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How to Enable Dark Mode in Windows 10


These days it’s nearly impossible to escape screens. We stare at laptops for work, TVs during our binge sessions, and smartphone displays every moment in between.

This is bad for our health for a number of reasons—blue light keeps us up at night, and displays can cause eye strain, among other things—but going off the grid is unrealistic. For now, enabling dark mode can make screen time easier on the eyes.

On Windows 10, you can change between dark and light themes, choose accent colors, and decide where those changes will appear. Here’s how to customize Windows 10 color themes and flip on dark mode.


Choose a Color Theme

dark mode settings

To enable dark mode, navigate to Settings > Personalization > Colors, then open the drop-down menu for “Choose your color” and pick Light, Dark, or Custom. Light or Dark changes the look of the Windows Start menu and the built-in apps.

By choosing Custom, you can mix and match to get the best of Light and Dark. For example, you can choose to put the Start Menu and taskbar in dark mode, but keep default apps under the default light theme.

dark mode custom settings

Play around with the different color options to see which scheme you prefer. The preview image shows how your changes will appear, and changes are made live so you can sample each combination.


Select Accent Colors

windows accent colors

Once you’ve set your preferred color theme, you can choose an accent color that will appear on icons, tiles, and other screen elements. Instead of picking a color, you can also set Windows to choose an accent color based on your current background image. If there isn’t a color to your liking, a custom color can also be uploaded to create your own variation.

Next, you can decide where you’d like the accent color to appear. In the Show accent color on the following surfaces section, choose Start, taskbar, and action center and/or Title bars and window borders.


Which Apps Are Affected?

Changing the color theme in Windows 10 affects menu colors and built-in apps, such as File Explorer and the Settings menu. Other apps affected include Alarms & Clock, Calculator, Calendar, Mail, Microsoft Store, Sticky Notes, 3D Viewer, Video Editor, Windows Security, Xbox Game Bar, Your Phone, and more.

Some third-party apps also now support Windows 10 dark mode, so color changes will apply there, too. And you don’t have to stop there. You can enable dark mode on your web browser and your favorite mobile apps.

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