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Wonky Win10 Colors Require Registry Edits

Here’s a weird one that popped up for me recently. After a recent Win10 update, the color scheme on my production PC turned an odd shade of yellow. Odd enough, in fact, that I just didn’t like it. I found myself resetting colors for various Windows UI elements to get back to the normal defaults. Then I discovered a terrific set of .reg files to restore the defaults with a trio of double-clicks. Much easier. So if you should find that wonky Win10 colors require registry edits, let me point you to the instructions to build those files for yourself.

My problem was exacerbated by synching themes across my Windows Live account. Thus, when my production desktop went wonky on me, it shared that wonkiness with all of the machines onto which I logged using the same account. Talk about the gift that keeps giving! This was one I couldn’t wait to return…

Where to Turn When Wonky Win10 Colors Require Registry Edits

After poking around in Google, I discovered a peachy article from Ramesh Srinavasan at Winhelponline.com. It’s entitled “How to Reset Windows Color and Appearance Settings,” and it works for Windows 8 and higher-numbered OS versions. When you cut’n’paste the text windows for the three registry keys you’ll work on, be sure to grab the entire files for each one, including the line that reads “Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00.” Otherwise, the files don’t work as registry scripts. Because such scripts execute with a simple double-click (far fewer clicks than manually importing those settings), be sure to grab them in their entirety when you create .reg files in which to house them.

When I created my files, I named them to correspond to their respective registry keys:

Wonky Win10 Colors Require Registry Edits

Three keys translate into three files. You could collapse them all into one file, if you wanted to, though.

Because my production machine seems to reset the color scheme back to “wonky” each time it sleeps, I’ve got these files ready to go at a moment’s notice. Remember to restart after you make your registry changes, and you’ll be back to the default.

Bad Diagnosis: It Was the Nvidia Driver…

When I logged back on this morning, September 22, the disgusting yellow color scheme had returned. Checked all three of the aforementioned registry keys and all were still set to the default. Reasoning that it had to be something else, I remembered seeing a report about issues with the Nvidia graphics driver on TenForums.com recently. I checked my driver and, sure enough, it was running version 385.86 (dated May 2017). Checking the Nvidia website, I saw a version 385.69 (dated 9/20/2017) was available. And when I installed that, my godawful color scheme vanished immediately. Now, I’m left wondering how that managed to spread to my other PCs via the Live Login synch, given that none of them share the same graphic card as the primary production machine…

[Note added 10/9/17:]

For the last three Insider Preview updates, the same driver issue has reappeared each time on this PC. Turns out that for some odd reason, upgrading Windows rolls back to an older version of the Nvidia driver.

This is what GeForce Experience says when its built-in driver check is run against the upgraded OS. It’s WRONG!

However, it turns out that the latest and greatest driver for the GeForce GTX 1070 on this PC is actually somewhat newer (as I write this post it’s version 385.69, dated 9/21/2017), as shown here after I forcibly upgraded this PC (and fixed the wonky color scheme):

Notice the version number (386.69) and date (9/21/2017) after forcing the driver update.

I’ve got the download file handy now, and I have learned to force-update to the latest driver version after upgrades go through. This fixes the wonky colors. I’m using the “clean install” option in GeForce Experience to be doubly safe. I’m not sure that it’s necessary, but it seems to be working, so I’ll keep doing that…

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