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Change default colors

If you want to change the colours in the coloured output of ls, e.g. to get rid of the flashing red for broken symlinks1, do:

$ dircolors --print-database > ~/.dircolors

Change the following two files:


# Change the color for a broken symlink flashing red
test -r $d && eval "$(dircolors $d)"

Edit ~/.dircolors and change what you want. Remove the '05' in the following two lines to get rid of the flashing colour:

ORPHAN 01;37;41 # orphaned syminks
MISSING 01;37;41 # ... and the files they point to


The command ls does not use regexp to match patterns, but glob.
Thus the command ls [A-Z]* will not give the expected results (listing files starting with an upper case letter.
The proper command would be: ls [[:upper]]*


$ man 7 glob

  • 1. A symlink to a file in an un-mounted external drive will be 'broken' without it constituting an actual error.

Issues related to this page:

ProjectSummaryStatusPriorityCategoryLast updatedAssigned to
Linux softwareNo menu in node `( …activeminorbug report2 years 3 weeks
Linux DistributionHow to change the color for a broken symlink fl…activenormalsupport request2 years 3 weeks
Linux software /etc/ # grep -r dircolors *activenormalfeature request2 years 3 weeks