How to Change Folder Background Color in Windows 10/11

Check here how to quickly change the background color of your folders in Windows Explorer in Windows 10 itself or using a third-party app.

Not everyone likes the standard background color for folders in Windows 10 or 11. For some of us, the white doesn’t match the overall look we want for Windows.

Windows don’t come with a lot of customization options when it comes to changing the folders background color, but you can change it without installing any program by doing this:

  1. Enter Settings on Windows Search and click on Open:
  2. Now click on Personalization:
  3. On Personalization, click on Colors. It is located on the left sidebar in Windows 10.
  4. Under Choose your default app mode (or Choose your mode), select Dark:

    (In older versions of Windows 10, you might see this setting named as Choose your color.)

This will change the background color of your folders to dark gray like this:

Since this is the only current way to change the background color in Windows 10 or 11, you have only two options for your folder’s background: the standard white (Light) and dark gray (Dark.)

(If your Windows Photo Viewer applies a yellow tint to pictures, I have an article about how to fix that in seconds.)

If you want a more customized look, you will need to use a third-party app called QTTabBar.

How to change your folder background color with QTTabBar

QTTabBar is one of the best apps for Windows, as it allows you to customize your folders in many ways. This includes adding Chrome-like tabbed browsing to your folders.

It also allows you to customize the background colors of your folders beyond the Windows default Light and Dark modes, as shown in the picture below:

As you can see, QTTabBar allows you to choose your colors for the folder background, left navigation pane, and detail columns. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Download QTTabBar and install it on your PC:
    (To know how to install QTTabBar on Windows 11, check my article on how to have tabs on your Windows Explorer.)
  2. Open any folder, click on options, then enable QT Command Bar and QTTabBar:
  3. Click on the gear icon on QT Command Bar to open QTTabBar Options:

    (You will only need this toolbar temporarily to change the background color of your folders. After that, you can turn it off if you prefer not to have it on Windows Explorer.)
  4. In the left menu, click on Appearance, then go to the Folder View tab.
  5. Check the Base background color box and choose an Active and Inactive color for your folder background, then click Apply.

    (It is also important to choose an Inactive color, or else the new color will only apply when you click on folders and files.)
  6. Now click on the Navigation pane tab, check the Back color box, then choose a color for the left navigation pane of Windows explorer folders.
  7. On the left menu, select Compatible Folder View, and under the General tab, check the Compatible list view style and Selected column, then choose a color and click Apply.

If for folder background color does not change after you click apply, reboot your PC, and it will work correctly.

(To know more amazing programs like QTTabBar check my list of must-have software for Windows.)


The best ways to change a folder background color in Windows 10/11 are through Windows settings and QTTabBar. Windows settings only allow you to switch between light and dark modes, while QTTabBar allows for more customization.

To change your folder background color in Windows, go to Settings > Personalization > Colors, then change Choose your default app mode to Dark.

To do it in QTTabBar, download the program and follow my instruction in the second section of this article.

If your Windows explorer borders are missing, check my article on how to fix Windows Explorer window border missing.

Laerthe Côrtes

Laerthe Côrtes

My first desktop computer, back in the 1990s, opened a whole new world for me; since then I am a heavy PC user (who will never get used to smartphones.) I worked for five years in the PC software industry, and my favorite version of Windows is still Windows 95.

About Us

No matter who you are, if a seasoned computer user or someone who can’t do much more than browse the internet, my mission is the same – to help you find a solution to the problem plaguing your PC, or, at the very least, to give you a direction of what to do next.

Legal Information

Some of our posts contain affiliate links to help keep this website running. This means I recommend products and services I personally use and I may receive a commission if you purchase them.

Must-Have Software List

You might also like