Image: fermate, Getty Images/iStockphoto

The personalization of the personal computer desktop by users has been common practice since the invention of the graphical user interface. Whether it is the perfect desktop wallpaper, a mesmerizing screen saver, or that certain way their icons are arranged, users want their experience to be their experience. It makes sense—most of us spend a great deal of time interacting with our computer screens.

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

However, increased transparency for the Windows 10 taskbar is possible with a careful tweak of the Registry File. This how-to tutorial shows you how to perform the edit and make the tweak.

SEE: Microsoft Ignite 2019: Azure Arc, HoloLens 2, Edge, Quantum and Teams (TechRepublic Premium)

Create a more transparent taskbar in Windows 10

Disclaimer: Editing the Windows Registry file is a serious undertaking. A corrupted Windows Registry file could render your computer inoperable, requiring a reinstallation of the Windows 10 operating system and potential loss of data. Back up the Windows 10 Registry file and create a valid restore point before you proceed.

To achieve our goal of being able to increase the transparency of the Windows 10 taskbar, we will have to add a new key to the Registry File. To begin, type “regedit” into the desktop search box and select the regedit application, then navigate to this key, as shown in Figure A.


Figure A

Figure A

Right-click on any blank 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 give in a Data Value of 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 any empty area on the desktop and select Personalize from the context menu. In the left-hand navigation bar, select Colors and then scroll down to the Transparency Effects setting, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Figure D

To get the taskbar transparency effect we are looking for, toggle the Transparency effects setting to the On position or to the Off and then On position, if it’s on already. The resetting process should increase the taskbar transparency on your Windows 10 desktop.

That’s not transparent enough

The change in taskbar transparency using this tweak of the Registry File can be subtle, especially under certain color schemes. Perhaps too subtle for some. To get complete taskbar transparency in Windows 10, you will have to resort to third-party apps.

Classic Shell is arguably the most used and most recommend Windows 10 personalization application. Within its vast list of potential configuration tweaks is a setting that will let you determine exactly how transparent you would like your taskbar to be. Classic Shell is free.

In the Microsoft Store (Figure E), you can find a few applications that are dedicated to making the Windows 10 taskbar transparent. Some will cost you a few dollars, others claim to be free, but you should use caution when downloading and running these types of utility applications. Free may mean “no money,” but your name and email address will likely end up on list somewhere.

Figure E

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