If you’re happy with the dark theme on your Windows 7 or Windows 8 machine, you might be hesitant about Windows 10. The theming in Windows 10 is pretty light, which a lot of people feel causes additional eye strain.
While Microsoft has yet to implement a system-wide switch for turning on a dark theme, there are steps you can take to darken some of your everyday apps and other parts like the taskbar. Here we show you exactly how to get the darkest Windows 10 possible without having to be an expert.
The Darkest Office Theme is Gray
If you are subscribed to Office 365, you should have the newest versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and a number of other Office apps on your computer. (If not, you can install them from your account.)
By default, these apps are pretty blindingly white, but luckily, Microsoft has implemented an easy way to darken them a bit (even if you can’t get to pure black).
First, open up any of your Office apps. We’ll demonstrate this using Word, but you can make the change in any Office app, and the same steps should apply across all of them.
Then select File in the upper left.
Select Account at the bottom of the menu on the left.
Under Office Theme, select Dark Gray from the drop-down menu.
As you can see above, the Dark Gray theme isn’t life-changing, but it does make the background around the paper a bit darker and makes the document title at the top and the scroll bar more visible.
Start Menu and Taskbar Are Black by Default
Since these are the main elements that you’re going to see and interact with every day, how they look is relatively important. Thankfully, Microsoft has a good number of options for how you can change them around.
To get to these settings, click on the Windows logo in the lower-left corner of your desktop.
Then click on Settings.
Here, you’ll want to make sure the first option, Automatically pick an accent color from my background, is turned off. Then a grid of colors should appear. Choose the darkest gray option.
For the next two options, also make sure that those are switched off.
The result should be a nearly-black dark gray taskbar and Start menu with grey icons. That’s as simple and dark as it’s going to get.
Edge Browser Has a Black Theme
Using Microsoft’s newest browser specifically designed for Windows 10? Lucky you, because it has a built-in dark theme.
Simply open Edge, navigate to the three-dot button in the top right, and choose Settings at the bottom of the drop-down menu.
Under Choose a theme, simply select Dark, and you’re good to go.
This dark theme is actually completely black with dark gray accents, and given Edge’s modern aesthetic, it looks quite svelte.
Google Chrome Supports Third-Party Themes
Still stuck on Chrome? We can’t say we blame you. It is a productivity beast, after all. So even if you manage to darken all the other apps and elements in Windows 10, it would be kind of pointless if your browser was still super white.
Thankfully, Chrome users have access to a wide variety of themes in the Chrome Web Store to alter their browser. My favorite dark theme is simply titled Dark Theme and is made by mausx3.
Above you can see Chrome without any theme.
And this is what Chrome looks like with Dark Theme installed. For added effect, make your default search engine Blackle. It performs a Google search just like normal, but it uses a black background instead of white.
High-Contrast Mode Turns Windows Black
If you’re more concerned with having a black theme than you are with having a pretty theme, high-contrast mode is for you.
This method certainly isn’t preferable for most, but it does offer a dark mode with very clear screen elements for the visually impaired. See for yourself.
Above is the Settings app with the default theme.
And this is the Settings app in high-contrast mode.
To achieve this look, simply go into the Settings app and select Personalization as we’ve gone over already in this article.
Then you’ll want to navigate to Themes and then Theme Settings.
From there, you can enable high-contrast mode. To get back, simply return to the same place and choose one of Windows 10’s default themes.
Registry Hack Adds a Stylish Black Theme
This last part should probably only be attempted if you know what the Windows Registry Editor is. Experimenting with the registry can really mess up your computer, though what we’re doing here is relatively safe. Just remember that we’re not responsible in case you manage to damage your computer.
That being said, this registry hack does allow you to theme the Settings app, Windows Store, and a few other System apps completely black, which is fantastic. To do this, simply download this ZIP Folder and double-click the file called enable-dark-theme.reg.
You may need to restart for the changes to take effect, but for me, the changes were instant. Above, you can see the dark Settings app.
And this is the dark Windows Store. To undo any of these changes, simply go into the ZIP folder and double-click enable-light-theme.reg to return everything to normal.
How Do You Theme Windows 10?
Dark themes really can be an eye-saver. If you’ve got other devices that you want to tweak, you may want to have a look at these Linux themes, Android themes, and even Mac OS X themes. Finally, these Windows 10 desktop themes feature dark and colored themes.
But we’d like to hear from you. What methods do you use for theming Windows 10? How have you managed to achieve the perfect dark look? Let us know in the comments!
Explore more about: Windows 10.