Windows 10’s File Explorer Is Getting a Dark Theme

Posted on April 21, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Windows 10 with 19 Comments

Microsoft is working on bringing a dark theme to the full-fledged File Explorer in Windows 10. In the latest Redstone 5 build, there’s a hidden dark theme for the File Explorer which you can enable using the tool we released last week.

The dark theme for the File Explorer is in its very early stages from the looks of things. It only works for the sidebar of the File Explorer, and the majority of the app is still using the light theme. It shouldn’t take too long before more of the app starts implementing the dark theme, which has been a request from a lot of users and Insiders.

File Explorer is one of the main parts of the OS that still doesn’t support Windows 10’s dark theme. Even though Microsoft has been introducing a dark theme for most of its modern apps and parts of the OS, the dark theme has been mostly incompetent at offering a consistent user-interface. Even across Microsoft’s own UWP apps, the dark theme is consistent.

While many expected Microsoft to launch a dark themed File Explorer with a modern UWP-based version of the app, it seems like Redmond isn’t yet ready to completely rebuild File Explorer from the ground up. The new theme, if finalised, should come to the public later this year when Microsoft releases the Redstone 5 update.

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “Windows 10’s File Explorer Is Getting a Dark Theme”

  1. kevinbouwman

    I sure wish the would work on functionality instead of stuff like themes. How about showing us the folder size? Or expanding the number of file previewers? Or preventing file previewers from locking files. Or giving us tabbed windows. Or giving us a really useful file/folder compare functionality? Or give us the ability to access files shares via WAN as well as LAN by just checking a box in the right click menu for the share? Or filtering capabilities like we have in Excel.


    Have all the programmers been replaced with interior decorators??

    • Jeffery Commaroto

      In reply to kevinbouwman:

      I like that we are this many decades in and they finally have a dark theme and it isn’t even close to being done yet. So all the functionality improvements seem downright far-fetched in comparison.

      • SvenJ

        In reply to Jeffery_Commaroto: I couldn't care less about a dark theme. On anything, desktop or phone. If it is dark in the room I just turn down the brightness, or turn on some room lights. I have turned on dark mode on various things that support it and it generally drives me nuts. So the concept that it has taken them this long to implement it, I believe has more to do with it not being needed than it being a challenge. Now it may be a challenge because of it not being architected to support it from the git go. I'd much rather see some of the functionality enhancements kevinbouwman suggested than chalk on a blackboard theme.


        • Singingwolf

          In reply to SvenJ:

          I love the dark theme across phone and PC. Way less strain on my eyes. And saves power too.


        • hrlngrv

          In reply to SvenJ:

          Lack of consistency along with lack of urgency (not exactly hard computer science problems to transform Notepad, Charmap, Font Viewer, etc into UWP apps) give the impression MSFT doesn't really give a @#$% about Windows 10, or at least not about anything which could be labeled legacy whether or not such things would be used by billions.

    • zorb56

      In reply to kevinbouwman: "Or give us the ability to access files shares via WAN as well as LAN by just checking a box in the right click menu for the share?"


      What does this mean? Access file shares from anywhere on the Internet?

      • kevinbouwman

        In reply to zorb56:

        Yes. For all the shared folders I have access to when connected to my LAN, I would like to have access to them from anywhere on the internet. Seamlessly and securely without setting up a cloud drive or VPN. If I have a file open on my laptop from such a folder and I carry my laptop out of my office Windows should smoothly let me continue to work with that file when I get an internet connection. Enabling "Roaming" access to a shared folder should be as simple as clicking a check box. It should not require an IT staff.

        • zorb56

          In reply to kevinbouwman:

          That would be incredibly insecure, or would require a complete redesign of or implementation of completely new file sharing protocols within Windows. Plus, how do you manage getting around things like DHCP-assigned WAN IPs for home users or small businesses? OneDrive is an acceptable solution for what you're going for. Or if you have a domain, Windows Direct Access. I agree with you on all other ideas.

  2. g0slash0

    Cool. Dark theme is way easier on the eyes, especially for those who work into the wee hours of the night/morning.

  3. bluvg

    Could they just make it work faster instead? Man, explorer.exe is slow and resource-heavy (RAM) compared to previous versions.

  4. Rickard Eriksson

    Now that will actually be helpful.

  5. MikeGalos

    Wow. Shock. An unannounced, unreleased feature looks like it isn't finished. Imagine.


    Slow news day?

  6. mikeshean11

    Can someone share that wallpaper? It is looking so good.

  7. jimchamplin

    They’re going to piecemeal it in one application. Really. They literally have a theme engine to do exactly this and instead of using it, they’re going to continue pretending like changing the appearance is difficult.


    Or did we dream MSStyles?

  8. glenn8878

    Not ready to rebuild File Explorer? There are many screens left with the Windows 7 look, which is long past the newer Metro and Fluent design of Windows 8 and 10. They will never be ready so they will never achieve any success in mobile.

  9. hrlngrv

    That screen image is a dark theme? So the light theme with just the directory tree with dark background?

  10. CaedenV

    I hope they get this right. On my TV (used as a monitor) things that are full white are WAY too bright. Having a dark theme to go with Windows would be great.

    What would also be great would be a modern take of the HTML enabled folder views of win95/98. I use to put different background images for certain important folders. Awful security risk, so I get why it went away. But I always missed the ability to have band or movie/TV art showing up in the folders they lived in. It was a neat effect.


    But really, all I want is the ability to middle-click my mouse and get a new explorer window to come up.

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