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darker background for selected items

Kiki Burgh

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hi again MSFN. been a while since i was last here. (don't even know how to attach image here now (not from a url) in my post.) please accept my apologies for starting a new topic but i tried a quick & didn't find any topic similar to my concern. i can barely see selections & i don't have 3rd party theme installed. kindly see attached image. i am hoping there are some settings i can apply to have darker distinction between selected & deselected items. appreciate your feedback.

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hey hey! it feels great to be welcomed again. it's great to be back although life's much busier now with a bigger family & more responsibilities. MSFN was part of my daily routine before & still consider this my home. :)

hopefully, this time the image uploaded. pretty simple concern but have only been using windows 10 for 5 months ... after finally switching from my favorite windows XP (such the sincere need for HFSLIP --- which i certainly miss.)

hope everybody's well.


Edited by Kiki Burgh
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Since from where I sit there's a pretty clear difference between selected and not, I have to wonder whether maybe your monitor gamma could bet set way wrong.

People sometimes set their monitors to extreme settings to make dark video games easier to play, and that can affect normal operations.


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My statement was based on your uploaded screen grab.  On a monitor that displays with a gamma of 2.2 (or in the ballpark), the selections you showed are easily visible.  I was only suggesting that if you crave "darker", then perhaps you should consider setting your on-monitor controls or those that may be provided within display driver to show the light colors with more difference from white.  It sounds as if you're not willing to entertain that idea for some reason and are looking for a software UI tweak.

While I have no problem whatsoever with your wanting Windows to be configurable to look your way, you may expect there to be more configurability than there really is.  Unfortunately, configurability to your preference is no longer what Windows is about.

You have to understand that Microsoft has become more and more fond of a "washed out" (not to mention overly "spaced out") look over time, and feels that it should now be forced on everyone.  It seems to make NO sense but it's true.

There has been much discussion of the "flat, lifeless, lack of theme" that Microsoft has been moving toward.  In fact, a good percentage of the posts here on MSFN are about how to overcome that, for example by adding software that allows you to restore a look and feel you prefer.

Most folks transitioned over a period of years through more different versions between XP and Win 10, so the Win 10 presentation must seem pretty alien to you.

Some suggestions, beyond adjusting your on-monitor and display driver controls to better differentiate between light colors:

  • In the Settings App, Look in Personalization > Colors.  Try changing the Accent Color and other settings in that dialog.  They're pretty much all you're given to work with in Windows 10 for customizing your UI experience.  You may be able to set a darker color that helps.  But bear in mind most of the UI is what it is and Microsoft no longer gives you the option to change it much.
  • If the above doesn't give you joy, consider adding software, such as Big Muscle's Aero Glass for Win 8+ tool from elsewhere on this site, that can facilitate look and feel changes and the use of 3rd party themes.  I have, for example, added a custom "Aero 7" theme I downloaded from DeviantArt that restores visual styles on controls, selections, etc., and it helps desktop usability in subtle ways.  Keep in mind that adding such software and replacing the theme implies taking control of Windows in a way that Microsoft no longer supports, and thus it will cost you some ongoing work to keep it functional.

To give you an idea how much subtle visual style changes can change the look and feel of Explorer, here's what I see on Win 10 in a view similar to the one you posted above.  You may still feel this looks too light.


And yes, while the above is an improvement over Win 10's out-of-box look, it's still a helluva long way from the look of XP...



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In previous versions, you could use the Color panel to set selections for the Explorer window. That could be run with:

control color

but in Windows 10 it only opens the color mixer and those color settings only change the Start Menu and does not seem to effect Explorer selected items.

EDIT: I think it might be possible to change this color in the registry under HKCU\Control Panel\Colors. I was able to change the highlight text, which you can see if you were to rename a file. None of the keys under Colors appears to reflect that tho. Because the default color is blue, the 3 numbers in the key value, the 3rd number represents blue. If you want to see if you find a 3 part color value in the registry and see if it is the color you are looking for, you can use mspaint's Edit Colors panel to input those values and see a preview.

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