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I'd like to disable taskbar transparency in Windows 8 desktop. On Win7 disabling Aero was a hack to accomplish this goal, but this post from how-to-geek to disable Aero in Win7 & Vista no longer works in Windows 8. Is there another way to disable taskbar transparency in Windows 8 desktop?

Edit: On Win8 Aero was removed but the taskbar is transparent (the desktop background picture is slightly visible 'behind' the taskbar). When I'm using the taskbar to switch programs I don't like seeing artifacts 'bleeding-through', I find it distracting.

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I don't have windows 8 installed right now, but can you do this in "personalize" > "Window Color" disable transparency? –  Moab Aug 20 '12 at 13:40
Aero does not even exist in Windows 8 this question does not make sense. –  Ramhound Aug 21 '12 at 20:45
@Moab No, that checkbox was removed for Win8, but I thought there still might be a registry key to do the same, hence the question. –  yzorg Aug 23 '12 at 13:48
@Ramhound Aero doesn't exist (window borders aren't transparent) but taskbar is transparent and there is no UI to turn it off. When I'm using the taskbar to switch programs I don't like seeing artifacts 'bleeding-through' the transparent taskbar (I find it distracting) and is one of the reasons I always used to disable Aero. –  yzorg Nov 8 '12 at 16:11
@yzorg - You should update your question to reflect what you are talking about since you linked to a question talking about Aero which of course no longer exists in Windows 8. –  Ramhound Nov 26 '12 at 12:45

8 Answers 8

up vote 11 down vote accepted

You can do it if you switch to the Aero lite theme, see this forum post.

Go to c:\windows\resources\themes\
Copy your .theme file someplace else
Under the key [VisualStyles] change the pointer to Aero.msstyles to point to AeroLite.msstyles Double click your .theme file

Now your Taskbar is no longer translucent.

enter image description here

The downside of this approach is that the Aero lite theme looks different from the normal Windows 8 Aero them.

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WARNING TO OTHERS: You lose color changes I made in Personalization. This makes sense, by double-clicking the editted .theme file you're replacing the active theme with 'basic' one (blue color, and flower background image). It works. I plan to add this to my setup steps whenever starting a new Windows 8 computer or VM. Thanks! –  yzorg Nov 8 '12 at 16:03
P.S. Don't try to copy/replace the theme file, follow the instructions and copy it, edit it, then double click it. System file protections prevent you from replacing the theme file in the original directory. –  yzorg Nov 8 '12 at 16:04
It may be worth mentioning that the theme might be stored here: C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes –  Lukas Eder Oct 19 '14 at 9:55
I don't personally consider this a solution, more a workaround. The theme is quite different. –  Iain M Norman Feb 20 at 11:39

thanks for this - note that if you have personalized your theme it will be located here: C:\Users[User]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes

I edited the file directly and it worked.

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+1 Your suggestion doesn't seem to work for Custom.theme. But I saved my unsaved theme to e.g. foo, and then editing foo.theme works. –  Joseph Quinsey Dec 9 '13 at 16:24

I found a work-around. Setting a solid color background fixes the symptom.

In other words: there are no longer artifacts of the desktop background picture 'bleeding-through' the transparent taskbar (because there is no longer a picture behind the taskbar).

Technically it might still be transparent (the background color slightly affecting the taskbar color) but it is no longer distracting.

Update 2012 Sept 22: Windows that are moved to slide under the taskbar are still visible. This bothers me every time I see it, so I'll continue to seek a complete fix (to turn off transparency for the desktop taskbar in Windows 8).

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The corollary to this is that if you still want a picture in the background, you could use an image editor to resize the picture to your monitor's resolution, and then drop a colored bar across the bottom. Kind of hackish, but it would work. –  nhinkle Sep 17 '12 at 20:01
I'm devops, so I often have multiple copies of the same program (Visual Studio, PowerShell ISE, folder windows). So I often turn on window titles (a.k.a. Vista taskbar) so I can tell apart my 'Jobs' VS window from my 'Websites' VS window. So my taskbar isn't in the same place or same size for very long. –  yzorg Sep 23 '12 at 2:57
I'm assuming you don't change the height of the taskbar though, so that's all that really matters. –  nhinkle Sep 23 '12 at 5:04
@nhinkle The taskbar is vertical, not horizontal. IOW it is docked to the left side of screen, not on the bottom of the screen. This is specifically so I can adjust how much text I can see in window titles as needed. –  yzorg Sep 23 '12 at 22:15
Ahhhh. Well that's what you get for being such a nonconformist rebel! :P –  nhinkle Sep 24 '12 at 0:22

The Stardock utility Start8 (shareware: http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/download.asp ) has an option to disable the taskbar transparency.

It can be found under the "Desktop" section of Start8's settings.

Start8 options

It looks like it follows your window color, not the weirdness that happens with the registry edits above. It also let me disable the hot corners and several other places Metro pops up, which is a godsend for me.

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Not a bad first answer but you might want to include more details, i.e. like how to disable this in stardock, perhaps even a screenshot or two to make it more clear, otherwise your answer will most likely not get any votes up. –  slm Dec 24 '12 at 1:15
Thank you! I've been a start8 users since the start of Windows 8, I'd not noticed this option. Damn, all that time I've wasted looking for a way to fix taskbar transparency. –  Iain M Norman Feb 20 at 11:36

I have the same problem on Windows 8 Pro. MY SOLUTION: I re-edited my wallpaper image in paint and matched it with a screenshot to add a section of white to sit behind the taskbar. Problem is still present, but is no longer visible.

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Opaque Taskbar for Windows 8 seems to do the job and it looks like they are using Desktop Window Management APIs to do this (not some registry/theme hack)

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I'd rather edit the theme file, which seems slightly more efficient, and less buggy than changing it on the fly via APIs. –  yzorg Mar 11 '13 at 19:56
This is one of the solutions I tried. It works, but never seems to stick for long, and often get's out of sync, so that enabling in the app disables and vice versa. –  Iain M Norman Feb 20 at 11:40
Lately I've been using rammichael.com/7-taskbar-tweaker for turning off transparency. Never had a problem. The option is rather hidden though in advanced options reachable from systray context menu. –  mdonatas Feb 27 at 10:09

There is unfortunately no way to do this as of now.

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This might have been true at the time it was written, but it is clear there are solutions listed in other answers, so down-voting so it is no longer a top answer. –  yzorg Feb 24 '13 at 18:31

Try installing a start button option. I use "Classic Shell Start Menu" which includes among other things, change settings you can't find anywhere else in win 8. Its a must have if you like the classic start button, and especially if you have win8 without a touch screen. In this program, you right click the button and go to the win 8.1 settings tab.It's right there.

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