Turning Off Window Drop-Shadows

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 1, 2018)

In Windows 10, part of the graphical "experience" for a system is to include a drop-shadow whenever an actual window is displayed. The purpose of a drop-shadow is to give the element (in this case a window) some depth and, therefore, make it "pop" a bit from whatever is behind it. You can see the drop-shadow most easily if you make the background color of your desktop white and then look at a window. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. A window and its drop-shadow.

If you poke around a bit, you'll also find that the size of the drop-shadow varies, depending on whether the window is active or not. (An inactive window has a smaller drop-shadow than an active window.)

These drop-shadows are added by Windows purely for aesthetic reasons—some people think they look better. Fact is, though, unless you have a very light background (such as the white background already mentioned), you may not even notice the drop shadows. In such cases, the drop shadow doesn't add much and simply adds a tiny bit to the computing overhead required by Windows.

If you are among those who think that the drop shadows are unnecessary, you can turn them off by following these steps:

  1. Display the Control Panel.
  2. Click the System & Security link.
  3. Click the System link.
  4. At the left side of the screen, click the Advanced Settings option. Windows displays the System Properties dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Advanced tab is displayed. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Advanced tab of the System Properties dialog box.

  7. You'll note there are three Settings buttons on the Advanced tab. You should click the one just under the Performance heading. Windows displays the Performance Options dialog box.
  8. Make sure the Visual Effects tab is selected. (See Figure 3.)
  9. Figure 3. The Visual Effects tab of the Performance Options dialog box.

  10. Scroll through the list of options to find the option called Show Shadows Under Windows. Clear the check box next to this option.
  11. Click the OK button to accept the change and close the Performance Options dialog box.
  12. Close any other dialog boxes that may still be open on your system.

The change takes place immediately; there is no need to restart your system.

 This tip (5137) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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