How to reduce window border size in Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista

If you are not happy with the huge window frame present by default in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, you can easily change its thickness. In this article, we will see how it can be done.


In Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista, opened windows have a 4px border out-of-the-box. This setting is part of the default Aero theme which was introduced in Windows Vista and exists even on Windows 10, but with several modifications. For the Aero theme in Windows 8, 7 or Vista, the window frame can be a minimum of 1 px, and the maximum size can be above 20px. So, if you are not happy with the default 4px window frame, you can set it to 1px and enjoy slick looking thin window frames.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 users can configure the appearance of the window border using the GUI. In Personalization-> Color-> Advanced appearance, there is an option called "Border Padding". You can set it to 0 and get a 1px border! Here is a picture of the default window frame size in Windows 7:Windows 7 default window border

And this is how the reduced one looks with the appropriate option set:Windows 7 thin window border

As you can see, there is nothing complex about it.

But things are different in Windows 8/Windows 8.1. Microsoft removed all of the advanced appearance options, so the user cannot reduce the window frame easily. To reduce window borders, you need to apply a Registry tweak or use a third party tool.

The Registry tweak should be done as follows.

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the following Registry path:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

    Tip: See how to jump to the desired Registry key with one click.

  3. You will see a string (REG_SZ) value named PaddedBorderWidth. Its value data uses the following formula:
    -15*border width in pixels

    For example, by default it is -60, which means 4px:

    -15*4 = -60

    Just set it to 0:Windows 8 reduce window border

  4. Now, sign out from your user account and log in back. Window borders will be 1px, as expected:Windows 8 thin window border

To avoid Registry editing and the sign out requirement, as well as to save your time, you can use Winaero Tweaker. It offers you the appropriate option and applies changes on-the-fly. Run Winaero Tweaker, go to Advanced Appearance -> Window Borders and adjust window frames the way you need:aero lite borders Winaero Tweaker

The changes will be applied instantly!

As for Windows 10, its default theme does not draw any border. This theme is modified by Microsoft and can't have borders at all. However, if you activate and apply the hidden Aero Lite theme, you will be able to manage borders using the Registry or by using Winaero 10 aero lite

That's it. If you have any questions or suggestions, you are welcome to comment.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

22 thoughts on “How to reduce window border size in Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista”

  1. To get the narrowest borders the value BorderWidth should be set to 0. Winaero Tweaker leaves it at the default -15 setting.

    To apply the Registry changes the user has to restart the computer or else log out and log back in again. However, Winaero Tweaker applies the changes immediately. How does it do that? Is there a script you can share with us?

    1. 0 is ignored by OS. minimal value is 1, which should be -15
      To set borders, Winaero tweaker uses APIs which are in Windows since Windows 9x

      1. The API unfortunately is broken/buggy since past many Windows releases and causes random other metrics parameters to change. Therefore I think editing the Registry is a better option even if it requires a log off and is not live. To prevent disturbing other parameters that is. :)

    1. No, you are wrong.
      Windows 10 does not draw any border and does not respect the mentioned value with the default theme.
      Set Aero Lite and try to play with BorderWidth. You will see that minimal value is 1.
      The only parameter which can be set to 0 is PaddedBorderWidth, but even in that case it will draw 1px border with Aero Lite and no border with Default theme in case of Windows 10.

      1. Thank you for your reply. It’s possible that Windows 10 doesn’t respect a 0 setting for BorderWidth when the default theme is used. I don’t know. I’m using the Aero Lite theme. I can assure you that setting BorderWidtth to 0 and PaddedBorderWidth to 0 when the Aero Lite theme is selected will create a narrower border than leaving the BorderWidth setting at -15 or -20, which is the default Aero Lite setting.

  2. With Winaero Tweaker I enabled Aero Lite. It performs as wanted; I can adjust the border width with Winaero Tweaker and the color with Windows/Personalization and Colors. However, the system time on the Taskbar is BLACK text, which I can hardly see. Is there a way to make it white as are the other system icons a the far right on the Taskbar?

      1. The free T-Clock enables changing the text color and more:
        Thanks for WinAero Tweaker.

  3. every time windows 10 reboots it seems to reset my theme back to the 4px “border padding” value… what is the trick to get this to stay across reboots?

  4. This Windows10 “1px border with the rest of the border being invisible under the default windows theme(s)” thing causes issues with File Explorer opening at different position after being closed and re-opened (it ”cascades” a few pixels off, as if it is a second instance of FE open at the time time).

    AeroLite theme remmebers FE’s position when closed and re-opened, but there is so many other things that AeroLite changes. Duller colors for hidden UI elements (This PC disk drive space used-up in Tiles view), nearly unreadable text on inactive titlebars. I’m very greatful for the AeroLite workaround, but is there a way to make FE remember it’s position under the new Win10 default themes? Or, failing that, to make AeroLite look more like the default Win10 themes?

  5. Will you PLEASE tell me how to UNDO the Border settings? All they did was shrink my Windows File Explorer titlebar text to an *unacceptable* small size

    1. Hello,
      Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics
      Set PaddedBorderWidth to -60
      Sign out.
      Sign in back.
      This will restore the default border width.

          1. This just destroys the interface on Win10 1903. If this shouldn’t be used on Custom Theme that should be blocked or clearly labeled. It shrunk the interface to unusable levels. It will not re-enlarge with the ‘Light’ theme selected. Please advise. Screenshot:

          2. From the screenshot it doesn’t look like something related to windows borders.
            It looks like other settings like “menus height” and “statusbar font” were customized.
            Did you change anything there?
            Please use “Reset advanced appearance” if you did that.

      1. Hello,

        Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics
        Set PaddedBorderWidth to -60
        Sign out.
        Sign in back.
        This will restore the default border width.

        Helped me, thanks.

  6. I thought this was going to fix my issue with Windows 10’s Alt-Printscreen shortcut capturing the shadow. I’m sure this is a problem because I upgraded from Windows 8.1 to 10 and now it thinks there’s always a border there, even though there isn’t, and it captures it. Seems any new install of Windows 10 has Alt-Printscreen functioning normally and I’m stuck with the ugly version with no fix in sight.

  7. I Don’t Know If Is A Problem Of Windows 10 Or There Are Some Fixes To Achieve It! But Why If I Open Task Manager And I Position In (x,y) Coordinates Then I Close And Then I Reopen It … It’s Opened At (x-4px, y) Coordinates?

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