I was recently trying to get node.js up and running. One of the steps required that I add an export line to my .bashrc file. Upon doing so, and rebooting the machine, the output of the bash terminal is no longer color-coded.

I have tried copying the default with cp /etc/skel/.bashrc ~/.bashrc and then un-commenting the line force_color_prompt=yes. But when I reboot the machine, the output is still black and white.

If I run source .bashrc or . .bashrc the output works as expected (it's color coded). But this is not the default behavior on login.

How can I set bash to use the color-coded output by default upon login?

  • What is your PS1? – Ipor Sircer Nov 15 '16 at 17:51
  • You can define color prompt in PS1environment. If you haven't set any color, there will be no colors. – Ipor Sircer Nov 15 '16 at 17:58
  • I haven't messed with PS1 at all. Only with the .bashrc files. SO I don't think that this is the root of the issue. – Native Coder Nov 15 '16 at 17:59
  • just pointing out, that source .bashrc or . .bashrc are the same things – LinuxSecurityFreak Nov 19 '16 at 8:30

It may be possible that your .profile does not load the .bashrc file.

cat ~/.profile

Should look somewhat similar to:

# ~/.profile: executed by the command interpreter for login shells.
# This file is not read by bash(1), if ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login
# exists.
# see /usr/share/doc/bash/examples/startup-files for examples.
# the files are located in the bash-doc package.

# the default umask is set in /etc/profile; for setting the umask
# for ssh logins, install and configure the libpam-umask package.
#umask 022

# if running bash
if [ -n "$BASH_VERSION" ]; then
    # include .bashrc if it exists
    if [ -f "$HOME/.bashrc" ]; then
    . "$HOME/.bashrc"

# set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists
if [ -d "$HOME/bin" ] ; then

But there are many other places to check:

Are you really running bash:

ls -l $SHELL

If so, be sure to look into all of these, (if they exist):

  1. /etc/profile
  2. ~/.bash_profile
  3. ~/.bash_login
  4. ~/.profile

If the output of ls -l ~/.bashrc contains root as owner/group:

sudo chown $USER:$USER ~/.bashrc

Also, the intended user rights are 644 meaning:

ls -l ~/.bashrc

gives output of:


If not, change it as follows:

chmod 644 ~/.bashrc

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