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Get colored title bars in Windows 10

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Since Windows 10 build 10056, Microsoft has blocked colored titlebars for all opened windows. Many users find this change extremely frustrating because it doesn't make it clear whether the window is active or inactive. It is a major usability violation. Here is how to fix it and restore colored titlebars in Windows 10 easily.

Depending on the build of Windows 10 that you are running, the option and method you need to use are different. Before you proceed, check which build you are running. See this article: How to find the Windows 10 build number you are running.

Windows 10 version 1607 "Anniversary Update"

If you are running Windows 10 version 1607 "Anniversary Update", do the following.

  1. Open the Settings app. Windows 10 settings app
  2. Go to Personalization -> Colors.
  3. Enable the option Show color on title bar. Windows 10 show color on title bar

Windows 10 version 1506 build 10586

If you are running Windows 10 version 1506 build 10586, then do the following.

  1. Open the Settings app.
    Windows 10 open settings
  2. Go to Personalization -> Colors.
  3. Enable the option Show color on Start, taskbar, action center and title bar Windows 10 10586 personalization color show color on titlebar start menu action center

Windows 10 "RTM" build 10240

Before we start, let me explain why window title bars are white in Windows 10. Inside the uDWM.dll file, there is a check which compares the theme file name to aero.msstyles. If it matches aero.msstyles, it ignores the color and sets it to white.

For Firefox 40 and above, see the fix here: Get colored Firefox title bar in Windows 10.

Option one. Use Winaero Tweaker to get colored title bars

With version 0.3, you can enable colored title bars in Windows 10 with just one click. Go to Appearance -> Colored Title bars and click the appropriate button.

Winaero Tweaker Colored Titlebars More details HERE. You can download Winaero Tweaker here:
Download Winaero Tweaker | The list of Winaero Tweaker features | Winaero Tweaker FAQ

Option two. Restore colored titlebars in Windows 10 manually

Here is a simple solution - just rename the msstyles file to something else which does not contain the "aero.msstyles" string. Here are step-by-step instructions to do just that.

  1. Go to the following folder:
    C:\Windows\Resources\Themes

    windows 10 themes folder

  2. Select the aero subfolder, press Ctrl + C to copy it and then Ctrl + V immediately to paste it. You will get the folder aero - Copy. Confirm the UAC request and press SKIP for all MSS files.
    windows 10 confirm uac
    windows 10 skip files
    windows 10 aero-Copy
  3. Now, rename the folder aero - Copy to "windows". Confirm the UAC request: windows 10 renamed to windows
  4. Inside the windows folder, rename the aero.msstyles to windows.msstyles. Confirm the UAC requestюю
    windows 10 rename aero msstyle to windows
  5. Inside the windows\en-US folder, rename the aero.msstyles.mui file to windows.msstyles.mui.
    windows 10 rename mui to windows
  6. Select the file aero.theme and copy it to the Desktop.
  7. Rename it to windows.theme.
  8. Open it with notepad: windows 10 windows theme open with notepad
  9. Edit the [VisualStyles] section and replace the following line:
    Path=%ResourceDir%\Themes\Aero\Aero.msstyles

    with the following text:

    Path=%ResourceDir%\Themes\windows\windows.msstyles

    windows 10 change theme file

  10. Now, double click the windows.theme file and enjoy colored titlebars:
    windows 10 colored titles
  11. You can set any desired color from the Settings app: windows 10 colored titles 2

That's it. Many thanks to my friends Lucas and gus3300 for helping me with this trick.

You can download ready-to-use theme files and avoid doing steps above manually using this link:

Download ready-to-use theme file for Windows 10 build 10240

64 thoughts on “Get colored title bars in Windows 10

  1. Paul saurav

    Great trick ! But can i use any color for titlebar

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You can use any color you want

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  2. Silverio Vicente

    Awesome can’t wait to try this! If only there was a way to apply the aero blur from the start menu to the windows. A Geek can dream… A Geek can dream… Haha

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      I think it is possible. Time will tell.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

      Reply
      1. MDJ

        bigmuscle is working on this as always ;)

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        Reply
  3. Shawn

    Nice find but people shouldn’t be getting excited over reviving a feature Microsoft removed. Instead avoid Windows 10.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 46

    Reply
    1. Trollboy

      Epic troll is troll

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 20

      Reply
      1. Clown

        Its not a troll comment. MS removes usability and personalize features. – maybe again, trying to get their customers into METRO by making Windows as ugly as possible.

