Enable the Hidden “High Contrast” Dark Theme in Windows 10

Ben Stegner 04-01-2017

By default, Windows 10 is bright and loud, but there are ways to make most items darker How to Change the Look and Feel of Your Windows 10 Desktop Want to know how to make Windows 10 look better? Use these simple customizations to make Windows 10 your own. Read More if you prefer a sleek look. Unfortunately, while you can easily make stock apps and the Settings dark with a toggle, it’s a bit tougher to make Windows 10 totally dark.


However, custom themes are a good option for doing this. Windows includes a few themes, including a High Contrast option for those who have trouble distinguishing between screen elements Are You Nearsighted or Farsighted? Tips to Make Windows More Accessible for Young & Old Computers use print that's too small, your eyesight changes, you get headaches, and the computer gets called a lot of dirty names. Consult this guide to Windows Accessibility tools for some stress relief! Read More . One DeviantArt user has modified this theme to serve as a high-contrast dark theme. It’s a good option if you want to black out Windows.

First, type Themes into the Start menu, then click its entry. Click Save Theme in the upper box and give your current theme a name so you can easily jump back to it later. Next, you’ll have to download the Dark High Contrast Theme. It’s a ZIP file, so extract the contents and double-click on the entry to apply the theme.

You’ll probably find a few elements difficult to see. Thankfully, you can tweak the theme’s colors by typing this page into a Windows Explorer address bar:

C:\Windows\System32\rundll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL desk.cpl,Advanced,@advanced

This menu lets you change the colors for selecting text, window titles, and more. Try out some different color combinations and see what looks best to you!



This isn’t a perfect dark theme, as it still includes the outlines around the System Tray and other elements designed to help visually impaired users identify on-screen items easily. Still, it’s worth a try if you like your Windows dark.

Looking for another dark theme? Try out even more darkness for Windows 10 The Best Windows 10 Dark Themes for Your Eyes Windows 10 has its own dark theme now. But try these other Windows dark theme customizations too and prevent eye strain. Read More .

Do you like this dark theme, or is light Windows okay with you? Let us know which dark themes you like down in the comments!

Image Credit: GooDween123 via Shutterstock

Related topics: Accessibility, Windows 10.

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  1. david
    January 5, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    The color design of Windows 10 and office 2016 is just like what Jobs said about windows: it has absolute no taste. I have to use windows blind software to decorate windows 10 after I installed it. Only bright blue/yellow and green is called colorful? Too many indians in MS now?

    • Faridoon
      January 18, 2017 at 8:59 am

      FaridoonAsfandyarpoor70 @gmail. Com

    • Faridoon
      January 18, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Very good. And hello to Your

  2. Cristian
    January 5, 2017 at 2:48 am

    Not sure why these windows themes are even called themes since all they do is change color!
    Try some real themes for a change. You can find a bunch of quality 3rd party themes on deviantArt, like these for example:

  3. Lou
    January 5, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Trust is something Microsoft cannot afford to lose but they lost mine. After supporting them since the first dos and every operating system until win 8. Apparently the author never read the current privacy policy it is unacceptable and I quote:
    "Finally, we will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to:" telemetry built into the OS and office, updates that crippled computers and we have so say about updates. Pushing ads and software (bloat ware on my computer. I am moving to Linux and MacOS and only using windows when I have to, unfortunately I have a huge investment in windows software. So win 7 is the last windows for me for the software I need windows for. I did not install the telemetry update to win 7 and advise others to uninstall them. I also only use google for limited things and not any email that is important to me.

    • Ben Stegner
      January 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      Lou, I think you may have scrolled down too far on a different article and accidentally left a comment on this one.