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Here is how to enable the Dark Theme for Windows 10

Microsoft is adding more polish to Windows 10 Technical Preview, including dark Start menus and more in the latest 10074 build for Insider.

Now, a new – and simple – registry trick lets you make even more of the OS dark. Specifically, the Settings, which is still a bright white that contrasts profoundly with the otherwise dark main screen.

The registry edit takes you 15 seconds and is completely reversible. A sample of the new look is provided here to get an idea of how it will look. From our perspective, we really like the black, contrasty look of Windows 10. Here is how it works.

Enable Dark Theme in Windows 10 build 10074

  1. Search for 'Regedit'
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Themes\Personalize
  3. Create DWORD key: SystemUsesLightTheme
  4. DWORD Value = 0
  5. Reboot computer

If you wish to revert to the light theme, just toggle the DWORD value to '1' and reboot.

Overall, it is a great look, and we cannot wait to see how Microsoft cleans up future builds. For a quick look at what is in Windows 10 build 10108, check out our earlier article.

Thanks, Lingeshwaran R., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

104 Comments
  • Seems Windows Phone-ish
  • Which is looks nice... :D
  • Or it should be " Which looks nice"
  • Thanks for your correction. :)
  • Looks very nice. This should be an option on all apps also. Black theme is one of my favorite features of Windows phone. I dread looking at blinding white anywhere that isn't a brightly lit room.
  • Cool. The Pc and phone uniformity is getting better
  • AMEN :) dark ftw
  • We don't have to restart, we just have to sign out then sign back in.
  • Where is the Phone build it should be out today already!!!!!
  • Or, you know, wait until they have a stable build with enough new features to make it worth it. Let's get some patience here, it's a preview OS, we're not entitled to updates because we're bored ;)
  • It was noted last week it would come out early this week. I'm not bored just frustrated and disappointed to see no build twice already e.e
    HOPEFULLY it's just coming late like the windows 10 build for PCs from //build/
  • They did say that the build would be delayed.  I'm sure it will come out before Windows 10 on desktop is released.
  • No were just entitled because we buy their products lol. $700 device that makes calls. Yep... I'd say they should hurry up. Ha.
  • Revert to 8.1, then. W10 is a test build that has nothing whatsoever to do with your purchase of your Windows 8 phone.
  • Nope. They only thing you were entitled to was what came with the phone. Future upgrades andnew features are gravy, not something you are entitled to. Most consumer electronic devices never get updates and if they do, they are usually bug fixes. You usually have to buy the next version of the device to get new features.
  • Exactly, my 2 year old Sony Smart TV doesn't even have YouTube anymore and gives everyone a cryptic message that it's no longer supported. Nice right. I too did try the W10 version on my 830 and quickly went back. It is going to be so freakin awesome and worth the wait!
  • Yup, most don't offer updates. Maybe iFruit just spoiled the rest of us giving us whole new OS versions to go on our three year old hardware. I dunno, are we entitled or did Apple raise the bar?
  • This is a pitiful discussion. Pardon my flaming, but Android OS? Regular and timely improvements. Ubuntu Linux, the same WITH user group interaction for those who desire to particupate. MacOS? so conceptually stable since who can remember when, that they set the bar for all computer interaction. The one true "religion", complete with taboos. Windows? often hype, late all the time, basic functionality scattered in strange places and users unabashedly sycophasntic, sometimes myopic, adulants of a monopoly attended by acolytes of hegemony. Take everything you can get from them as greedily as possible, hands outstretched. Muttering gregorian/mantra style "Bill Cutler starved us, give us more" (sorry, familiarity does breed contempt) Windows 10 is better, albeit a bit immature still.... just my .02
  • Today? Who said that?
  • Last week it was told it would be "early next week" Didn't come out Monday so it was safe to assume today :( and still no build, dam it all v.v I keep pushing back my much needed bi monthly reset for this, ughhhhh
  • Wednesday is still technically early this week ;)
  • I'm liking the 8.1 update :) new setting))
  • Seems Darker.
  • LOL!
  • That's racist xP
  • This should look great on tablets. :) But PC.....nah!
