How to Unlock the Dark Themes in Windows 10 Apps
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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 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 this feature will be easier to access in the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary update, so if you don’t feel comfortable editing the Registry, wait until it launches at the beginning of August.

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

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

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.