Like its predecessor, Windows 10 includes a personalization option to make the desktop taskbar transparent, allowing the user’s desktop wallpaper to be visible behind the taskbar. The taskbar is such a small portion of the overall desktop, however, that this option was hardly noticeable to most users in Windows 8. With the addition of the Action Center in Windows 10, however, the transparency option has been extended from the taskbar to both the Start Menu and Action Center, and offers a much more visually striking (if you prefer the transparency option), or distracting (if you dislike the transparency option) result. Here’s how to disable or enable taskbar, Start Menu, and Action Center transparency in Windows 10.
Note: Like its competitor Apple, Microsoft uses the word “transparency” to describe the visual effect discussed in this article. However, the more accurate term is “translucency,” as the desktop wallpaper, while visible, is clearly obfuscated by the foreground elements of the taskbar, Start Menu, and Action Center. Despite this difference, we will stick with the word “transparency” in this article to maintain consistency with Microsoft’s naming conventions.
To disable or enable taskbar, Start Menu, and Action Center transparency in Windows 10, head to Start > Settings > Personalization > Colors.
Scroll down until you see the option labeled Make Start, taskbar, and action center transparent. As its name describes, turning this option on will make your desktop elements transparent, and your desktop wallpaper will be visible behind them in a way that is similar to, although far less intense, than the Aero visual effects first introduced in Windows Vista.
Conversely, turning this option off will result in the use of a solid background color for your taskbar, Start Menu, and Action Center, which will completely cover their respective areas of your desktop wallpaper. The color used for both the solid and transparent backgrounds will vary based on your choices in the sections higher up in the Colors Settings menu, and will be either automatically set by Windows based upon your current wallpaper, or manually set by the user to one of 48 color options.
Regardless of whether your are enabling or disabling the transparency effects in Windows 10, the change you make will take effect as soon as you click the On/Off toggle in Settings, with no need to reboot or log off each time you change the option.
One word of caution for those running Windows 10 on older PCs with outdated graphics cards: although it’s not much by today’s standards, the transparency effect in Windows 10 does require some GPU horsepower. Therefore, if you’re running an older PC or graphics card and notice some sluggishness on the Windows 10 desktop try disabling transparency (and Windows 10 animations, too, while you’re at it) for a potential performance boost.
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