How to make win32 console recognize ANSI/VT100 escape sequences?

[UPDATE] For latest Windows 10 please read useful contribution by @brainslugs83, just below in the comments to this answer.

While for versions before Windows 10 Anniversary Update:

ANSI.SYS has a restriction that it can run only in the context of the MS-DOS sub-system under Windows 95-Vista.

Microsoft KB101875 explains how to enable ANSI.SYS in a command window, but it does not apply to Windows NT. According to the article: we all love colors, modern versions of Windows do not have this nice ANSI support.

Instead, Microsoft created a lot of functions, but this is far from your need to operate ANSI/VT100 escape sequence.

For a more detailed explanation, see the Wikipedia article:

ANSI.SYS also works in NT-derived systems for 16-bit legacy programs executing under the NTVDM.

The Win32 console does not natively support ANSI escape sequences at all. Software such as Ansicon can however act as a wrapper around the standard Win32 console and add support for ANSI escape sequences.

So I think ANSICON by Jason Hood is your solution. It is written in C, supports 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, and the source is available.

Also I found some other similar question or post which ultimately have been answered to use ANSICON:

  • How to load ANSI escape codes or get coloured file listing in WinXP cmd shell?
  • how to use ansi.sys in windows 7
  • How can I get cmd.exe to display ANSI color escape sequences?
  • ansi color in windows shells
  • enable ansi colors in windows command prompt

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