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Guide: Fix ‘Windows 10 Light Theme Not Working’ Issue
Since the initial release of Windows 10, the inclusion of a full-fledged Light theme in the May 1903 update is possibly the most significant change it has made aesthetically. Finally, you can replace the gloomy-looking color in the Start menu, taskbar, and Notification Center with a great light gray shade.
However, as with File Explorer’s dark mode functionality introduced last year, the Light theme has its fair share of issues. Sometimes it is also not displayed up fully or will only partially render.
However, there are a handful of solutions you can try in cases where the Light theme doesn’t work. So let’s get started without further ado.back to menu ↑
Update Windows 10
The very first thing to do is to make sure your PC has the latest Windows 10 feature update installed. The Light theme affecting the taskbar, Start menu and other UI elements is part of the Windows 10 1903 Update, so simply switching to Light mode from the color settings in an older version (1809 or earlier) has no influence.
To do this, type winver into the Start menu and press Enter. If you see version 1903 or higher in the pop-upup box, then you have the right one feature update installed on your PC. If not, it’s time to update.
To do this, type windows update in the Start menu and press Enter. Click Check for updates buttonIf the latter feature update is available for your device, click Download and Install.
Important: Feature Downloading and installing updates takes a lot of time (at least an hour). Make sure to save your work before proceeding.
At the time of writing, Microsoft has rolled out the Windows 10 May 1903 update to everyone. However, if your PC configuration has potential conflicts with the update, it may not be displayed up when searching.
In such cases, you can choose to use the Windows 10 Update Assistant to force-install the update. However, this can cause all kinds of performance and stability issues so it’s best to wait for the update to be officially available for your PC.back to menu ↑
Switch to Light theme manually
Even with the latest feature update already installed, there may be instances when the Light theme is not displayed up automatically. Either you see the Light theme being applied unevenly to the user interface elements. The manual color controls should help you solve both problems.
Type color settings in the Start menu and click Open. In the settings window that appears up, click the menu under Choose your color, then click Light.
That will display apps (file explorer, photos, email, etc.) as well as user interface elements (taskbar, start menu, etc.) in light mode.
You can also select Custom and then turn on the light or dark radio buttons under the sections Choose your default Windows mode and Choose your default app mode as you see fit.
The former affects the Windows 10 user interface, while the latter affects apps. These controls allow you to display elements such as the taskbar and Start menu in light mode while keeping supported apps running in dark mode, or vice versa.back to menu ↑
Change the registry
Sometimes Windows 10’s color controls have no effect. This happens as a result of a failure of the system registry. In such cases, you have to dive into the registry and change the relevant keys all by yourself. Do not you worry. There is nothing complicated about the procedure.
Step 1: Press Windows + R to bring up the Run box. Type regedit and click OK.
Step 2: Copy and paste the following path into the address bar at the top of the Registry Editor window.
Press Enter, then click the Personalize folder in the navigation pane on the left.
Step 3: Double-click the registry key labeled AppsUseLightTheme. Please enter a value of 1 in the dollup box and then click OK.
Changing this key activates the Light theme in apps. You can skip this step if you only want to apply the theme to operating system elements.
Step 4: Double-click the registry key labeled SystemUsesLightTheme. Please enter a value of 1 in the dollup box and then click OK.
This control applies the Light theme to operating system elements, such as the Start menu, taskbar, and Notification Center.
Exit the Registry Editor. Most likely, you should already see the changes visible.back to menu ↑
Update display drivers
Often times outdated video drivers can prevent certain functionalities from working properly, especially after a major feature Updating. Although Windows 10 applies video drivers automatically, they are usually generic and can cause compatibility issues.
If the Light theme is still not showing up, or if you see weird artifacting issues with the theme applied, try updating your video drivers by downloading them directly from the manufacturer’s website.
If you are unsure of the make and model of your dedicated or integrated video card, try the auto-detection tools present on the AMD, NVIDIA and Intel sites to download and install the correct drivers.back to menu ↑
Run SFC and DISM commands
If the above directions didn’t help, it’s time to run the System File Checker. It is a built-in command line tool that can detect and fix any underlying problems in the operating system.
To do this, open an elevated Command Prompt console (type command prompt from the Start menu and select Run as administrator), then type the following command and press Enter:
sfc / scannow
It may take a while for the scan to complete. Restart your computer after the scan is complete. If the Light theme is still not displayed up, you can track it up by running the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command tool, which can solve even more problems.
To do that, in an elevated Command Prompt console, type the following and then press Enter:
DISM / Online / Cleanup-Image / RestoreHealth
Again, it takes a while for the DISM tool to finish. Restart your PC again. Hopefully you have now resolved all issues with the Light theme.back to menu ↑
Turn on the lights
Overall, the Light theme is not only great to look at, but it also improves visibility. Items in the Start menu, system tray, and Notification Center feel much easier to find compared to the Dark theme. And since most UI elements and apps are already displayed in (or support) light mode, you can finally have a universal color scheme for the entire operating system.
So, you managed to get the Light theme up and run? Do you have any other suggestions? Leave a comment and let us know.
The next up The Windows 10 version 1903 update has also released Windows Sandbox. If you have trouble showing it up, here is how to fix that.back to menu ↑
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