Windows 10 desktop icon text colour RRS feed

  • Question

  • Long ago in the great days of Windows XP I found that my preferred desktop was a light, plain background with clear black text for the icons. Then in the best tradition of Microsoft knows best it was decided that users could no longer be allowed to select the text colour. Stupid users (ie all of them) might choose a colour and background combination which made the text invisible. Hence it was decreed that henceforth there would be just one text colour for all - white with a black edge.

    As I prefer a light plain background the official text colour makes my eyes hurt but fortunately there was a loophole. Set the background to orange, the text changed to black and it stayed that way after you changed back to your usual background. Tonight my desktop text changed to the ordained colour for no apparent reason and I discovered that the loophole no longer works (not even after turning shadows off). Clearly the Gods of Microsoft discovered the peasants were not following the one true way and put a stop to their blasphemy.

    If anyone can tell me how to get back to clear black desktop icon text on Build 1803 I would be immensely grateful.

    • Edited by misar1946 Saturday, September 8, 2018 9:33 PM
    Saturday, September 8, 2018 9:25 PM

All replies

  • Open Settings

    In Search box type Turn High contrast on or off

    Turn on High Contrast by moving the slider

    From here you can select the desired option.

    S.Sengupta,Microsoft MVP Windows and Devices for IT, Windows Insider MVP

    Sunday, September 9, 2018 2:57 AM
  • I can indeed get the main Desktop the way I like it by selecting High Contrast White then changing the normal background setting to my custom solid colour. However, as I found previously everything else (Taskbar, Notification Panel, every opened window) then uses the high contrast white setting which I also find extremely unpleasant.

    I can also change the high contrast background from white independently (bottom rectangle in the list) but that then changes the background colour of every opened window from white (Edge, Notepad, etc, etc) and each window still has all the other high contrast features.

    If you know how to keep the first part but return the second part to "normal" please tell me.

    Why oh why cannot Microsoft just learn that if it ain't broke don't fix it?

    Sunday, September 9, 2018 8:43 AM
  • Could you put a picture of what you are looking for?


    Here you are although I doubt it helps to find a solution.

    To avoid any confusion over the OS, they are all Windows 10 (1803) but I am running Classic Start Menu (which has no effect whatsoever on this issue).

    This is what I want (and still have on my other PCs):   https://ibb.co/jiUiFU

    This is what I have been complaining about:   https://ibb.co/i5qjN9

    This is what I get using the suggested high contrast fix:   https://ibb.co/ghmPN9

    Frankly, the fix is worse than the problem.

    Sunday, September 9, 2018 7:35 PM
  • Hi Misar

    OK , Right click on your desktop >personalize> on the right panel below Background >click on the box then choose Solid Color> from there you can choose your background color or you can customize your color by clicking on custom color

    On your left panel you can click on colors to choose the color you like

    On left panel you can click on fonts to choose the font you like


    As I told you I have no problem selecting the solid background in the right panel. That is how I achieved the custom blue colour in my screen shots.

    Forgive me for asking but have you actually tried your suggestions regarding the left panel? If so please tell us the changes to the desktop icon text font which you observed.

    Sunday, September 9, 2018 8:59 PM
  • Yes I have tried before giving you the solution. 


    Could you post a picture of your Windows 10 desktop after you set it to use a different icon text font and colour from the Microsoft default?

    Monday, September 10, 2018 6:52 AM
  • An interesting development today.

    The problem PC just installed the 2018-09 Cumulative Update - KB4457128 (OS Build 17134.285). As the icon text colour change from black to white appeared after the 2018-08 Cumulative Update I decided to give the "orange background fix" one more go. It worked exactly as it did in the past and my light blue background with black text is now restored!

    I will not mark this issue as answered because that would require an explanation of the problem and its resolution. Was it a bug in 2018-08 that has been fixed? Was blocking the fix intentional but removed in 2018-09? Only the Microsoft team may know the answer but I doubt they will be taking time to tell us even if they do.

    • Edited by misar1946 Tuesday, September 18, 2018 6:47 PM
    Tuesday, September 18, 2018 6:46 PM
  • Well, here it is June 30, 2019.  After my latest Windows 10 update, I unfortunately have white desktop icon fonts.  I cannot find any way to make them black.  None of the previous workarounds work any more.  If anyone knows a way, please let me know.  Thanks.
    Sunday, June 30, 2019 2:23 PM
  • Well, here it is June 30, 2019.  After my latest Windows 10 update, I unfortunately have white desktop icon fonts.  I cannot find any way to make them black.  None of the previous workarounds work any more.  If anyone knows a way, please let me know.  Thanks.
    I have the exact same problem.  I can't seem to change the font color under the desktop icons to black.  i have to use a dark background picture so I can see the white font.  i do not want to use a background solid color and like my app windows to use their native white backgrounds.  There doe not seem to be a way to change the font color without using the high contrast theme setting.  The font color should have the ability to be change at all levels of the personel settings.
    Friday, July 12, 2019 1:44 PM
  • This is ridiculous. The system is clearly capable of altering the desktop icon text color and size. The current scheme ... thin white text with a shadow ... is bloody awful for legibility. And no, the high contrast option is a sledgehammer that carries with it several other significant disadvantages. Why we are locked out of this sort of simple change is mystifying.
    Wednesday, October 9, 2019 5:39 AM
  • Exactly. People have been complaining about this literally for years, and it wouldn't be technically difficult for Microsoft to fix. The white text with a shadow is almost illegible and the "High Contrast" scheme is just not what most of us want. Why won't they listen to us?
    Friday, January 17, 2020 4:03 PM
  • I absolutely agree with you, a typical Microsoft ploy.  A youngster within Microsoft has decided on white for the icons, just wait until they get a little older and cannot see so well anymore.  When the writing in the icons was black I could read them perfectly, but now they have turned them to white I do so with great difficulty.  Yours fraternally John
    Monday, March 30, 2020 6:51 PM