How to Fix: Windows 10 Taskbar Unreadable (Text too Dark)

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Jerry B. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

With Windows 7 reaching end of life in January 2020, I decided to upgrade my machine to Windows 10. Everything went fine without a hitch, except for one small issue. The Windows 10 task bar is very difficult to read - especially the clock and any running tasks. I have another Windows 10 machine that I use daily and I can clearly see the writing on the task bar. I have searched Google for 'windows 10 taskbar unreadable' and 'windows 10 task bar font black' and 'windows 10 task bar text too dark', and similar searches, but I can seem to nail this one down. I have tried adjusting font colors and other things but it makes no difference. Can you please help! "

My response:

I asked Jerry if he would like me to connect to his system using my remote desktop support service in order to have a closer look, and he agreed.

Below I will discuss my findings.

How to Fix: Windows 10 Taskbar Unreadable (Text too Dark)

When I first connected with Jerry I noticed that the task bar text was very dark and it almost appeared as if his clock was missing.

A few possibilities went through my mind: one of them being that his user account may have corrupted during the upgrade, which is actually quite common. I enabled the administrator account using an administrative command prompt, then logged out of Jerry's account and signed in as Administrator. The task bar was back to normal - but only using the Administrator account.

I decided to go back to Jerry's user account to see if I could somehow adjust the task bar settings.

One thing that struck me as being very odd was that Jerry's File Explorer windows were also very dark. I know for a fact that when you install Windows 10 it will automatically generate a 'theme' of colors based on the theme of your previous Windows installation - assuming you've done an upgrade.

That's when it hit me - resetting the theme would likely fix the issue.

To test my theory, I did the following:

  1. I right-clicked an empty space on Jerry's desktop, then selected the "Personalize" option.
  2. The Settings window appeared; I then navigated to "Themes" on the left hand side of the window.
  3. The "Themes" window appeared; under the heading "Apply a theme", I selected "Windows" (which was the first result).

Voila! The task bar was now readable.

If you have a similar problem, this will likely fix the issue; if it does not then it may be that the user account is corrupt - and if that's the case, you can contact me for further assistance.

I hope that helps!

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About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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