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A dark Windows theme is a good start to reduce eyestrain and increase the coolness factor for your desktop, but you can make your desktop even darker.
Almost all of us grew up with light Windows themes. On old versions of Windows, dark colors were almost unheard of. With Windows 8, dark was suddenly cool. And it doesn’t just look better — using dark themes is scientifically proven to be better for you.
But despite its sultry dark tones, Windows still lacks options to make your desktop appear even darker. If you’ve changed your Windows theme, what else can you customize?
Keep reading for seven tips that’ll make your screen darker.
1. Download Dark Themes
The easiest and fastest way to turn your screen into blackness is to download a dark theme. The default Windows dark themes still have a significant amount of color in certain areas because they’re “high contrast.”
A true dark theme will remove any instances of eye-catching color, replacing it with grays, charcoals, and black variants.
One great option is “Black Theme for Win10” by Skinpack. Everything is displayed in blacks, dark grays, and dark blues. You can even add translucent windows for a classy effect.
Download the theme from and save it into C:\Windows\Resources\Themes. Before it works, you will also need to download and install UXThemePatcher, a tool that allows Windows to read and use third-party themes.
2. Use Dark Wallpapers
Ultimately, there’s only so much influence your theme has. You need to make other variables in the operating system (OS) match the accents and tints you see in menus and app windows.
For example, it’s not sensible to use a sunny photo from your latest family vacation if you’re trying to create something truly shadowy. It’ll look out of place and will destroy any eye-preserving colors your theme has introduced.
Of course, if you want to take the process to the extreme, use a solid black background. If you still want to use one of your own snaps, try and find an image that matches the colors elsewhere in the OS. In my desktop wallpaper (above), you can see lots of deep reds, blues, and blacks — in my opinion, they do a good job of picking up the hues in the default Windows 10 theme.
3. Change Windows Color Presets
Riley has covered how to change color presets in detail elsewhere on the site. She argues that the tool forms part of a large suite of tools for editing Windows aesthetics.
The suite includes four specific tools:
- Microsoft Office — The Office apps offer four different menu and background themes.
- Edge Browser — Edge now includes a black theme.
- Windows Accent Colors — Although you cannot create entire themes natively on Windows, you can edit its borders and accent colors.
- Registry Hacks — If you’re competent, you can tweak the registry to enable to official-but-natively-unavailable Windows 10 dark theme.
Using a combination of these four tweaks will be enough for most users to get Windows looking the way they want it.
To edit the color presets specifically, go to Settings > Personalization > Colors and make your selection. You can see a preview of your new choice in the window at the top of the screen.
4. Set Up Themes in Third-Party Apps
Lots of third-party apps offer themes. To make your screen as dark as possible, you need to check all the apps you use frequently and enable their dark theme.
It’ll be a fruitless experience if you spend hours making Windows as dark as possible, but you spend most of your working day staring at an app with a bright background. It won’t help your eyes and won’t help you look cool.
For example, Google Chrome allows users to download and install new themes directly from the Chrome Web Store, while Photoshop has four presets to choose from. Everything from torrent software to music players now offer multiple choices.
5. Lower the Brightness
Dark themes aren’t for everyone — some people prefer light colors on their screens. But that doesn’t mean you need to put your eyesight at risk. You can just lower the brightness.
The problem is, computer screens do not all display white and other bright colors in a uniform way. The same color can look very different on two different outputs. It means the default Windows theme might make some people wear sunglasses while others don’t think it’s bright enough.
If you like the vanilla Windows theme but find it places too much strain on your eyes, you can dial back the brightness in the Action Center on the Taskbar.
Rather than constantly fiddling with the brightness settings during the day and night, why not let F.lux take control?
The free app is designed to introduce warmer, sleep-inducing red colors to your display during the evening and turn up the wide-awake blues during the day.
But the beauty of the app is its flexibility. If you want warm colors during the day, just adjust the color temperature settings or the sunrise/sunset times accordingly. Your display will instantly appear darker.
7. Wait for Windows 10 Blue Light Filter
If you’re part of the Windows Insider Program, you’ll already have this feature as part of Build 15002. For everyone else, you’ll have to wait until the spring and the public release of the Windows Creators Update.
The purpose of the feature is the same as F.lux: to make your screen darker at certain times of day by filtering out the blue light.
To set it up, go to Settings > System > Display and hit the toggle next to Lower Blue Light Automatically. Click Blue Light Settings to customize the color temperature and times.
How Do You Make Your Screen Darker?
I’ve shown you seven tricks that will make your screen even darker. Although it’s true that Windows dark options are somewhat threadbare if you make some of these seven adjustments you’ll notice a significant improvement almost immediately.
Now it’s time to hear your input. How do you make Windows darker, cooler, and easier on the eye?
You can leave all your tips, suggestions, and recommendations in the comments below.