Microsoft introduces system-wide light theme in Windows 10 19H1

Windows 10 takes a leap forward for UI fanatics today as Microsoft introduces a brand new system-wide theme that turns the Windows Shell, which includes the Start menu, Taskbar, and Action Center from dark to light. Windows 10 has had a light and dark theme mode for quite some time, but up until today, it was only for apps.

The new theme option is an additional one which is separate from the apps theme option, meaning users will be able to theme the Windows Shell separately from apps, allowing for a hybrid setup of dark apps and a light shell, or vice-versa.

The light theme for the Windows Shell gives the entire UI a fresh, clean look, along with a new default Windows 10 wallpaper that matches it. It affects all areas of the shell, including notifications, the keyboard, and context menus in some places.

Microsoft has wanted to build a light theme into the Windows Shell since Windows 10 first started development but is only now just getting around to it in 19H1, which is scheduled to ship in April 2019.

It appears Microsoft is focusing on UI improvements rather extensively in Windows 10 19H1, with plans to implement Fluent Design into even more of the Windows Shell. Things like context menus and jump lists are being updated with Fluent Design, and we can expect to see more shadow effects implemented throughout the OS too which adds an additional layer of depth.

Windows Insiders can now download the new light theme and wallpaper on 19H1 build 18282.

The new light theme in Windows 10 is another step forward in Microsoft's adventure of adding Fluent Design to Windows 10. What are your thoughts on the new theme? Let us know in the comments below.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Great news! I'd be able to comment more on it if there were more example screenshots of it.
  • Join Insider fast ring and you can comment on more than just screen shots.
  • Now this is awesome 😍
    Looks a lot like the video which Microsoft released in 2016 on Fluent Design.
  • Not exactly, because of the transparency.
    The pure white UI from the video was nice, but I don't like the light blue we see here.
    I guess you have to carefully choose your wallpaper when using light theme.
  • Or simply disable transparency.
  • Dark theme is best theme period but I love the option.
  • These UI updates give me hope...because they're direly needed. :)
  • Microsoft is making great headway with this update. I hope more legacy software gets cleaned up.
  • It only took them 3 years
  • I'd say close to 9 years, given Windows took the design of WP7, which had a white/dark theme back in 2010.
  • Can they also differenciate dark theme in one hand and black theme in other hand?
  • yes it's customizable
  • Am I the only one that saw this and thought, "hey, it's the old Light Start mode from Windows phones"? Welcome back to 2012, again. :)
  • Nope you are not the only one.
  • 2010 actually, from WP7.
  • The system dark theme needs more work too
  • I like the themes, but I wish there was an option to have them automatically time-based. I want my PC to auto use light theme in the day, and automatically switch to dark at night time hours. That would be very ideal!
  • That wallpaper is incredible, is it an option in Windows 10 or did you download it?
  • It's the default on this build.
  • How about a transparent task bar