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How to fix black text in File Explorer location bar on Windows 10 dark mode

Someone needs to tell Microsoft you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken. Case in point, the dark/light theme feature that was working perfectly fine on Windows 10 1809. Windows 10 1903 has a new light theme and where it’s has its own shortcomings, it seems that in making it, something broke in the dark theme as well. When users switch to the dark theme,  they’re getting black text in the File Explorer location bar. It’s impossible to read but the fix is simple.

Fix black text in File Explorer location bar

Open the run box with the Win+R keyboard shortcut and type ‘regedit’ in it. Tap Enter.

In the Registry editor, navigate to the following location;

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors

Under the Colors key, look for a value named WindowText. Its value is likely set to 0 0 0 which translates to black in RGB. Change it to the following;

130 130 130

Restart your system to apply the change. The text in the File Explorer location bar will now be grey. On the black background, it is much easier to read. You can set any other value for the color. All you need is its RGB value however, read the side effects of this fix below before you select a color.

Side effects

This fix is not without its faults. The change in the text color doesn’t just effect the color of the text in the File Explorer location bar but also several other dialog boxes on Windows 10. The Security warning box, for example, now shows grey text. If you go to the Save As dialog box in any desktop app, the file names will appear in grey. The list of apps and processes in the Task Manager also appear in this same color. There are likely other places where the color change will be reflected but these three were the ones I discovered right away.

You can set a different color for the WindowText value but make sure it is easy to read on both black and white backgrounds. The 130 130 130 RGB value changes it to a grey which can be read easily enough on both black and white. If the color is still not easy to read, try setting it to brighter colors. Take a hint from the color options you get for the cursor and see if any of those work for you.

This is a UI bug but it’s annoying and Microsoft needs to fix this. It also needs to get rid of the light theme or overhaul the train wreck that it is at present.

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