Create a more transparent taskbar in Windows 10

Personalization of the Windows 10 desktop is a common, generally supported, user behavior. However, there is no standard way to increase the transparency of the taskbar.

Image: fermate, Getty Images / iStockphoto

Since the invention of the graphical user interface, personalization of the personal computer by users is common. Whether it’s about the perfect desktop background, an enchanting screen saver or the way icons are arranged, users want their experience to be their experience. It makes sense – most of us spend a lot of time interacting with our computer screens.

In Microsoft Windows 10, many settings, configurations, and tweaks are available to users regarding the personalization of their desktop experience. But one setting seems forbidden to users – transparency of the taskbar. For some reason, there is no default configuration setting that allows users to make their toolbars more transparent.

However, greater transparency for the Windows 10 taskbar is possible with careful modification of the registry file. This instructional video shows you how to perform the operation and how to make the tweak.

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Create a more transparent taskbar in Windows 10

Disclaimer: Editing the Windows registry file is a serious undertaking. A damaged Windows registry file can render your computer unusable, requiring Windows 10 to be reinstalled and possibly losing data. Back up the Windows 10 registry file and create a valid restore point before continuing.

To achieve our goal of increasing the transparency of the Windows 10 taskbar, we must add a new key to the registry file. To begin, type “regedit” in the desktop search box and select the regedit application. Then navigate to this key, as shown in Figure A.

Computer HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Explorer Advanced

Figure A

Figure A

Right-click on an empty area in the right-hand window and select New | DWORD (32-bit) value. Name the new key UseOLEDTaskbarTransparency, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Figure B

Double-click the new key and enter a data value 1, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

Figure C

Click OK to complete the process and then close regedit and return to your Windows 10 desktop. Right-click on an empty area on the desktop and select Customize in the context menu. Select Colors in the left navigation bar and then scroll down to the Transparency Effects setting, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Figure D

To get the transparency effect from the taskbar, switch the Transparency Effects setting to the On position or to the Off and then the On position, if it is already on. The reset process should increase the taskbar transparency on your Windows 10 desktop.

That is not transparent enough

The change in the transparency of the taskbar using this tweak of the registry file can be subtle, especially under certain color schemes. Perhaps too subtle for some. To get full taskbar transparency in Windows 10, you must use third-party apps.

Classic Shell is perhaps the most used and recommended Windows 10 personalization application. The extensive list of possible configuration changes contains a setting that allows you to determine exactly how transparent you want your taskbar to be. Classic Shell is free.

In the Microsoft Store (Figure E), you can find some applications that are intended to make the Windows 10 taskbar transparent. Some cost you a few dollars, others claim they are free, but you have to be careful when downloading and running these types of utilities. Free may mean ‘no money’, but your name and e-mail address will probably be somewhere on the list.

Figure E

How transparent do you like your Windows 10 taskbar? Can you recommend a third-party app that is suitable for personalization of desktops?

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