How to enable File Explorer dark mode on Windows 10

File Explorer has a dark mode experience, and you can enable it on Windows 10 using these steps.

File Explorer dark theme enabled
File Explorer dark theme enabled

The option to enable to a dark mode has been part of Windows 10 for a long time, but it’s been always an inconsistent implementation. In part, because it has only worked for the modern elements of Windows 10 and Microsoft Store apps, excluding classic desktop applications, such as File Explorer.

However, starting with the October 2018 Update, Windows 10 introduces a new dark mode for File Explorer, which anyone can enable using the “Colors” settings page from the “Personalization” section in the Settings app. The new dark mode coats with different shade of black the background, pane, ribbon and file menus, context menus, and popup dialogs.

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

How to enable dark mode for File Explorer

Use these steps to enable File Explorer dark mode on Windows 10:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Personalization.

  3. Click on Colors.

  4. Under the “More options” section, select the Dark option. (If you’re running Windows 10 version 1903, you need to use the Choose your color drop-down menu located at the top of the page.)

    Windows 10 Colors settings dark theme option
    Windows 10 Colors settings dark theme option

Once you complete the steps, open File Explorer, and you should now see the dark mode. 

Just keep in mind that this isn’t a new version of File Explorer, as we’re expecting that Microsoft will eventually replace the experience with a modern version that aligns with the design language of Windows 10.

If you don’t see this option in the Settings app, it’s because you’re not running the supported version of Windows 10. The ability to rename folders is available starting Windows 10 October 2018 Update (version 1809) and later.

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

Update April 26, 2019: This guide was originally published in April 2018, and it’s been updated to reflect the new changes.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].