How to keep your Windows 10 colored title bars even when using the default dark theme

Through its new servicing model, Microsoft recently began to roll out the first major update to the desktop version of Windows 10. Version 1511 includes a lot of features and improvements to make the overall experience a little better.

In the November update, the software giant has fixed a lot of issues, added performance enhancements everywhere, included new apps (e.g., Messaging apps powered by Skype) and some new features in the Settings app that should help users further customize the operating system.

If you want to see pretty much everything that is new in Windows 10, don't forget to check out our previous roundup of features, improvements, and changes for Windows 10 November update.

In addition, version 1511 brings a bunch of tweaks to the user interface, such as updated context menus (which by the way they're still inconsistent, but they are headed in the right direction), and new icons.

The company also incorporated the ability to display colored title bars for desktop applications by updating the Show color on Start, taskbar, action center, and title bar option in the Colors personalization settings.

However, this new feature can only be enabled as long as you have your settings configured to show colors in the user interface. If you are using the default dark theme, you will continue to see the boring white colored title bars on File Explorer and desktop applications.

As such, in this new Windows 10 guide, we will show you how easy it's to tweak a registry setting to enable you to see colored title bars on desktop apps and File Explorer even when you're using the default dark theme.

How to get colored title bars using the dark theme

Important: Before you modify anything on your system, it's important to note that modifying the Windows registry can be a dangerous game that can cause irreversible damages to your installation if you don't know what you are doing. As such, it's recommended for you to make a full backup of your system or at least System Restore Point before proceeding with this guide. You have been warned!

1- If you're already showing colors on desktop apps, use the Windows + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.

2- Next, navigate to Personalization and go to Colors.

3- On Colors make sure to turn off the Show color on Start, taskbar, action center, and title bar.

4- Go to the Start menu, do a search for regedit, hit Enter, and click OK to open the Registry with admin rights.

5- Navigate the following path in the Registry:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\DWM

6- Inside the DWM key, double-click the ColorPrevalence DWORD and change the value from 0 to 1.

You don't need to restart your computer or do anything else, as the change should apply immediately. Simple close and open the File Explorer or a desktop app to see the colored title bars.

After applying the change, you can still go back to Settings > Personalization > Backgrounds to pick a new desktop wallpaper, and see the title bars changing colors.

The settings will be preserved even after rebooting your computer, the only caveat with this trick is that you'll lose the configuration whenever you turn on the Show color on Start, taskbar, action center, and title bar option. However, you can always repeat the steps shown in this guide to get the colored title bars again when you want to use the Windows 10 dark theme.

How would you like Microsoft officially bringing the feature to Windows 10? If you like it, remember to let the company know through the Windows Feedback app.

More Resources

If you want to see more how-to for Windows 10, make sure you check the following resources too:

What's your preferred method to avoid running into issues when modifying your Windows installation? Let us know in the comments below.