  • It's funny you say that... after 2 years of using the dark theme on my phone, I find the light theme on PC jarring. I'm really looking forward to this option.
  • Really appreciate this as the white is pretty jarring. I got used to dark themes on elementaryOS, and so I like that this is available. I wish it changed file explorer, ect as well though. Black out all the things, white on black is much easier on my eyes
  • I forgot to say, 'for me'.
  • My PC is set to the darkest theme I can possibly get. Sit in front of the screen several hours a day and you eyes will thank you for a dark theme.
  • actually dark theme for pc is one of the needed feature!! specially at night or long working session, 
  • I pick the Dark theme over any White theme anyday, Tablet or PC! Microsoft's White theme is just too bright and can't make out where a window starts and ends! There's no style at all! It's much like moving into a completely white paint walls and carpet in an apartment building! I hate hate hate that!
  • Microsoft, please add color to the app headers! We need to better see what we're working on at a glance. The drab grey is lifeless and hard to focus on the active window!
  • They already ditched the grey bar based on the leaked build 10108
  • Sooooo this^^^
  • In the immortal words of Gabe, "Please use Feedback app to let us know what changes you'd want to see."
  • When will phone build be available
  • I'm guessing when it is ready and they hit the publish button.
  • And whens that :)
  • Soon™
  • You crack me up Daniel!
  • Today hopefully (but probably not according to Gabe's painful silence on twitter)
  • Thanks for answering. He may be trolling us hopefully
  • Do you actually expect anyone to tell you a date when you post a question like this? If windows central had any information about a phone build, they would post it in a separate article. They would search through questions on the comment board and post a date there.  This question is almost as annoying as the when in India questions.
  • Will they change the name and icon of the new browser in the next build?
  • yes.
  • If this was an option in the appearence settings like the phone it would have been a lot easier and i kinda like it
  • Seeing as the OS can do it, it is likely they just need to build in the extension support for the toggle into Settings.
  • So now what we do is the wait and see game?
  • Daniel, any idea on when the phone builds will be available for non Lumia phones? Like my HTC 8X for instance. Or the Blu, those Micromax's and all. Not complaining. I understand MS is taking it one step at a time. I'm just a bit eager
  • We just got the 8.1 update 2, why are these people so impatient for windows 10 preview? Let us experience update 2 first..
  • I would like to see an animation change in minimize maximize like apple :)
  • please be joking
  • Well the maximize/restore animation like on OS X is actually quite nice, the current Windows 10 animations is smooth but it feels incomplete. When you maximize it doesn't expand from original size to full-screen size but instead it jumps to almost full-screen size then little animation of expanding. What I just don't like with OS X maximize/restore animation is it feels laggy. About the minimize thing, If you mean the genie effect minimize animation well please no. I don't want that on Windows 10.
  • Those fold/unfold animations are possibly the worst feature of OSX.
  • While guys are doing this I'm still getting doc watchdog violation crashes everytime I use my keyboard.
  • Now if only you could do the same for Windows Phone... I'm sick of seeing the light theme Cortana all the time...
  • What do you mean? If you're talking about WP, then just change the theme background to black.
  • Cortana is white anyway.
  • In WP8.1 she's black but white in WP10.  It's like having a flashlight go off in my eyes, same with Skype too.
  • Skype has high contrast option in WP IIRC
  • Should hopefully(maybe) be coming in the new phone build today :D (that they likely delayed YET AGAIN soo much for "early next week" back in //build/)
  • Black looks damn slick....just adds a lot more visual flair...i remember a recent ad from LG promoting their 4k tvs and they said the most vibrant and vivid colours are always visible on the deepest black...bang on I say...i don't see any other OS use black as the base such intelligently and aggresively...sometimes I get bored with the black on my phone and change to white...and instantly realize black was just so much better...so a total black in the PC also is so damn good...now only if the file explorer could also get black :-)
  • Too many people still have the mental block that the white space should be white.  That's a design holdeover from when they were trying to emulate paper. 
