Back in the old days, computers originally operated on a rudimentary form of “dark mode”, due to the technical limitations of the time.
But to appease a wider audience, manufacturers and software developers began to work to create interfaces that used light backgrounds with dark text to resemble the traditional look of paper (black text on a white background).
However, not everyone was happy with this change. For years, a growing number of people have pushed for the option to use dark mode on Windows.
Finally, in 2016, Microsoft introduced the highly-anticipated dark mode option to Windows 10, marking the first time users could easily switch to dark mode without third-party software, high contrast settings, and hacky workarounds.
Despite the numerous differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11, the ability to use dark mode is not one of them. Switching to dark mode in Windows 11 is easy, and like many other things on Windows, there are multiple ways to do it.
Turn on Dark Windows 11 Mode Through Settings
The quickest and easiest way to turn on dark mode in Windows 11 is to do it through the settings. To start, open up the Settings app by pressing the Windows key + I.
Next, go to the Personalization tab and select the Colors menu.
Now, on the Colors page, you’ll see a menu titled Choose your mode. Click on the drop-down list on the right and choose Dark, and you’re done.
Turn on Windows 11 Dark Mode Using Dark High Contrast Themes
In the old days, one of the workarounds to use “dark mode” in older versions of Windows was to use a dark, high contrast theme. Nowadays, that’s not necessary if you just want dark mode on. But it can still be useful if you like the dark aesthetic, but you have a hard time seeing, such as when you’re using your laptop outside during the day.
To enable the dark high contrast theme, start by opening settings (Windows key + I), and click on the Accessibility tab on the left.
Now look for the Contrast themes menu under the Vision heading and click on it.
On the Contrast themes page, you’ll see a drop-down list next to Contrast themes. Click on it to choose a contrast theme, and then click Apply after you’ve chosen the theme you want to use.
Turn on Windows 11 Dark Mode Through the Registry
Another way to turn on dark mode in Windows 11 is to use the registry editor. This can be a useful way to do it if you want to export the registry key to a file, so you can easily turn on dark mode with a file, rather than setting it manually.
To start, open the Run dialogue (Windows key + R), type in regedit, and then press Enter.
In the address bar of the Registry Editor, copy and paste the following path:
On the right, you should see two keys: AppsUseLightTheme and SystemUsesLightTheme. If not, then you’ll need to create them by right-clicking on an empty area, mousing over New, clicking on DWORD (32-bit) Value, and naming them AppsUseLightTheme and SystemUsesLightTheme.
On each of the aforementioned keys, double-click on them and change the value from 1 to 0, then click OK.
Once you’ve changed the value for both keys, right-click on the Personalize folder on the left, and click on Export. Then you can name the registry file and save it wherever you want, so you can easily flip on dark mode by running the registry file you created.
Turn on Windows 11 Dark Mode Using the Auto Dark Mode Tool
When Microsoft introduced dark mode in Windows 10, it eliminated the need for third-party software to switch between light and dark modes. But if you want to make the switch from light to dark, or dark to light, you’ll have to do it manually.
For most people, this isn’t an issue. But if you want to switch between the two automatically, based on the time of day, it can be a pain. That’s where the Windows Auto Dark Mode app comes into play. It’s a nifty little tool that allows you to schedule the change, so you can effortlessly switch between the two modes based on the time of day.
After downloading and installing Auto Dark Mode, launch it. On the Time tab on the left, you’ll find a checkbox with Enable automatic theme switching. Check that box and then select either Set custom hours, From sunset to sunrise, or From sunset to sunrise (geographic coordinates) to set up the automatic theme switching.
Then configure whichever option you select according to your preferences, and you’ll be able to enjoy the automatic theme switching!