Force Chrome to Always start in Light or Dark mode regardless of Windows 10 app mode setting

Google Chrome by default follows or respects your Operating System’s (e.g., Windows 10) default app mode (Light or Dark). If you enable Dark app mode in Windows 10 Settings → Personalization → Colors, it also enables dark mode or dark theme in Google Chrome.

Force Chrome to Always start in Light or Dark mode regardless of Windows 10 app mode setting

When you switch to the light mode in the Operating System, Chrome automatically switches to the light theme.

However, regardless of the Windows 10 app mode setting, you can force Google Chrome to always start in light mode or in dark mode. This article tells you how to prevent Google Chrome from respecting or following Windows 10’s app mode (Light vs Dark) setting. This can be done using additional/hidden chrome.exe command-line arguments which can be added to Chrome’s shortcut target field in Properties.

Force Chrome to Always start in Light or Dark mode

Google Chrome, the latest version is 74.0.3729.169 as of this post, does not yet have a setting or flag in the chrome://flags page to force dark or light mode or theme, like Edge Chromium has. Edge Chromium has the edge://flags/#edge-follow-os-theme flag that lets you configure whether Edge follows the OS app mode or not.

For Google Chrome, you can use an additional command-line parameter to force Chrome to start in light mode or in dark mode irrespective of your Windows 10’s app mode setting.

Force light mode in Chrome

To force Google Chrome to always use light mode (theme) even if Windows 10 app mode is set to Dark, edit the Chrome shortcut properties and add the switch --disable-features=DarkMode and click OK.

Force Chrome to Always start in Light or Dark mode regardless of Windows 10 app mode setting

You’ll need to close all instances of Google Chrome and reopen in order for the change to take effect. Here is how it looks now.

Force Chrome to Always start in Light or Dark mode regardless of Windows 10 app mode setting
Demo: Chrome running in light mode but Windows 10 is in dark mode.

Force dark mode in Chrome

To force Google Chrome to always use light mode (theme) even if Windows 10 app mode is set to Dark, edit the Chrome shortcut properties and add the switch --force-dark-mode and click OK.



Force Chrome to Always start in Light or Dark mode regardless of Windows 10 app mode setting

Close all instances of Chrome and reopen it. It should default to dark mode even if Windows 10 app mode is set to Light mode.

Force Chrome to Always start in Light or Dark mode regardless of Windows 10 app mode setting
Demo: Chrome running in Dark mode but Windows 10 is in Light mode.

Note: When you include additional parameters in the shortcut, make sure there is a leading space so that it’s separated from the preceding parameter.

For example, the following is incorrect:

chrome.exe --profile-directory="Profile 2"--force-dark-mode

This is correct:

chrome.exe --profile-directory="Profile 2"  --force-dark-mode

Registry edit

The above settings work on per-shortcut basis. But, to make Chrome always start in a particular (light or dark) mode when you double-click an internet shortcut (.url) file or when running chrome.exe directly, use the following registry edit.

  1. Start the Registry Editor (regedit.exe)
  2. Go to the following branch:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ChromeHTML\shell\open\command
  3. To force Chrome to start in light mode always, double-click (default) and set its data to:
    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --disable-features=DarkMode -- "%1"

    To force dark mode, use this command-line instead:

    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --force-dark-mode -- "%1"
  4. Exit the Registry Editor.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

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