A Windows 11 taskbar with a question mark

If you’re trying to change the color of the taskbar in Windows 11, you might find that the option to “Show accent color on Start” is grayed out in the Settings app. We’ll show you how to fix it.

Here’s the root of the problem: Windows 11 doesn’t allow you to apply an accent color to the taskbar unless you have your appearance set to “Dark.” Otherwise, if you visit Personalization > Colors in Settings, you’ll see “Show accent color on Start and taskbar” grayed out.

Showing Windows 11 Settings where "Show accent color on Start and taskbar" is greyed out.

To fix this, we’ll need to take a trip to the Settings app. First, open Settings by right-clicking the taskbar and selecting “Settings” in the menu. (Or you can press Windows+i on your keyboard.)

In Settings, click “Personalization, then choose “Colors” in the right side of the window.

Under “Colors,” locate the option labeled “Choose Your Mode.” Here, you can select “Dark” or “Custom” in the drop-down menu. If you choose “Custom,” you can still use apps in “Light” mode as well, so there is more flexibility.

Under "Choose Your Mode," select "Custom."

If you selected “Custom” in the step above, use the drop-down menu beside “Choose your default Windows mode” to choose “Dark.” This will allow you to apply a color to the taskbar. (Under “Choose your default app mode,” you can pick either option.)

In "Choose your default Windows mode," select "Dark."

In the “Accent Color” section, pick a color in the grid that you want to apply to your taskbar. You can also choose a custom color by clicking “View Colors.”

Choose an accent color or pick a custom one by clicking "View Colors."

Next, flip the switch beside “Show accent color on Start and taskbar” to “On.”

Switch "Show accent color on Start and taskbar" to "On."

As soon as you flip that switch, the color you chose will be applied to your taskbar. Victory!

A Windows 11 taskbar with color applied.

You can play around with colors until you find the one you like the best. And when you’re all done picking your ideal color, close Settings. Have fun!

RELATED: How to Change the Taskbar Color in Windows 11

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a former Associate Editor for How-To Geek. Now, he is an AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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