Can’t Change Color of Taskbar on Windows 11? Here’s How to Fix It

Windows 11 boasts plenty of visual & UI customization options that users can meddle around with. Unfortunately for some early adopters, these customizations don’t work in every case. Such is the case with the color of the taskbar in Windows 11 – a lot of users have reported that they can no longer change the color of the taskbar after installing a particular update.

Change the color of the taskbar on Windows 11

Upon getting bored with the default color palette on Windows 11, some users are just discovering that changing the colors of the title bars and windows borders are not registered.

Why can’t some users change the taskbar color on Windows 11?

After investigating this particular issue, it turns out that there are two several potential scenarios that might trigger this particular behavior on Windows 11. Here are a couple of culprit scenarios that might prevent you from changing the color of your taskbar:

  • Windows 11 is not Activated – According to a lot of affected users, you can expect to deal with this particular issue if you’re utilizing a Windows 11 version that’s not activated. As it turns out unless you activate your current Windows installation the default color options will be kept despite you making custom choices. In this case, you should be able to resolve the issue by activating your Windows 11 PC.
  • You’re trying to adjust the accent color of Dark Mode – If you’re trying to modify the default accent color for Start and Taskbar and the option is greyed out, it’s because this setting is reserved to Dark Mode and will be deactivated if you’re using Light Mode. To fix this issue, you’ll need to make the switch to Dark Mode in order to force this option to appear.

Now that you know the two main causes that will prevent you to change the color of your taskbar, follow the instructions below to take care of both potential scenarios.

Activate your Windows 11 Installation

With Windows 11, Microsoft has taken things even further when it comes to convincing potential users to activate their operating system with a viable product key.

Now, on top of displaying that annoying pop-up that tells you your Windows version is not activated, you are also prevented from making any customization changes that are not part of the default look.

If you’re trying to change the color of your taskbar on Windows 11 and your operating system is not activated, the only option at your disposal is to get your hands on a viable license key and follow the instructions below to activate your Windows 11 OS from the Settings menu:

  1. Press the Start button and search for Activation Settings, then press Enter.

    Opening up the Activation Settings menu
  2. After the activation settings will appear, on the right side of where it says Activation state you will see if your Windows is activated or not.
    Check if Windows 11 is activated
  3. If you find that your Windows installation is not activated, click on the Change button and insert a viable license key.
    Insert a viable License key

    Note: If you have a working Windows 10 license key, you can also use it to activate Windows 11.

  4. Once you manage to activate Windows 11, reboot your PC and see if the problem is now fixed.

In case you found that your operating system is activated, move down to the next potential fix below.

Make the switch to Dark Mode

If you previously discovered that you have a licensed version of Windows, there’s one culprit left that you need to investigate.

If you’re trying to modify the accent color of Start and Taskbar only to find out that the option is greyed out, it’s most likely because you’re using Light Mode – this mode can’t take advantage of this customization menu.

In case you’re keen on using a custom accent color for your start menu and taskbar, follow the instructions below to make the change to Dark Mode:

  1. Open the search option and search for Settings, then open it.
    Accessing the Settings menu
  2. Next, in the left-side list search for Personalization and click on it, then click on Colors.

    Accessing the Colors menu
  3. After that, right where it says Choose your mode, expand the drop-down menu and select Dark.

    Changing the Dark Mode
  4. Now the Show accent color on the Start and Taskbar option will be available, and you can customize it how you want.

Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.