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I spend all day staring at computer screens. I have changed my Visual Studio theme to a dark theme, and find it much easier on the eyes. I'd like to change the rest of windows.

Unfortunately, the only themes installed by default that are dark, are high contrast. Which is NOT what I am going for here.

I can't seem to find an official dark theme, that isn't high contrast.

I've found dynamic black, which is a good example of what I'm looking for, but it's not an official theme.

Is there anything out there?

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If you insist on official ones (why?) the only source is Microsoft.… – Shinrai Oct 4 '12 at 14:37
@Shinrai, it's a work computer, and I'd prefer not to just install things from random sources. And that link from MS seems to just be background images, and a custom border colour. – CaffGeek Oct 4 '12 at 14:40
Exactly. That's all they offer. (You did say "official themes" and that's what those are - themes.) If you're saying you don't want Aero, that is you want to change the UI, you cannot do that without 3rd party software. – Shinrai Oct 4 '12 at 14:54

First, there is a difference between themes and actually changing the look of the entire UI. Themes are purely for changing the look of the Aero MSStyle, which doesn't give you the ability to make any major changes. MSStyles are complete UI elements that are capable of changing almost every UI element of the computer. (E.G. Aero and Luna.)

However, there are no other "offical" MSStyles. Microsoft only supplies Aero, any others require patching the computer. You could just switch your Aero color to black and then it will appear darker. You also could switch to basic mode, and then manually change your windows theme.

Now, window blinds is a good solution, however be sure to pay for the full version first. Removing the trial version without upgrading is very difficult and caused some problems on my laptop. (Safemode, Administrator rights, all that jazz) They are a sneaky company. I'm not saying that their products are bad, just know that there is a possibility that it could cause some performance issues and removing the program is not any piece of chocolate cake.

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Uhm, Microsoft absolutely does provide themes, but you're right in that they're all still Aero. – Shinrai Oct 4 '12 at 14:54
I never said anything about themes. I said MSStyles. E.G. Aero, Luna. – Josiah Oct 4 '12 at 14:55
Yes, but the question says themes. – Shinrai Oct 4 '12 at 14:55
I understand that. But when he says Themes, I think he is talking about custom MSStyles, as I'm assuming Dynamic Black is an MSStyle. Therefore, his only choice is to either switch the the basic mode and manually customize or use black as his window color in Personalize. – Josiah Oct 4 '12 at 14:58
Then you should explain the distinction in your answer rather than making assumptions and potentially confusing things. :) – Shinrai Oct 4 '12 at 15:01

Without using Third Party software, you're limited to the few themes Microsoft provides. You could simply change the Aero Theme to black, and then make it see through, that way it will take on the color of your desktop background. That may work for you with a black wallpaper.

If you do decide to go down the Third Party Route, I highly recommend WindowBlinds by StarDock. They're a known company, with legit ( Non-Free ) software, which would be safe for your work computer if you were given the 'go-ahead' to install it.

share|improve this answer
UxStyle is the other route for loading unsigned MsStyles. It does in-memory patching so there's no actual file modifications, and is very well established. I've found it to be much less intensive than WindowBlinds, though usually the theme dictates which I have to use. – Darth Android Oct 4 '12 at 15:12
Actually, I have had quite a bit of problems with Stardock. Be very careful while using their software. It works well while you have it, but removing it is very difficult. – Josiah Oct 4 '12 at 16:00
What difficulties have you ran into when uninstalling? Are you talking StarDock as in their free version of the Dock? Or are we talking WindowBlinds? Add/Remove programs hasn't failed me with WindowBlinds, I just set the theme back to Aero, and uninstalled. I could see maybe a potential issue if you downloaded a bad theme from somewhere untrusted. – Tillman32 Oct 4 '12 at 16:09

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