoft actually values backwards-compatibility. (Of course, this is mostly by necessity considering how many enterprises are running legacy software as well as due to the support of independent developers regularly bending the OS to their will, instead of the other way around.)

Windows Entertainment PackVirtue signalling aside, as part of my recent two-foot leap back into the daily-driver Windows world, I wanted to revisit one of my favorite casual diversions of the 16-bit era: Microsoft Entertainment Pack.

The only problem, of course, is that Entertainment Pack is a 16-bit application and Windows 11 won’t run 16-bit applications out of the box. Enter otvdm (forked from winevdm). Based on Wine, otvdm is a compatibility layer that adds the ability to run 16-bit Windows binaries in 64-bit exclusive versions of Windows much like the new Windows subsystems for Linux and Android. (At this point, Windows is almost a Swiss Army knife of computing, taking everything I’ve enjoyed from the Linux world without having to spend a few hours either setting up new hardware or reconfiguring everything after an update.)

How To Run 16-bit Windows Applications In 64-bit Windows

To use otvdm, download the latest release from GitHub, then unzip to the directory of your choice. From here, you can simply use otvdm as a portable installation by dragging and dropping your 16-bit application onto the otvdm.exe binary, and you’re all set!

If, like me, you prefer to have a more seamless integration into Windows, you can install otvdm with one of the included installer shortcuts. If you prefer to not show the console window while your application runs, use the “install (no console)” shortcut. At this point, 16-bit Windows applications (and their installers, for that matter) will run just like any other Windows application! Now, I’ll never get any work done ever again.

JezzBall
JezzBall on Windows 11!