I added this to my ~/.bash_profile in "Bash on Ubuntu on Windows" (and I have git installed):

# Get the Git branch
parse_git_branch() {
  git branch 2> /dev/null | sed -e '/^[^*]/d' -e 's/* \(.*\)/ (\1)/'

# Custom bash prompt
# Includes custom character for the prompt, path, and Git branch name.
# Source: kirsle.net/wizards/ps1.html
export PS1="\n\[$(tput bold)\]\[$(tput setaf 5)\] \[$(tput setaf 6)\]\w\[$(tput setaf 3)\]\$(parse_git_branch) \[$(tput sgr0)\]"

When entering a new bash shell, I don't see this change in effect. What am I doing wrong?

My ~/.bashrc is untouched and at its default.

If I add the code above to ~/.bashrc, it works. But I don't want to clobber with customizations.

  • 4
    It's happening because the shell you're opening is not a login shell and so ~/.bash_profile is not sourced. You should put it in ~/.bashrc (as you noticed it works there) - that's the normal place to set the prompt.
    – Zanna
    Oct 11, 2016 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


In "Bash on Ubuntu on Windows", the opened shell is not a "login shell", which means .bash_profile isn't being read, as mentioned by @Zanna (thank you!).

You can use shopt to see whether your'e in a "login shell" or not:

shopt login_shell

Since I wish to keep things tidy and put customizations into their own files, I'm now sourcing a custom file from .bashrc:

  . ~/.bashrc_customizations

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