How to Unlock the Dark Themes in Windows 10 Apps

Ben Stegner 21-07-2016

While Windows 10 lets you choose from a variety of colors for theming, you’re pretty much limited to a bright background. If you’re trying to work at night, these blinding colors can make it hard to see your screen 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 without having to wear sunglasses.


If you want to darken some Windows 10 menus, a trip to the Registry can set you up with this cool tweak. Remember that editing the Registry can be dangerous if you’re not careful, so follow these steps closely.

Press Windows Key + R to open the Run menu and type regedit. Browse to this location:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Themes > Personalize

If you don’t have a Personalize folder, create one by right-clicking Themes and choosing New > Key; name it Personalize to get the job done. After this, right-click Personalize and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Its name should be AppsUseLightTheme. Set its value to 0.

Now, head to this key and do the same thing in this location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Themes > Personalize

Then, just log out of your account and jump back in, and check the Settings app and other locations to see the dark theme. If you decide it’s too dark for you, head back to these locations and change their values to 1.


Note that the Windows 10 dark theme feature 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  is easier to access if you’re running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update or a more recent version of Windows 10. So if you don’t feel comfortable editing the Registry, upgrade your Windows version.

Want to make Windows even darker? Check out our complete guide to blacking out Windows 10 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 .

Do you like the Windows 10 dark theme, or do you prefer to keep things light? Leave a comment and tell us your preference!

Image Credit: Kim Wutimet via

Related topics: Windows 10, Windows Tricks.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. nafiseh
    April 19, 2019 at 6:03 am

    thanks a lot, my problem is solved.

  2. Gary
    March 1, 2018 at 1:23 am

    This doesn't work for file explorer, which is what I'm trying to darken.

  3. Gary
    March 1, 2018 at 1:10 am

    I was unable to rename the second key AppsUseLightTheme under current user. I got a message saying that name was already in use. Any suggestions? I'm using Fall Creators Update 1709

  4. These Old Eyes
    January 14, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Far more useful would be simply restoring the display customization facility that existed in Windows 7 and its predecessors.

    Here's the problem: rather than needing high-contrast color options,
    what I (and other older folks who have my vision issues) need are
    low-contrast color options. Those were available in all versions of
    Windows up through Windows 7. It was possible to customize the
    appearance of all portions of any Windows, and many application,
    windows and dialogues: title bars (active and inactive), menus,
    frames, background, and so forth. Now Windows 10 has thrown out the
    baby with the bath water.

    As my eyes age, and possibly because I have glaucoma (progressive,
    treatable but not curable), my eyes cannot rapidly adjust to changing
    light levels. Glaring white backgrounds with dark text are painful and
    tiring to look at. So, in prior versions of Windows, I always changed
    backgrounds to a soft gray-green, and frames and title bars to darker
    representations in the same color palette. I have a hard time
    imagining why Microsoft chose to eliminate this very useful (and to
    me, essential) facility from Windows 10.

    I'm not looking for a dark theme. Those are intended for light text on
    a dark background.

  5. Jake
    November 14, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Doesn't work. Can't name two registry values the same thing.

    • Don
      May 13, 2017 at 3:38 am

      Jake, you are correct if the values are in the same key, but mistaken I think. One change is made to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE" or "HKLM" for short, and the other change goes to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER" or "HKCU", which is a different key. Hope I understood your issue correctly.