Hidden feature

How to enable File Explorer dark theme on Windows 10

File Explorer is getting a dark theme experience, and you can enable the preview if you're running the latest preview of Windows 10 version 1809 using these steps.

Enable dark theme on File Explorer

The ability to switch to a dark theme has been part of Windows 10 for a long time, but it’s been always an inconsistent implementation. In part, because it only works for the modern elements of Windows 10 and apps, and not for classic desktop applications, such as File Explorer, and older elements.

However, starting with build 17650, Windows 10 reveals that support for a dark theme for the classic version of File Explorer is coming. The new feature has been surfaced using mach2, which is a tool created by Rafael Rivera that allows you to unlock preview features.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to enable the hidden dark theme for File Explorer on Windows 10.

Important: Starting with Windows 10 build 17666 and later, you can enable the File Explorer dark theme by changing to the dark mode in the Colors settings.

How to enable dark theme on File Explorer

If you want to try File Explorer with the dark theme, you can use the following steps on Windows 10 test preview build 17650 and later:

  1. Download the mach2 tool from GitHub.

  2. Extract the content of the zip folder.

  3. Open the folder with the extracted content.

  4. In the address bar type cmd and press Enter to launch Command Prompt in the folder location.

    Launch Command Prompt on folder location using File Explorer
    Launch Command Prompt on folder location using File Explorer
  5. Type the following command and press Enter:

    mach2 enable 10397285

    Command to enable dark theme on File Explorer
    Command to enable dark theme on File Explorer
  6. Restart your computer.

  7. Open Settings.

  8. Click on Personalization.

  9. Click on Colors.

  10. Under “More options,” select the Dark theme option.

    Colors settings with Dark option selected
    Colors settings with Dark option selected

Once you’ve completed the steps, open File Explorer, and you should now see the dark theme. However, note that this is an early preview of the mode, and as you can see only parts of the experience uses darker elements. We’ll have to wait a little longer until a more complete experience releases.

File Explorer using dark theme
File Explorer using dark theme

Bear in mind that dark theme is for the classic version of File Explorer, and we’re expecting Microsoft to eventually replace the experience with a modern (UWP) version of File Explorer. As a result, it’s unclear when, or if ever, the mode will be available to all users.

If the new mode ends up being part of the new feature set for Windows 10, we can expect it to arrive with the Redstone 5 later this year.

What do you think about File Explorer getting a dark theme? Tell us in the comments.