How to change highlighting color on folder selection windows 10 in file explorer?

I can't see the pale highlight...how can I change that?

enter image description here

  • 1
    this is a setting in the Windows theme. so you need a different theme Commented Jan 21, 2018 at 17:03
  • This is already windows classic theme, there is no option to change that, might be a registry tweak? Any super geeks out there that might know? Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 10:18
  • 2
    nope, this is a setting inside the msstyles file Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 17:08
  • 1
    How can I change the mssstyles files? Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 10:32
  • 2
    @BrunoVincent Microsoft removed the editability of the majority of the colors used by Windows in Windows 10 for compatibility with the heavy integration of its new UI and apps. In Windows <10, this would have been modified within the following two registry keys: HKCU\\Control Panel\Colors and HKCU\Control Panel\Desktop\Colors (colors are in numerical RRR GGG BBB format). The colors are still editable, but most have zero effect on the OS.
    – JW0914
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 15:31

5 Answers 5



This 'Classic Color Panel', does change colors in most Windows applications (3rd party apps.), however, I found that most comments are correct, here, Explorer colors seemed not to change, except around the menu area. So this is not what the original poster was asking for, at least not that I have read in the Question, sorry everyone, still it is still a pretty good little tweaker.

I still want to thank Harrymc, for the link to Salamander.

"Classic Color Panel".

Classic Color Panel: Change The Color Of 32 Items In Windows 10
Last Updated on May 11, 2017 by admin enter image description here

WinTools.Info "Classic Color Panel" colorclassic.exe direct download.

  • Checked at VirusTotal - No engines detected this file. File size 255.10 KB (261224 bytes) PEiD .NET executable virustotal.com/gui/file/…
    – vssher
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 11:05

Reduce the contrast of your screen. That is what I did to improve the appearance. For me the contrast was set to 100% and as I reduced it to around 70% , it looked ok.

  • 1
    Thanks but I already tried that! Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 10:33
  • Another option is to use the Dark them in lieu of Light
    – JW0914
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 15:34
  • That worked perfectly after hours of searching for how to change the color of the Explorer Nav pane. I went to 75%
    – glez
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 20:13

With the high contrast settings turned ON, you have four options: Default colors of each mode are kinda crazy but one can personalize those to a certain extent.

  • High contrast #1
  • High contrast #2
  • High contrast black and
  • High contrast white (the one I chose; it has a nice punchy color to highlight selected files)
  • 1
    Right-click open area on Desktop, Personalize, Colors, High contrast settings, change drop-down to one of the ones Tony lists. You may also change the selected text between two options which I believe will change file highlighted in Explorer color/bar
    – gregg
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 19:21
  • While this technically will change the selection color, it's a poor option since it changes the entire look and feel of the UI to a format over a decade old, instead of just changing the selection color. 99% of users would find a High Contrast theme unacceptable.
    – JW0914
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 15:37

Windows 10 changes to Explorer have made it pretty hard to customize, such that past methods of customization no longer work. Microsoft's attempt to make its appearance compatible with UWP applications has much complicated its customization.

The item selection color now seems to be hard-wired into Explorer, only modifiable by changing the theme to Dark or High Contrast in a very limited manner. This might change in the future, but current solutions are pretty limited.

You could to use the free QTTabBar, which can still change some attributes of Explorer, adding in addition more goodies such as tabs and extra folder views. It is unable to change the selection color, but it can change the background color to one that will have a better contrast with the pale-blue highlight color.

A detailed description of doing this can be found in the article
How To Change Folder Background Color In Windows 10.

An example of what is possible is:

enter image description here

If you don't find these half-measures to be satisfactory, your only choice is to use a third-party file-explorer which is more customizable. See a list of such alternatives with reviews in the article Best Free File Manager.

This list doesn't contain one of my favorites : Altap Salamander Freeware.

  • "The item selection color now seems to be hard-wired into Explorer," That's what I was afraid of. Would like to know for sure that that's the case rather than just "seems" but I think you're probably correct.
    – Sam Hasler
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 15:58
  • Altap Salamander looks interesting. It's a shame it's not open source.
    – Sam Hasler
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 15:59
  • 1
    @SamHasler: Salamander just recently passed from payware to freeware, so give it time.
    – harrymc
    Commented Jan 9, 2020 at 16:01
  • Looks like they aren't enthusiastic about open sourcing it: forum.altap.cz/…
    – Sam Hasler
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 8:57

Only way is, I think, ALT+SHIFT+PRTSCR. High contrast. Then Desktop and right mouse -> personalize -> colors (high contrast settings from the right) -> selected text -> Apply -> Give name.

All colors not worked.

God Bless!


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