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How to enable Windows 10’s hidden Dark Mode

Zach Epstein
August 4th, 2016 at 7:20 PM
Windows 10 Tips And Tricks 2016

Somewhere deep inside Apple’s iOS 10 beta software there’s a special “dark mode” feature just waiting to come out. Sadly, users don’t have access to it just yet — in fact no one does unless you’re a developer and you know how to dig for it. As it turns out, Microsoft’s Windows 10 software also has a hidden dark mode. When enabled, it’s a theme that turns the platform’s entire interface dark. The heavy use of black and other dark tones in Microsoft’s dark theme make the UI look incredibly sleek, and it’s also a bit easier on your eyes.

The bad news is there’s no simple toggle in older versions of Windows 10 that makes enabling and disabling this cool feature simple. But the good news if you don’t want to install the new anniversary update is that unlike iOS 10’s dark mode, anyone can enable the dark theme in any version of Windows 10 in just a few minutes by following the guide below.

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YouTube user “BTNHD” posted a video to his account recently that walks users through the process of enabling the dark theme in Windows 10. It involves editing two different registry entries, which can sound a bit daunting if you’ve never edited Windows’ registry before. Believe us when we tell you that it’s incredibly simple though, and you’ll be fine as long as you stick to the guide.

Here’s the video that will explain everything.

If you prefer to follow a written guide, here are the simple steps you’ll need to take:

  1. From the desktop or home screen, press Win+R to open a dialog box and type “regedit.” Then press enter.
  2. In the regedit app, browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Themes > Personalize.
    • If there’s not already a “Personalize” folder, create one by right-clicking Themes. Then choose New > Key.
  3. Right-click the Personalize folder and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the new entry AppsUseLightTheme and choose 0 as its value.
  4. Now browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Themes > Personalize. Create the folder if it’s not already there.
  5. Right-click the Personalize folder and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the new entry AppsUseLightTheme and choose 0 as its value.

Now just log out of your account and log back in, and you should see the Windows 10 dark theme on your screen.


Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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