Change the color of inactive windows in Windows 10

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When Microsoft released the retail version of Windows 10, window titlebars supported only the white color. This meant that every titlebar, with some notable third-party exceptions that used their own color scheme, was white.

Microsoft was criticized heavily for the lack of coloring options, promised to do better, and added options to Windows 10 later on to pick a different color for the active window.

Options to pick an accent color from the background, or a fixed color, were added to the Personalization > Color options of the Settings application.

The move improved the situation somewhat, but ignored inactive window colors completely. These were still displayed with a white background and without options to change the color in the Windows settings.

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The screenshot below highlights how that looks currently if you have set a different color for the active titlebar in Windows 10.

windows 10 titlebar colors

Windows 10 users who want to change the color of inactive titlebars in the operating system had to resort to third-party solutions until now.

Ask VG discovered a Registry key that handles the inactive titlebar color natively. Once created and filled with a value, it uses the selected background color for all inactive windows in the operating system.

inactive titlebar colors windows 10

You need to do the following to do that:

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit and hit enter.
  2. You may get an UAC prompt which you need to accept.
  3. Use the tree structure on the left to navigate to the key HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsDWM
  4. Right-click on DWM and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
  5. Name it AccentColorInactive.
  6. Double-click the value afterwards and add a color hex code to it. Note: The hex format is reversed, instead of using RRGGBB it uses BBGGRR with R=red, G=green and B=blue.
  7. You may use a service like Paletton or similar services to get these color codes (check Base RGB on the site).
  8. If you get the code 403075 for instance, you would have to add it as 570304 in the value field of the AccentColorInactive preference.

Color changes become active right away. I suggest you open two Windows Explorer windows and toggle between them to see the effect immediately. Adjust the color as you see fit until you are satisfied.

If you want to match the active window titlebar color, simply add the value of the AccentColor preference to the AccentColorInactive field.

To reverse the change delete the AccentColorInactive preference again with a right-click on it and the selection of delete from the context menu.

About Martin Brinkmann

Martin Brinkmann is a journalist from Germany who founded Ghacks Technology News Back in 2005. He is passionate about all things tech and knows the Internet and computers like the back of his hand. You can follow Martin on Facebook, Twitter or Google+

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