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How to enable the Windows 10 and Edge dark theme

Richard Easton
28 Dec 2015
Windows 10 dark theme
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Want a bit more contrast in Windows 10 and Edge browser, so it's easier to read text? Here's how you do it

Windows 10 generally looks brilliant, but some people find that the grey backdrop used for many of Windows 10’s menus is a little hard on the eyes. Unfortunately, this is one option that you can’t override, with the other colour options not offering any better contrast. However, there are some hidden settings, which we’ll show you how to access to turn on the special dark theme.

Turn on Windows 10’s hidden dark theme

Nestled deep inside Windows 10’s registry is a way to turn on a hidden ‘dark’ theme that is a little easier on the eyes than the standard grey backdrop used for many of Windows 10’s menus. Make sure you follow the instructions below carefully and don’t change anything else. It’s wise to backup your computer first.

Open the Registry Editor by doing a search for ‘regedit’ in the Start menu. Hit ‘Yes’ on the User Account Control screen that pops up. Navigate through the nested list of folders on the left-hand pane to get to: ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Themes\Personalize’. Once you’re in the correct folder, right click in some empty space in the right-hand pane and choose DWORD (32-bit) Value from the New menu. Name this ‘AppsUseLightTheme’.

Windows 10 Dark Theme Registry setting

Now right click the new entry that appears and select Modify. Check that the Value Data entry is set to 0. Restart your computer you’ll have the dark theme set. If you want to go back to the standard theme, head back into the Registry Editor and change the AppsUseLightTheme Value Data entry you made to 1 or simply delete the AppsUseLightTheme entry you created.

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Give Microsoft Edge a dark coat of paint

If you use Microsoft’s Edge browser that comes pre-installed with Windows 10, you can give this a dark coat of paint as well. All you need to do is open up the settings (the three dot menu at the top right) and select Dark under Choose a theme at the top of the settings pane. You might find this is a lot easier on your eyes than the default light theme.

Microsoft Edge Dark Theme

High contrast theme for everywhere else

While the dark themes for settings and Microsoft Edge are the most attractive, there’s also a few different High Contrast themes built into Windows 10 for everywhere else. Click Start, type ‘High Contrast’ and select High-contrast settings. You’re then presented with a few different high contrast themes. These make it easier to read text and see icons, but doesn’t make Windows 10 look particularly attractive, as they’re designed for those with vision difficulties.


Windows 10 high contrast theme

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