Switch between dark and light theme on the fly with Nightlight

May 15, 2021
Updated • Jun 15, 2021
Windows software

Are you a dark mode user? Have you set the theme to switch automatically every day at a specific time? I mostly use dark mode on my phone, but occasionally like to use it when I'm working late on my computer, so I don't strain my eyes that much.

Nightlight interface

If you're like me and use the night mode once in a while, or if you're working a night-shift, it could be better to toggle the theme manually. But you don't have to dig through Windows' settings for this. A simple quick toggle is efficient, and Nightlight does that with a tray icon.

The program comes in a TAR archive, extract it to a folder and double-click the Run_Me batch file to install it. Windows will display a warning, you can choose to install it, or not. When it's ready, a new icon will appear on the system tray.


Left-click on the icon, and Nightlight will toggle the system theme. So, if you have the light theme enabled, it will switch to dark mode, and vice-versa. A second click switches to the other theme. An alternate way to do this is from the tray context menu, which allows you to choose the theme to use.

Try it to see how it works. You may have noticed something, Nightlight does not change the entire system's theme to dark (or light). That is the way it works by default. Open the tray menu, and navigate to the Settings sub-menu. There are two options here, only one of which is enabled, its captioned Apps, Explorer and System. What this means is that the application does not change the color of the Taskbar, Start Menu. Personally, I like it that way.

Switch between dark and light theme on the fly with Nightlight

Don't worry, if you want to apply the theme system-wide, all you have to do is enable the second option which reads, Taskbar and Start Menu. Of course, the program allows you to disable the first option if that's something you want. Not all programs look great in dark mode, or maybe you want to use your browser and other programs in light mode, while the rest of the elements are in dark mode.

The program does not have a built-in scheduler to automate the theme change, and that's understandable. I mean, the whole point of Nightlight is to provide a shortcut for the process. There are a couple of things to note about the program, it is set to start with windows. To disable this behavior, use the Task Manager's Startup tab. Since it gets installed as a regular program, you can uninstall Nightlight from the Control Panel. The program does not need to run in the background, so you can run the application, switch the theme and close it.

nightlight dark mode icon

Nightlight is an open source project. After being annoyed by many applications that didn't have a good light theme icon, I was happy to see that Nightlight has a proper icon for both themes. The program does not change your wallpaper, so if you have a really bright or dark one, you may want to switch to a different one.


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  1. piomiq said on May 17, 2021 at 11:11 am

    In Windows 10 there is no ‘Dark Mode’, there is only ‘quarter dark mode’.
    Current ‘Dark Mode’ looks like painted on top, because all windows underneath still are bright. Just please look at Properties for disk or folder, look at Task Manager and many other windows. The worse is that seems Microsoft stopped work on its ‘dark mode’ since several months ago.

  2. White said on May 18, 2021 at 12:10 pm

    This is what I wanted.
    Thanks, Ashwin!

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