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How to Enable Dark Mode in Windows 11

Dark Mode in Windows 11
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

If you find light text on a dark background easier on your eyes -- like many of us do -- you'll want to use your operating system's dark mode. Fortunately, it's really easy to enable dark mode in Windows 11, which will influence the look and feel of both your apps and the system taskbar.

Some upcoming prebuilt PCs may even come with this color scheme mode enabled by default. But you can't count on that, so follow the directions below to turn on Windows 11's dark mode. 

How to Enable Dark Mode in Windows 11

1. Right click on the desktop and select Personalize.

Select Personalize

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

2. Select Colors. A submenu appears.

Click Colors

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

3. Select Dark from the Choose your mode menu.

Select Dark

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

You could choose Custom mode, which allows you to toggle the Windows mode (taskbar) and default app mode (apps) to Dark or Light separately. However, if you really like dark mode, there's no reason to do that.

Custom Mode

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Now your apps and taskbar will all have light text on a dark background. But content that's supposed to have dark text on a light background such as web pages, emails or Word documents will still look that way. What if you want everything in dark mode?

How to Use High-Contrast Themes for Dark Mode

If you want to override the color settings for every app so that you have light text on a dark background even in documents, you need to use a contrast theme in Windows 11. To change to a contrast theme:

1. Right click on the desktop and select Personalize.

Select personalize

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

2. Select Colors 

Select Colors

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

3. Select Contrast Themes.

Select Contrast Themes

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4. Select Aquatic from the Contrast Themes menu. You can also try Dusk or Night sky, but we like Aquatic best.

Select Aquatic

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

5. Click Apply

Click Apply

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Windows 11 will quickly refresh and now all of your content will be in dark mode. 

High Contrast

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

To reverse these changes, just go back and change the Contrast Theme to none and switch back to Light in the Choose your mode menu.

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.