        Windows 10 is still just as ugly as Windows 8… And eventually, MS will simply block this trick from working, which isn’t a great solution to this problem. Why go through all this when Windows 7 color options were easy to do and looked fine?

        So far, Windows 10 is not selling itself well… I will most likely skip the free upgrade to Windows 10 on my 4 home computers. Its not worth the hassle with so little return.

        This will be BAD if Microsoft cannot give Windows 10 away.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 6

        Reply
        1. Joe

          I love the new look in Windows 10… absolutely nice design.
          My favourite OS for sure.
          Some like macs… but since they stopped using real lead for solding components they are way to unstable.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          Reply
  4. Pepper

    Well now all the title bars are the same color, active or inactive. Before they were all white. Not much improvement IMO.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Thanks to Microsoft.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  5. Paul saurav

    Only blue colour appears

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Go in personalization and set the desired color.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  6. Karim

    Fantastic !
    I was looking for that last night, thinking it was a native option.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  7. Fiddle

    Whether you like the white titlebar or not, it is NOT a usability violation, merely an aesthetic issue. The accent colour one pixel border around the window tells you if a window is active or not. It appears if the window is active and disappears if it is not. Not to mention that an active window has a stronger shadow than an inactive window.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 17

    Reply
  8. Paul saurav

    Can i get white color in build 10074

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    Reply
  9. Samir

    Thanks! But in build 10130 at least, this doesn’t help you with title bars of the new modern apps, only win32. I really hope they change this back to the way it was, or at least give us the option to set this in the control panel.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Yeah, Modern apps have always white titles.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      1. MDJ

        Sergey, any news on modern apps‘ titlebar color change?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Reply
        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          Still not possible.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          Reply
  10. Vince

    I downloaded that theme and it worked
    But now my taskbar’s clock and date text is black
    How do I change it back to white?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      It is not possible. MS didn’t provied any way

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Reply
  11. karl

    I love having colored titlebars back. However I have an issue with non-active windows?

    In File Explorer, the faint grey titles are too faded to read.
    Mozilla FireFox has a strange box around the window title.
    http://img673.imageshack.us/img673/4600/XQAs2q.png

    Is there a way to remove the box on FF, and edit the color of the active/non-active window titles? I think I’d like white for active and black for non-active, if possible.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. BloodySword

      Same for me. :(

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  12. john werneken

    This has got to be up there as an all-time Kruft Hack! Thank You!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  13. Alistair

    Great find! And not only restores coloured title bars but, actually much more critically for me’ restores the now hidden window borders – which means that the resize handles now line up with the borders again

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  14. Alistair

    I have been trying this out, and it’s a great hack.
    A few thing I noticed
    1. As in my previous post, it restores the borders to Win7 thickness, which is very good
    2. the border changes colour between active/inactive – again, very useful. Much better than the single pixel
    3. when the window is ACTIVE, the border is the same colour as the title bar which looks good
    4. when the window is inactive, the title bar stays the same colour as active – which leaves a U-shaped inactive-colour border.
    5. there is still a single pixel border that changes from black (active) to grey around the outside of the window and borders.

    So, is there any likelihood of being able to change the title bar to the same colours as the border for active/inactive? or is this now hard-coded? Is there a setting anywhere to restore the title bar colour switch to the same as the border?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
  15. Alistair

    … although (one of) the downside(s) of doing this is the shadow disappears

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  16. Kurue

    thank your tips, pro
    I have a problem, can you help me? pls
    I like windows 10 non boder effect, I edited registry in windows 8.1 (boder and padding=0) but it till exist a small boder, what must I do to make windows 8.1 non boder effect such as windows 10? (sr for my bad English I use translator)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      It is not possible with the default Win8 theme. You need to use some third party theme/visual style.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    2. Kurue

      Thank for your reply, I think it hard to me to do it. I don’t like windows 10 structure, it not looklike for me, I only like flat design-non boder in it. Hope someone can help me.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  17. mizuhakei

    A million thanks for you! This is the first thing i felt awkward after windows 10 is installed, and finally i get here :D
    A small question by the way, after using the windows.theme should i remove it or move it back to the Themes folder?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Better to move it into the Themes folder

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  18. JOJO

    Thanks a ton..!
    its an excellent article. got rid of dull white title bars finally…

    good work..!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  19. MasterDav

    Winaero tweaker tries to get \system32\resources while themes are in \windows\resources, then it crashes.
    Second options works well.
    Problem is active and inactive windows look the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Fixing right now

