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How to dim background apps on Windows 10

A desktop computer is a gateway to many distractions. Notifications, alerts, banners, audio alerts, or just a new email popping up can force you to abandon what you’re working on to deal with something else.

Many users turn to full-screen apps to keep themselves from losing focus but not all apps have a full-screen mode and not everyone is able to work in a single app while ignoring all others. 

Dim background apps on Windows 10

Of the many techniques used to concentrate on work when you have other apps open, one common method is to dim background apps. This will make them less distracting and you can work in one app.

The biggest advantage of using this method is that, if the right tool is used, it will adapt when a user switches to a different app. We recommend a free tool called Ghoster.

  1. Download Ghoster and extract the zipped file.
  2. Run the executable file inside the folder.
  3. Select any app and start working in it.
  4. All app windows in the background, as well as the taskbar will be dimmed.
  5. Switch to a different app and all others, including the one you switched from, will be dimmed.

Changing dimness

Ghoster is really an AutoHotKey script that’s been converted to an executable file and given a nice UI to access the original script. You can change how much the app dims the background but to do that, you will have to edit the script. 

  1. Run Ghoster.
  2. Right-click the app’s icon in the system tray and select Settings.
  3. A Notepad file will open.
  4. Scroll down to the following line;
transparency=150
  1. Change the default 150 value to something lower to make the background lighter e.g., change it to 100.
  2. Change the default 150 value to something higher to get a darker or more dimmed background e.g. change it to 180.
  3. After making the change in the notepad file, tap Ctrl+S to save the change.
  4. Right-click the Ghoster icon in the system tray and select Restart.
  5. The new dim values will be applied.

Conclusion

Ghoster is a script and if you’re well-versed in writing AutoHotKey scripts, you can edit the app to act however you want it to e.g., you can add exceptions for certain app windows. Ghoster works with multiple monitors in that if you drag a window to a different monitor, it will dim everything on it. It does not allow you to set to different active windows, one on each monitor.

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