Windows 10 File Explorer: Microsoft shows off dark theme you can expect this fall

Microsoft overhauls File Explorer to bring a dark mode to the next version of Windows 10.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Video: AI will decide when it's the best time to install your next Windows 10 update.

Microsoft's latest Windows 10 preview shows off the new dark theme for File Explorer that it's bringing to the next version of Windows 10.

Windows 10 insiders in Microsoft's preview program's fast ring should see the dark mode feature in the latest preview, Build 17733 from its Redstone 5 branch, which is due out around October.

This build shows what Windows 10 users can expect to see when Microsoft releases this version of Windows 10.

"With Build 17666 we started our journey bringing dark theme to File Explorer. Today's build marks the turning point where we've finished what we set out to do for this release," said Microsoft's Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc.

Microsoft says the new build represents "a turning point" for File Explorer's Dark Theme. Source: Microsoft.

Those keen to see the new Dark Theme for File Explorer can do so by going to Settings > Personalization > Colors and select the 'Dark' option under the 'Choose your app mode' section.

The dark mode for File Explorer was made available optionally in an earlier preview and, according to Microsoft, was one of its top requests from fans.

Windows 10 itself has had dark theme available for a while, but it wasn't enabled for File Explorer. It recently rolled out the feature for outlook.com too.

While Windows 10 got dark mode in the Anniversary Update and is rounding it out with File Explorer, MacOS users will be getting it in the upcoming Mojave update due out later this year.

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)

As Microsoft explained in a blogpost, it couldn't bring dark mode to File Explorer until now due to its legacy components.

"Here's why: compared to modern parts of Windows, File Explorer was a whole different beast. While dark mode can be applied to modern XAML components in Windows quite easily, File Explorer contains legacy UI frameworks which don't plug into that infrastructure automatically," Microsoft wrote.

"With File Explorer, we were literally breaking new ground to provide a dark theme to legacy parts of the shell. We also needed to be careful to only change File Explorer (and the Common File Dialog) and not change common controls generally, which could break a lot of app experiences (such as making dark text in an app unreadable)."

Microsoft has also brought numerous fixes for the text-reading Narrator feature in this update. Previously it couldn't access all the emoji in the Touch Keyboard, and failed to say "selected" after an image was picked using the keyboard.

Previous and related coverage

Windows 10 to get new 'InPrivate Desktop' security feature

Microsoft is working on a 'throwaway sandbox' for one-time execution of untrusted software, which could end up as a feature of Windows 10 Enterprise at some point.

Windows 10 'Redstone 5' may add a 'Switch to S Mode' option

Microsoft's latest Windows 10 Redstone 5 build includes a hint about a new S-Mode-related feature, as well as some new Windows Autopilot provisioning options.

Windows 10 buggy updates? Our patching is simple, regular, consistent, says Microsoft

After being called out over patchy patches, Microsoft sets out how it updates Windows 10 machines.

New Windows 10 preview: You get better localization, privacy, Mixed Reality

Microsoft makes regional customization easier, boosts mic privacy, and untethers Mixed Reality from screens.

Windows 10 update broken Google Chrome? Microsoft releases new fix TechRepublic

The latest round of patches for Windows 10 resolves recent issues with Google's popular browser.

The trick to clearing a cluttered Windows 10 workspace CNET

Come on, everybody, let's do the Aero Shake.

Editorial standards