Note: things work differently in newer Windows 10 versions, and this tool might not be relevant anymore. See this comment for more details.
(Top = before, bottom = after)
Windows 10 allows you to customize the taskbar and start menu colors, but it provides only a limited set of predefined colors. In addition, no matter which color you’ll pick, the taskbar will end up being dark. I searched, but haven’t found a straightforward way to have a bright taskbar on Windows 10. Fortunately, I have discovered that there’s an undocumented registry key which makes explorer use an alternative color calculation algorithm, which in turn produces brighter colors. You can see the difference in the example image above.
I wrote a quick application, Windows 10 Color Control, which allows you to modify the Windows 10 colors, and to get this alternative color calculation algorithm. The original Windows 10 calculation algorithm is referred to as the “New auto-color accent algorithm”, according to the undocumented registry value name.
Windows 10 color control.zip (112.8 kB)
Command line parameters
You can use
-dwm_color to set the accent and/or DWM color and exit.
The colors must be specified as hex triplets.
For example, the command:
"Windows 10 color control.exe" -accent_color FF0000 -dwm_color 00FF00
will set the accent color to red, and the DWM color to green.
The main registry value that is being created by Windows 10 Color Control is
UseNewAutoColorAccentAlgorithm of type
DWORD, which is being created with the value of zero in the following branch:
By default, the value doesn’t exist, and the setting is being treated as enabled, i.e.
UseNewAutoColorAccentAlgorithm is true. By disabling this setting, we bring up the alternative color calculation algorithm. But usually that’s not enough, an extra step has to be done to disable that “New auto-color accent algorithm”. If you’re interested to know what is that step, let me know in the comments, and I might add an information about it here later on, if enough readers are interested.