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  20. Jerry

    My problem with this tweak is the invisible border it creates around my start menus and system tray ‘show hidden icons’ pop outs. It’s very annoying. Anyone else getting this?

    http://www.evernote.com/shard/s30/sh/449ae439-c1a8-4b33-af8e-db29721e3968/beb9ae68a69ffb18a559081bb60a5366

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  21. Nate

    In build 20140, it has annoying black borders around the minimize, maximize, and close buttons, and the borders are fat and the shadows are gone. is there any way to fix this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      It can be fixed only with some third-party VS/theme.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  22. roger

    Hi Sergey. Is there any chance of a hack to make the title bars a little smaller, like there was for Win8? Also the 3 buttons on the right (min/max/X) are HORRIBLY big, would love if the entire titlebar and those buttons could be made a lot smaller..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  23. swampwiz

    I seem to remember there being 2 colors – a title bar color, and then a 2nd color (I think grey). This tweak only allows a single color, and there is not a 3rd color to show which window is active.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  24. V09

    Worked impeccably; finally rid of the urge to put my fist through the screen :D
    Just a follow up; will making the theme file hidden affect it in anyway?
    Just a minor eyesore seeing it on the desktop

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You can put it into c:\Windows\Resources\Themes and it will be not on the desktop.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  25. Piotr

    Incredibly useful! I am shocked Microsoft is blind to what users want. I used your tricks on July 29, 2015 and still hope Microsoft wakes up. If not, you will be the most popular guy on the net :)

    thank you

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  26. petes

    In the titlebar the color of the font is always black and the background colors offered are too dark so it’s a bit hard to read the title, is there any way to enable the dynamic color changer of the font thingy?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      There is no way to do it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      Reply
  27. michael

    I found this and looks cool http://mare-m.deviantart.com/art/Colored-Title-Bar-Theme-for-Windows-10-552490027

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      It is the same theme as described in this article.
      Also, early i shared the same theme here: http://hb860.deviantart.com/art/Windows-10-colored-title-bars-543577408
      So, that guy did nothing new.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      1. michael

        You’re wrong. If you look carefully you’ll see that this theme has no bugs with inactive windows. Also this guy resolved some other problems, and there’s a black theme also with white text and caption buttons. Don’t get me wrong, that’s just my observation.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

        Reply
        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          Okay. I will check it right now.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

          Reply
  28. KERR

    Great news, MS are implementing this (bringing it back!) in new build 10525. See here:
    http://blogs.windows.com/bloggingwindows/2015/08/18/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-10525/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  29. thierrybo

    In Win 8, only the active Window has a colored bar, the others one were gray. I expected this tweak to do the same, but all windows have now blue title bar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You can install the latest build 10523. It looks exactly as you want.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

      Reply
  30. CatsPrivateBedroom

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  31. Joe

    I just tried this in Windows 8.1 to see if it would have any effect — it did!

    Apparently they did the same trick to make the inactive titlebars that drab gray color that makes them harder to pick out from other elements. Copy and rename aero.msstyles, and inactive titlebars will be a washed out form of whatever color you make active titlebars.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  32. Kshitijkumar Patil

    Hi, it seems that this does not work with the latest windows 10 update build 10586. The title bars revert back to white. Please look into it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  33. Chris

    This is perfect! Before making this change, when moving windows around my screens, I kept grabbing too low on the title bar. This adds some color back!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  34. BlackScout

    Just change/create in Regedit:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\DWM

    DWORD Key > “ColorPrevalence” to 1

    It worked well and safe here, no editing or weird tweaking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Look at the date of the article.
      It is related to build 10240.
      When it was written, the tweak you mentioned was not applicable and was not working.
      You tweak is for 10586, which was released much later.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
    2. Moi

      Thank you very much! This works perfectly, the theme tweak creates a fat border which I didn’t like.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  35. Anon

    Thanks a tonne! Worked perfectly! Looked for ages to solve this issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  36. Daniel

    It didn’t work! My windows still have the same dull grey title bars even after applying the steps you directed!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      This article is about Windows 10 RTM build 10240
      If you are running build 10586, go to Settings -> Personalization -> Colors and enable Show color on Start, Action Center and titlebar.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  37. pureocean

    Dear Sergey,

    I want to change title bar’s color different from task bar.
    For example, while taskbar color is more light-dark gray, can be the title bar’s color like classic titlebar blue?
    Is it possible?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply

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