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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
@Ramhound The question has been edited, take a look. I'm trying to make the point they removed an old hack that some of us relied on and didn't give an alternative. – yzorg Nov 26 '12 at 17:44
up vote 15 down vote accepted

You can do it if you switch to the Aero lite theme, see How to Enable Hidden “Aero Lite” Theme in Windows 8 and Later? and How to disable transparency in Windows 8's taskbar?.

  1. Open C:\windows\resources\themes\*.theme with notepad.

  2. Under the key [VisualStyles] change the pointer to Aero.msstyles to point to AeroLite.msstyles.

  3. Save the file (you can't actually, so save it to another location).

  4. Double click your .theme file

Now your Taskbar is no longer translucent:

screen image showing taskbar

To apply it on the current theme, see Will's answer below.

The downside of these approaches is that the Aero lite theme looks different (take a look at your minimize-restore-close buttons and etc) from the normal Windows 8 Aero theme.

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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 '15 at 11:39
@yzorg, Good point, but how can replace theme1.theme and theme2.theme inside the folder? I've tried running explorer.exe as administrator but am still unable to get it into the folder. – Pacerier Jun 24 '15 at 5:09

Note that if you have personalized your theme it will be located here:


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
@JosephQuinsey, It works, but you need to rename it to something else (e.g. Custom1.theme or move it to another folder. If you try to run .theme files from a path equal to %localappdata%\microsoft\windows\themes\custom.theme, Windows doesn't actually run the file, but merely opens the page Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Personalization (and after opening the page, it will recreate a file called Custom.theme from your "current theme settings" (I've no idea where these settings are saved to)................................ – Pacerier Jun 25 '15 at 0:39
................................if your "current theme settings" is not one of the saved theme settings. This means that whatever changes you make to Custom.theme will be lost once you open that page. – Pacerier Jun 25 '15 at 1:01

The Stardock utility Start8 (shareware: ) 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 '15 at 11:36
@LafinJack, But how does stardock do that? They had got to be some registry settings to change right? – Pacerier Jun 24 '15 at 5:17

Edit of previous version.

This doesn't actually fully work. 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

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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Are you sure about this? Test with a window right under the taskbar. Doesn't seem to work on 8.1. – Pacerier Jun 24 '15 at 23:55

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)

enter image description here

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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 '15 at 11:40
Lately I've been using 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 '15 at 10:09
@mdonatas, How does the app do it? – Pacerier Jun 25 '15 at 0:01
@yzorg, But your minimize-restore-maximize buttons will look different then, as mentioned in the top answer. – Pacerier Jun 25 '15 at 1:22

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
@user153762, It's likely there had always been a way to do it. Thus, citation needed. – Pacerier Jun 25 '15 at 1:23

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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But does this disable transparency? – Pacerier Jun 25 '15 at 1:23

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