Is there a way to disable Chrome's custom window skinning such that it lets the OS draw standard window title bars, borders, etc, in the style I have configured the OS to draw such things with?

I didn't spend all that time with the control panel setting a window style that pleases me just to have applications decide that they know better than me how I want my windows to look. As a practical matter, having each application decide for itself which color cues to use to show "this is the active window" becomes very confusing.

Alternatively, is there a tool somewhere that reads the Windows 7 color and window style settings and produces a Chrome theme that imitates them?

7 Answers 7


I found the option to tick on Chrome on Linux by searching for "theme" in the settings, the option was "Use system title bars and borders"

enter image description here

  • 5
    That sounds good, +1. Unfortunately that option doesn't seem to exist in Chrome for Windows (build 45.0.2454.101). Oct 12, 2015 at 8:39

There isn't a way to override the default Chrome environment to use your windows settings, it has been hardcoded recently to look that way.

The current visual used be a setting called "Hide system title bar and use compact borders" but then google decided to push that as the only option. See it under Appearance on the screen shot.

older chrome and chromium settings screen

  • 1
    Your link is for customizing the iGoogle web page, not Google Chrome.
    – iglvzx
    Jan 10, 2012 at 15:05
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    My bad, the concept hasn't changed though. Chrome.exe is hard coded to look the way it does, even when forcing the disabling of themes on Chrome.exe via RightClick->Properties->Compatibility->Disable Visual Themes it keeps its "Skin/Theme" Jan 10, 2012 at 15:13
  • Disappointing. Any thoughts on the "convert system colors to an installable theme" alternative? Jan 12, 2012 at 13:09
  • There are many ways to customize your environment. You could have a look at StarDock, RainMeter are the common ones I know, alternatively, you could sit and re-customize your windows to look like chrome and save the profile on a flash so that you won't have to do it again in the future, I don't know of any tools to generate default windows theme files. Jan 13, 2012 at 7:09
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    I don't want all my windows to look like Chrome. I want Chrome to follow my color and decoration schemes, like every other program under the sun can do (with the sad exception of MS Office, which thankfully I don't have to use on a day-to-day basis). Jan 15, 2012 at 2:56

As the other posters have mentioned, Google Chrome is designed in such a way to have a consistent display and layout across different operating systems.

An alternative that enables Google Chrome to render webpages behind Internet Explorer is Google Chrome Frame (no longer available), which can be installed without administrator privileges.

  • 16
    That's stupid, though. I'm not using Chrome on multiple operating systems; I'm using Chrome and multiple other applications on one operating system, and I expect those applications to have a common look and feel. It's basic good sense. Apr 18, 2013 at 13:54
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    there's /basic good sense/ and then there is google marketing team.
    – gcb
    Jan 13, 2015 at 21:50

I'm on linux, and google's custom window borders didn't work at all, which feels oddly scary.. like there's suddenly no control over things you always had control over.

I found I could right-click on the empty area to the right of the tabs, and this presented a right-click menu with the obvious option "Use system title bar and borders".

Clicking that got me my own window manager's borders which work fine for resizing and moving. And the best part is this setting is then remembered when you restart chrome.


Type chrome://flags in Chrome, then search for custom and disable windows 10 custom titlebar.

I now see the Windows default (in my case the theme I chose was Stardock Window Blinds) instead of the Chrome hard-coded Windows 10 lookalike.

edit: option 'window 10 custom titlebar' hidden for ver74 & above

  • Unfortunately the problem seems to be more or less moot on Windows 10, because Windows itself no longer lets me customize the window decoration style now ... :-/ Aug 8, 2018 at 11:54
  • what does "hidden" mean? How do I show an hidden flag?
    – jumpjack
    Aug 29, 2020 at 10:18

On Windows go to: Settings > Appearance > Reset to default theme. That should force Chrome to use default Visual Styles on Windows.

Screenshot of Comparation

  • "Reset to default theme" is grayed out for me. I think "default theme" means just for Chrome to keep drawing window borders itself such that they look like how they would look on a virgin Windows installation, but it does not respect my system-wide settings of different colors and button styles. Nov 30, 2016 at 10:01

Ok. So I figured this out. It is actually fairly simple. It turn out all you have to do is remove the "theme_frame" line from the chrome theme's manifest file. AND change the version number or else chrome will not update itself with the changes you made.

I also recommend, once the manifest file is open remove the line with the update server so your new theme is not overwritten once the original author releases a new version.

Here is a brief youtube tutorial on how to do that.

However, once you have followed the steps in that page you need to reload the theme, this is what confused me earlier. To reload the theme (in chrome) go to "settings" -> "extensions" -> "load unpacked theme"

That will open a dialogue box. In that box select the folder that the manifest file is directly inside of.

Now your chrome theme should match your windows theme!

  • 1
    No, that didn't work. I installed the "grass" theme (making the title bar display a tiled image of grass), then edited the manifest to remove "theme_frame" and reloaded. This just reverts the grass-image title bar to the ordinary Chrome-drawn dusty blue title bar with Vista-style buttons. My Windows color setting (magenta-maroon gradient title bar with Win95-style buttons) is still not being used. :-( Jun 22, 2012 at 17:15

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