The benefit of a dark screen is that it’s easy to understand – less eye strain, text is easier to read, and well, they just look cool, don’t they?
After several years of waiting, Windows 10 now offers a native dark theme mode. You’ll also find lots of third-party dark themes out there; more than enough to suit every taste and style.
Here are some of the best Windows 10 dark themes that you can get right now.
Warning Before Applying Windows Theme. Some of these themes make significant changes to your system files. Therefore, always create a system restore point and back up your work before trying to install it.
How to Change Windows 10 Theme
First, right-click on your desktop and select Personalization > Themes or head to Start > Settings > Personalization > Themes.
You can choose from one of the built-in Windows themes, or click Get more themes in the Microsoft Store to see more.
Windows 10 Dark Theme
With the 2017 Anniversary Update, Microsoft introduced the Windows 10 system dark theme, which was previously only available via a registry hack.
If you are running the latest version of Windows 10, go to Settings (Windows key + I) > Personalization > Colors, scroll down and set the default app mode to Dark (dark).
Themes will change Windows system apps and Microsoft store apps. You will still need to change other third party apps on a case by case basis.
For the record, here’s an old registry hack:
- Open Run (either right click on Start > Run or press Windows key + R).
- Type RegEdit and press Enter.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionThemesPersonalization.
- Create a new DWORD value called AppsUseLightTheme with a value of 0.
- Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionThemesPersonalization.
- Again, create a new DWORD value called AppsUseLightTheme with a value of 0.
- Restart your computer
Delete the new registry entry or change the value to 1 to re-enable light theme.
Unlike some of the other themes on this list, it can be installed without using any third-party tools or editing any system files making it great for users who want a hassle-free option.
The developer warns that because Microsoft’s dark theme options are limited, it’s forced to make it a high-contrast theme. You should check whether it is suitable or not according to your requirements.
To start using it, download the file and place it in [USERNAME] AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindowsThemes.
Before proceeding, be aware that this is a Windows 10-only theme. If you are reading this article trying to find a theme for Windows 7 or 8, it will not work for you.
It is designed to use neutral dark colors, so there will be no contrast or unpleasant colors on your screen.
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The installation process is more complicated than the previous options. Before installing anything, make sure you’ve downloaded these three essential tools:
To get the theme up and running, first install the Open Sans font (included in the theme download). Then install UXThemePatcher, and finally, OldNewExplorer.
Next, move the contents of the theme’s Visual Styles folder to C:WindowsResourcesThemes. Now is a good time to reboot your computer.
Finally, select a theme in the Settings app as described earlier.
You can further customize this theme by changing the color and opacity of the Taskbar. This tool is available for download on the DeviantArt theme page.
It is arguably the most complicated to install. You will need four third-party applications before installing the main theme. They:
To use the dark theme, install Blank.TFF and run Blank.REG.
Next, copy the themes folder directly to C:WindowsResourcesThemes. When ready, patch your system using UXThemePatcher.
Finally, navigate back to Settings > Personalization > Themes and select a theme from the list.
Rather than total darkness, Ades Theme uses various tones of gray and introduces several colors.
While it still requires third-party tools, it’s easier than installing Nocturnal and Penumbra. You’ll still need the UXThemePatcher, but you can download the file and go straight to C:WindowsResourcesThemes.
To make it look better, install the icon pack associated with the developer. That lets you apply the cool icons you see in the image below.
Hover Dark Aero
Hover Dark Aero uses transparent black and gray colors to create a sleek and visually impressive user interface. If you want to recreate the look you see in the image above, you’ll also need to download the corresponding theme pack from the creator. The icon pack is included in the theme download file.
There are six different versions of the theme to choose from, each with a slightly different feel.
To make the theme work, you need to make sure that you have the UXThemePatcher mentioned above installed.
The final Windows 10 visual style that we would recommend is Hastpy.
The developer behind the theme is Cleodesktop. It was the same person in charge of Hover Dark Aero and the similarities were clear; both use the same icon pack.
Unlike Hover Dark Aero, Hastpy does not have a see-through band. Instead, it spreads a contrasting light gray color. Again, six different versions of the theme are available.
To install Hastpy on your system, you need to run UXThemePatcher. Move all files in theme download file %windir%/Resources/Themes folder to get up and walk.
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