Although the Window Color and Appearance dialog is no longer available, you can still edit the underlying registry settings in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors
For example, change your background color from white to grey by changing the Window property from 255 255 255 to 160 160 160
The three numbers in each entry are the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) codes for the color required. Each number can be any value from 0 to 255 to allow you to choose any of over 16 million colors. For example, white is 255 255 255, red is 255 0 0, blue is 0 0 255. Please note that there is a single space between each number.
You can get help with the colors using an online color picker such as www.colorpicker.com, selecting the color you want and making a note of the RGB codes and then entering them into the registry setting.
I found a computer restart was required though a log off/on again may suffice for the changes to take effect.