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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

col 2 Set different colors for the window border and the taskbar in Windows 8 RTM

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 aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com. Please create a System Restore Point before trying out any software & be careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware. Add me on Google+.
  • http://www.yethz.com/ yethz

    Nice tips bro ;)
    Im beginning to love my Win8, actually, I havent booted to my Windows 7 partition for few days now…
    Though, In windows 8 its like im in a two environment OS :D, other than that, Im getting used to it…

  • http://www.thewindowsclub.com Anand Khanse

    To be honest, even I am getting used to dealing with the start screen and am enjoying Windows 8, and using it as my primary and only OS – It truly is fast!

  • Notyourbusiness

    What? set worts to other worst or more ugly?

    The main question was active and disactive color setting ….setting capise?

  • Gorgolevsky

    That’s interesting, thx ! But I got there too by searching for the way to change the foreground’s widow color. When all the borders are white or light grey it’s pretty hard to work fast and switch between many windows. I really hate this Microsoft’s desicion. It’s stylish, but not practical at all. It would be Ok, if they’ve left us the ability to change this nonsence.. Maybe there’s a way to set a Win XP or Win 7 theme under Win8 ? I really don’t need this “beauty”, I just need to do my job effectively.

  • Gorgolevsky

    Oh, Ok. I’ve found it possible only through the use of high-contrast theme, which is rather ugly, but customizeable

  • eyad

    you are so crazy person :P

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