  • We live in an 70% paperless world now. The only paper I get anymore is through regular snail mail and even that is going away little by little. If people want White, let them have it! But also, don't forget about those who hate White and want something else like Black or something inbetween! They should let the consumer decide on that by giving us more options, not taking them away! That's what got me pissed off at Microcrap!
  • Definitely don't do what BN511 says.... We don't need more bad information on here!!!!
  • Imagine this with an OLED device...DAMN! XD
  • Once you go... Nevermind...
  • Oh my.
  • I see what you did there
    :p
  • Android?
  • I love this!!!!!!!!!!  Thanks for publishing the hack.
  • It's beautiful, so easy on the eyes and elegant.
  • Not sure I want a desktop that dark. Seems un-desktop-like to me but might be cool if the desktop icons would enhance the dark background. Maybe look 3D-ish.
  • What HP tablet is that on the first pic?
  • Spectre x360. We have a video tour/impressions article coming up later.
  • Like but waiting
  • I like the dark theme, I wish they could extend it to file explorer.
  • Dark! Dark everywhere! Ever since I started coding I cannot thank Microsoft enough for the dark theme in Visual Studio. My eyes feel a lot better after 10 hours of starring at the screen when I use the dark theme. I hope it extends to all windows and apps one day.
  • Same here.  I used the theme editor too to blacken it up some more since the greys added a slightly depressing look.  I would love to see this extended to the Office products to.  But that can be tricky as the end result is often for print.   
  • Yeah! I've been waiting for this for a long time to officially Windows to have a dark theme. Good for the eyes and looks cooler and something different too.
  • You don't have to reboot to apply this. Just restart Windows Explorer in task manager and it will apply it. Just trying to save everyone some time.
  • I didn't even have to do that. It just works.
  • What UI elements are actually affected? Is it everything, or just modern apps?
  • So far, I only see it affect Settings (includes action bar menus) and default calculator. Basically any "modern" element to built-in Windows menus get changed. Doesn't seem to affect modern apps like News, Weather, etc.
  • Thanks
  • Any system modern app
  • Liking this dark theme alot!
  • it conflicts with the wifi sidebar and can make some things unreadable, but its all worth it considering I can use my pc at night more comfortably, sometimes I wish w10 on pc looked as stark-simple as the wp UI, with dark backgrounds everywhere and big ass fonts
  • The Dank Theme
  • Does this work for Explorer windows too? That would be radical.
  • PC reboot is not required. Just restart Windows Explorer in Task Manager.
  • I was just about to say that.
  •  L​ooks good, mostly.  The network list in settings doesn't quite work.  Each network maintains a white background so it looks kinda dumb.  Maybe that's why it's not available as an option yet.  Still confirming that everything looks right.
  • Awesome! I have been wanting to do this forever but MIcrosoft always manages to make some parts of the UI inaccessible to customisation. Win8 is far more customisable than any previous version but you were still left with some white backgrounds on dialog boxes and the like, which made it a complete waste of time. That said, I think a dark grey, like the Charms Bar, would be a better option than black.
  • Thank You!!!
  • Yeah! Gotta love that dark theme on Windows 10. I've been waiting this for long. :D BTW I just make a quick concept for Windows 10 Settings app. I wished they just remove the titlebar since its redundant and gives minimalist look. Windows Apps allows anyways to have no system titlebar similar to VLC on Windows 10.
    http://imgur.com/a/c2g12
  • Darth Vader approves!
  • They should apply the black theme all over the OS
  • using the dark theme causes notifications in Spartan to vanish into oblivion.
  • <a href="http://www.technotrendz.in/windows-10-review-price-upgrade/"> It is very appealing topic you’ve published here. The fact remains I’m not really acquainted with this, however I think this is an excellent opportunity to learn more about. Thanks..</a>
  • Did MS disable the dark theme on Pro?  I'm running the current release branch of W10 Pro and the registry mods have no effect.  Works fine on my Win10 Home machine.
  • This doesn't appear to work anymore...
  • for some reason it isn't working now after a fresh install of the latest build :/ i've tried enabling and disabling and rebooting several times and it stays white