A Quick Look at Windows 10’s New Shell Color Capabilities

Posted on August 19, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0

A Quick Look at Windows 10's New Shell Color Capabilities

Coming soon in Windows 10 TH2 (“Threshold 2,” the October update to the OS), and available now to Windows Insiders in build 10525, is the ability to style window title bars with the current theme’s accent color. I’ve been looking forward to this addition. But the way it looks and works now isn’t optimal.

As noted in Microsoft Issues First Post-RTM Windows 10 Build to Insiders, build 10525 arrived yesterday while I was crammed into a tiny airplane seat somewhere over the North Atlantic. Since arriving home, I’ve been upgrading my PCs to the latest build, and of course one of the things I was most eager to see was whether this new color choice lived up to my expectations.

Not so much.

Interestingly, the interface for configuring the accent color hasn’t changed: if you visit Settings, Personalization, Colors, you will see that the available options are exactly the same as they were in the initial shipping version of Windows 10.


What has changed is that the second option, “Show color on Start, taskbar, and action center” should really be renamed to “Show color on Start, taskbar, window title bars, and Action Center.” Because now the accent color will also be applied to, yes, the title bars of windows.

This is important because most window title bars look terrible in the shipping version of Windows 10: unless the app specifically changes this behavior (and some do), the title bar is always white. Which looks terrible, like so.


Sadly, applying the accent color to Windows 10-style windows doesn’t look much better. For example, here is File Explorer in build 10525. The color just looks tacked on.


Worse, the color only applies to the currently-focused window. The windows you see below that window, visually, still have a white title bar. (A different, dulled version of the accent color might look better.)


What I’d like to see is the ability to independently apply the accent color to Start, the taskbar, window title bars, and to Action Center. Not that that would fix this issue. Overall, this is better than the alternative, I guess. But not much better.