How to Turn on Windows 10 Dark Theme

Dark mode is easier on the eyes; set it up to reduce eye strain

Woman staring at and using a Windows 10 Surface laptop while laying on a bed

Microsoft / Microsoft Image Gallery

Eye strain due to prolonged computer and smartphone use seems almost as inevitable as it is uncomfortable. Reduce eye strain by taking advantage of Windows 10's dark theme — an easy way to customize your system's color scheme and display darker tones that are easier on the eyes.

Instructions provided in this guide only apply to computers running Windows 10.

What Is Windows 10 Dark Theme?

Dark themes appear in a variety of browsers, operating systems, and even individual apps. They're typically a type of system-level color scheme to change the colors of system features like menus and backgrounds to dark colors.

The Windows 10 dark theme (referred to as dark mode within the OS), is just a simple color customization option to turn your backgrounds black and darken the overall look of your display.

Not all aspects of Windows 10 will flip to dark mode. File Explorer, for example, still uses the default color scheme, and non-Microsoft apps usually need their own dark themes enabled. Expect the Windows 10 dark theme to be automatically applied to settings menus, and apps like Microsoft Store, Mail, or Calculator.

How to Enable Windows 10 Dark Theme

  1. Select Start then select the gear icon to open Windows Settings.

  2. Select Personalization > Colors.

    The main Settings menu of a Windows 10 PC and the location of the Personalization sub-menu button
  3. Scroll down to the Choose your default app mode section, then select Dark.

    The Colors menu in Windows 10. This menu houses the dark mode option

Night Light

Although a dark theme helps with eyestrain in low-light conditions, Windows also includes a tool called Night Light that gradually shifts the color spectrum of the display toward warmer colors. By reducing the relative level of blue light in favor of red light, a light-theme display also reduces eyestrain. Night Light, once set, automatically turns on and off — slowly fading in and out — at sunset and sunrise.

Use Night Light as an alternative to the dark theme, or in conjunction with it.