Source WinAero

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

53 Comments
  • That moment, when you are so early, you don't know what to say! (sighs)
  • I would like the opposite. How to keep your colored theme, but lose the colored titlebars. 
  • Simple. Don't update :)
  • Too late for that :P Besides, apart from having a bug here and there, Windows 10 is actually pretty fantastic. 
  • apart ? , i rolled back to 8.1 ! , i can't manage every minute bug ! , its look like a new vista !
  • It depends on your computer. My brother has a Toshiba laptop that is behaving horribly, but my surface 3 has been pretty darn solid. I agree though, the bugs are unacceptable. They will be ironed out I have no doubt, but come on. This needs to be priority #1 not, we will update down the line. Overall my surface 3 is really great on Windows 10 though. 
  • i'm scared from the names TH , RS ... it doesn't look like bugs fix , its look like "move on"  and do more features and not bugs fix
  • Agreed. My dads old laptop which cane with vista didn't perform too well with windows 10. However my custom built pc and my sp3 are perfectly working as normal
  • My dad had an old laptop which came with vista originally. I put windows 10 on it and first it performed horribly. But I turned off fast boot on it and it was awesome. Later on it overheated and died. Those laptops back in the day didn't have very good coiling, and they used to run very hot even while doing normal tasks like web browsing. It was on uts way out anyway. The trackpad buttons had died long ago and the screen was on it's way out. He now uses my sp3 when he needs it :P
  • Similar to Windows Phone 10 (or Windows 10 mobile?), many desktops do not upgrade very gracefully to win10 and you really need to do a fresh install to get the real win10 expierence.  The November update does seem to fix this for many people though, so if you did the update pre-Nov update then you may want to try again.
  • Try to turn Colors on and then change DWM key to 0.
  • Hmm...I'll have to try that, thanks!
  • Me too
  • I'm embarrassed to say I needed this. Lol Thanks! :)
  • Ehy man me too :D
  • Thanks! Is it possible to change the color of the title in the titlebar too?
  • No.
  • Ok.
  • Wowww Thanks!!! I was waiting for this trick! Thank you Mauro!
  • You're welcome. I'm this trick can help! Thanks,
  • Nice.Thank you.
  • No problem.
  • OMG...finally its there....thanks alot for sharing this awesome tip... ^_^
  • Not working on my PC. It automatically sets back to 0 after I turn the option On in the Settings menu.
  • It's mentioned in the article that this configuration will be lost once you turn on the option to show the colour in the title bar, etc.
  • Great. Thanks. Strangely enough, if the accent colour is a dark one, the font colour in the title bars turns to white (as it should), except in the file explorer window, where it remains black... Anyone else getting this?
  • Yep. Me too. I've noticed the same thing.
  • Exactly what I came here to say! :D
  • Is there any way to get black title bars instead of coloured? (without changing your accent colour to black) This is way better than the white title bars, but I'd greatly prefer to have black title bars.
  • If there's any registry genuis out there, help me figure out how to get a black title bar without having to switch to high contrast mode.
  • yay finally, seems like it was too much for Microsoft to add a button for this function
  • Because it's not implemented properly yet. If you notice the title in the title bar also changes colour depending on your accent colour brightness. For light colours the title will be black and for dark colours the title will be white. They haven't fully implemented this change into the dark theme on windows 10 so that's why they specify that all title nars are white and turtles black in dark theme. I think once they've fully implemented the changing of the colour of the title in the dark theme option, they'll have a separate option for coloured title bars, regardless of dark theme or coloured theme
  • thank you, thank you, thank you!
  • This doesn't work for win32 apps running in tablet mode. :(
  • I've known about this for a few weeks but FFS Microsoft make things so difficult, why not allow the colour even if you don't want start, taskbar, tiles, etc (basically half the screen) the same colour so it no longer does stand out. Colour usage is broken in Windows 10 they need to have both a base colour and a highlight colour as in Windows 8(.1).
  • Nov update make my laptop so slow! :/ It used to turn on on 12 seconds with windows 8... 14 with 8.1... 23 with windows 10... now... well maybe 1 minute or more :/    
  • #MayGodBless u r laptop
  • time to go SSD?
  • I'll move to SSD when it has an acceptable price :)
  • 12 seconds! :-o
    Definitely time to move to an SSD if possible
  • I knewit since a week ago, but I didn't like using it, especially when you can notice the bug even more when automatic coloring with background doesn't match the 1px border with the start menu tiles and title bar and such. it's strange to see everything orange but the border blue.
  • Nice! much better!
    Now if we can get idle windows to have some muted color, and some transparency on the windows like we have on the start bar, then win10 will be perfected!
  • I would rather have transparent taskbar.
  • Really, you expect a win10 home user, to start playing with the registry! Come on lets get real. This stupidity of removing group policy editor, from the home edition, is pointless. Complicates everything. You can't expect regular users to go thru this process.
    The tip itself of great, but!
    I'll leave it at that.
  • There was a warning.
  • Most Home users didn't even know there was ever a Group Policy editor.
  • Thank you, Mauro! And Microsoft, if you're listening (yes, I have submitted feedback through the appropriate app), could we please have the ability to generate a custom color? And how come Modern apps have a gray titlebar no matter what? Kthnks.
  • I just wanted that.. Thanks . I also gave feedback to Windows about that
  • Hey Mauro. Thanks for this.  Find it pretty silly that it's not natively possible. I wish we still could personalise all aspects of it like we used in the old days. I like dark colours but it would be nice to have the title bars' font colour as white. Redstone perhaps :)
  • I would actually like to have the transparency of the Aero theme again. I thought that was a very beautiful theme. I loved the look and feel of Vista - nice icons, nice colors, etc. To each their own.
  • I'm not sure which I prefer, but I think we should have the choice.
  • This is odd.  My desktop was doing color title bars with the dark theme without this hack in place.  I did the registry change but nothing changed. Perhaps it was a synced setting from one of my other systems or A/B testing?  I do know I requested this on Feedback.
  • One advice for you. Please come to the point immediately in your artilces. In every one of your articles, the first few paragraphs beat around the bush and give very general information that I think everyone reading this website already knows. This makes your articles unncessarily lengthy and easily dissuades me from reading further. Hope you think more about my advice, Peace.