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I have a confession: Windows is better in light mode

Windows desktop with both light mode and dark mode
(Image credit: Microsoft)

There's a good chance I'll make some enemies with this one, but I've recently had a change of heart. I have, for the past few years, religiously decided on dark mode for all my devices, from the moment when I set them up. Subsequently, I've become so used to a dark UI's brooding tone that I often forget Windows used to be eye scorchingly bright. However, recently my PC suffered from a chronic bout of the whoopsies, during which my OS decided to no longer exist in this plane of reality, so I was forced to reset it. In doing so my personalisation preferences bounced back to the default: light mode.

And I've stuck with it.

I've emerged from the dungeon of dark mode and I can feel the sunlight warming my skin for the first time in a long time, and it feels good.

I no longer have any qualms with the brighter theme. Light mode is the distinguished PC user's choice, after all, that much is clear to me now. Decades of refinement have led to a subtle and universally acknowledged appearance.

For example, there's no god-awful clash of contrast with bright images on dark pages and every app looks as it should and in keeping with the overall OS. All without tinkering with themes or appearance settings.

This is a cardinal sin for a dark mode aficionado, but I no longer care for dark mode's broody style. Light mode is cheerier, more attention-grabbing, and I don't find myself slipping into a daze staring at a bright UI.

Windows light mode and dark mode hybrid settings.

(Image credit: Microsoft)
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Now there is an argument to be made for dark mode in some situations, particularly low light. And I'll admit that at night the light mode is a bit more aggressive on the eyes than the alternative. For my phone, then, I've not made the switch back to light mode. Yet. But I also hold that if you're gaming in a dark room, there's potential to hurt your eyes no matter which mode you're in, and perhaps the best way to go is to turn down your screen's brightness altogether or buy a lamp.

Hold up, perhaps there is a way to get the best of both. A hybrid solution that blends the best of light mode for apps and dark mode for your OS. Well, in Windows you can set your apps to run in one mode, and the OS to run in the other, by hitting the 'custom' option under the colour menu in personalisation settings. There are also ways to switch modes depending on the time of day (opens in new tab), which is something I could get behind.

Yet I don't expect my confession to make any dark mode user switch sides, and perhaps ultimately there's no great divide between us. I just wanted to get this confession off my chest. But if there's one light mode user that reads this and feels vindicated by my decision to switch back to the light side, I say to you: fine, you were right.

Jacob Ridley
Jacob Ridley

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.