Set different colors for the window border and the taskbar in Windows 8 RTM

In Windows 8, Microsoft has disabled aero transparency on window borders.  In Windows Vista, when aero transparency is enabled, you may notice that this transparency goes away when you maximize the window. Microsoft was at pains to tell that this was actually performance optimization. In Windows 7, you notice that even maximized windows have this transparency effect – thereby debunking the explanation of ‘performance optimization’ given earlier during the Vista days.

In Windows 8, you may have noticed, that the window borders and taskbar are opaque and take the hue or color of the wallpaper, provided the default setting of Automatic matching of colors is retained. So if you have a blue wallpaper displayed on your desktop, the taskbar and the windows borders will automatically take a matching bluish color. The window in focus takes this color, while the window/s in the background takes a light grey color.

In Windows 8 pre-final versions, one could select different colors for the windows borders and the taskbar. But you cannot do so in Windows 8 RTM or Final version. Personally I prefer the way it is being handled in Windows 8 RTM. But if you would like set different colors for the window border and the taskbar, you will have to tweak your registry.

Set different colors for window border and taskbar in Windows 8

To do so, open regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM

Here in the right pane, double-click on EnableWindowColorization and changes its value to 0, from the default 1.

Next, open Task Manager and navigate to Windows Processes > Desktop Window Manager. Press the End task button, select the Abandon unsaved data and shut down  button and then on Shut down.

Your desktop process (and not your PC) will restart and you will now see the change. The windows in the background will have a light grey background and the window in the foreground will have a white border – whereas you taskbar will continue to have the set color – which is blue in my case.

This will work all fine, as long as you do not change your windows color. If you change your window color, you will lose this customization, and you will have to do this all over again.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com and a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.