Darken Windows to Reduce Eye Strain

Darken Windows to Reduce Eye Strain

Readers are submitting their best life hack for a chance to win an autographed copy of our new book, Upgrade Your Life. Here’s our latest winner.
Reader David says that staring at the glowing box all day long is hard on his peepers, so he takes matters into his own hands. He writes in:

I spend a lot of time on my computer, and all the white pages and bright backgrounds add up to a lot of eye strain over time, so I’ve overhauled my copy of XP with a few tweaks to make things a little more bearable.

Aside from using minimal, dark wallpaper, I’ve patched my uxtheme.dll using this guide so that I could apply my own skin to Windows. After cruising Skinbase.org for dark themes I came across the one I use now called Zune Final, which has multiple colour options for the Start button as well as each windows Close button. Here’s Zune Final’s theme page.

I use Notepad a lot… for everything from to-do’s to grocery lists to jotting down the URLs to all the stuff I’m talking about now, and thats a lot of white. In search for a dark replacement, I came across Notepad2. It has many more option in comparison to Notepad, but I don’t need it for that, so I turned off all the extra toolbars, and turned on it’s 2nd Default theme, as pictured in the screenshot.

Another great little tweak I’ve come to appreciate is the Stylish Firefox add-on. I use Google.com as my home page and the transition from my dark wallpaper to Google’s solid white page isn’t pleasant, so I installed a dark blue theme that goes well with the rest of my stylings. Here’s where you can find the dark blue Google theme.

Click on the thumbnail below to see David’s styled desktop in all its dark glory.

Congrats, David! You just won an autographed copy of Upgrade Your Life. We’re down to our last two copies—submit your best life hack to win one.


  • You are trying to fix to wrong end of the problem.

    If you think that your display is similar to a light bulb then you are probably right… Here is what you have to do:
    1. Fix the lighting of your wokspace. Best if you have a strong diffused light source. You know it is diffused enough if you don’t see strong shadows. Standing lamps are very good in this.
    2. Reduce the brightness of your display. In case of a new display usually you have to set it to 0 when there is no direct sun light in the room.
    3. Reduce the contrast of your display

    The background light and the display’s brightness should be in balance.

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