none
Change Windows Background color in Windows 8

    Question

  • I recently installed Windows 8 and on thing which I always do on my Windows environment is to change the background color of the windows to a light gray.  However I cant figure out how to do this on Windows 8, can someone point me in the right direction please.
    Tuesday, September 04, 2012 2:17 PM

All replies

  • I already tried that but in the previous version there was an option to change the color scheme, but in Windows 8 this seems to be lacking.
    Wednesday, September 05, 2012 2:03 AM
  • Yes the desktop windows (Windows 8 Enterprise)
    Wednesday, September 05, 2012 2:13 PM
  • Welcome to random feature removal. Advanced Appearance settings dialog is removed in Windows 8 under the false pretext that with Classic theme also gone, they were no longer required. Even if many of the settings were applicable for Aero-based themes, they don't care much customization now. It's Microsoft's way and no other.
    • Edited by xpclient Wednesday, September 05, 2012 4:30 PM
    • Proposed as answer by xpclient Wednesday, September 05, 2012 4:30 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by David WoltersModerator Tuesday, January 21, 2014 7:37 PM
    Wednesday, September 05, 2012 4:28 PM
  • So this feature is completely removed there is no way get back, by enabling some features even?
    Thursday, September 06, 2012 1:57 AM
  • It may be possible by editing the registry assuming they haven't broken that as well. I haven't checked. Use Procmon on Windows 7 to see which reg value and then try it on Windows 8.
    Thursday, September 06, 2012 3:21 AM
  • So this feature is completely removed there is no way get back, by enabling some features even?

    Try customizing a High Contrast Display theme?


    ---

    Monday, September 17, 2012 7:37 AM
  • As far as I can tell many/most of the desktop settings are still read from the registry locations that would be updated by a desktop configuration tool if one existed.  I don't know how long that'll keep, nor whether Microsoft has already taken to hard-coding things they update in the desktop realm. 

    But that almost everything (and certainly apps) still seem to read these settings probably says someone will come out with a tool (if they haven't already) to allow you to update your various settings.  Look to companies like Stardock to augment the Windows 8 desktop and give it enough style to be usable again.

    I've made some headway in that direction by simply exporting certain parts of the registry from my Windows 7 system and importing them into Windows 8.  I've been able to make the title bars and caption buttons smaller that way, for example. 

    Perhaps you can determine what's changed in the registry by Windows 7 to make the background color change you want, then make that same change in your Windows 8 registry to achieve your goal.

    Good luck.

      

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Monday, September 17, 2012 11:12 PM
  • When I first loaded Win 8 this was driving me nuts, too.

    I like to set the background color of my windows to something other than white. It is much easier on the eyes.

    So I did a little digging in the registry.

    The settings are actually much nicer in Win 8 than in Win 7. I'm surprised no one has written a tool for this yet.

    In windows 7 the colors are located in a rather obscure registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Appearance\New Schemes\Current Settings SaveAll\Sizes\0

    from there the values are not named with user friendly names. It takes some experimenting to determine that Color #5 is the window background color.

    Fortunately, in Win 8 it is much simpler. The colors are stored in this key.

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors

    and the values have nice user friendly names, so Window is the window background color and Window Text is the window text, etc.

    These are string values and the color format is decimal RGB values for the color you want in RRR GGG BBB.

    black = 0 0 0, white is 255 255 255, silver is 192 192 192 and what I use personally is 206 197 151.

    The change does not take effect immediately. You need to restart windows first.

    As always, when editing the registry directly you are on your own and should only do so if you are comfortable. I take no responsibility.

    Hope this helps others,

    Rick

    Tuesday, October 16, 2012 7:43 PM
  • Thank you for that discovery, Rick.  I can think of a lot of things that can potentially be done to improve the usability of Windows 8 just by changing these colors.

    Here are the defaults:

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors]
    "Window"="255 255 255"
    "GradientInactiveTitle"="215 228 242"
    "TitleText"="0 0 0"
    "ButtonAlternateFace"="0 0 0"
    "HotTrackingColor"="0 102 204"
    "InactiveTitleText"="0 0 0"
    "ActiveBorder"="180 180 180"
    "ActiveTitle"="153 180 209"
    "ButtonShadow"="160 160 160"
    "InactiveTitle"="191 205 219"
    "Menu"="240 240 240"
    "ButtonDkShadow"="105 105 105"
    "HilightText"="255 255 255"
    "ButtonText"="0 0 0"
    "GrayText"="109 109 109"
    "InfoText"="0 0 0"
    "MenuText"="0 0 0"
    "MenuHilight"="51 153 255"
    "Hilight"="51 153 255"
    "Background"="0 0 0"
    "AppWorkspace"="171 171 171"
    "ButtonLight"="227 227 227"
    "GradientActiveTitle"="185 209 234"
    "WindowFrame"="100 100 100"
    "InfoWindow"="255 255 225"
    "MenuBar"="240 240 240"
    "Scrollbar"="200 200 200"
    "ButtonFace"="240 240 240"
    "WindowText"="0 0 0"
    "ButtonHilight"="255 255 255"
    "InactiveBorder"="244 247 252"

    Off to experiment!

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012 5:11 PM
  • Well, it appears only SOME of those entries actually work, Rick.  Typical Microsoft.  Rather a mess under the covers.

    Here's what I found has any effect, and even then only in some apps and not others:

     

    AppWorkspace            Background of older MDI apps and no document open
    ButtonFace              buttons in legacy apps, column divider in Regedit
    ButtonHilight           Edges of things in legacy apps
    ButtonShadow            Edges of things and dividers in legacy apps, highlights in buttons when active
    ButtonText              Tabs in legacy apps, menus in legacy apps when active
    GrayText                Menus in legacy apps when inactive
    Hilight                 Background of selected text and items
    HilightText             Text in selected text and items
    InfoText                Tooltip Text in older apps
    InfoWindow              Tooltip Background in older apps
    Menu                    Bottom edge of menu bar in regedit
    MenuText                Active menu when hovering in legacy apps
    Window                  Edit box background, active pane background in apps, some influence on buttons in legacy apps
    WindowText              Edit box text, active pane text in apps, folders in File Explorer

     

    I couldn't see any effects from changing these values:

     

    Background
    ButtonAlternateFace
    ButtonDkShadow
    ButtonLight
    GradientActiveTitle
    GradientInactiveTitle
    HotTrackingColor
    InactiveBorder
    InactiveTitle
    InactiveTitleText
    MenuBar
    MenuHilight
    Scrollbar
    TitleText
    WindowFrame

    However, it opened my mind to the possibility of exporting stuff from under Windows 7's HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Appearance\New Schemes\Current Settings SaveAll\Sizes\0 key and seeing if any of that affects the Windows 8 desktop.  More experimentation...

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options


    • Edited by Noel Carboni Wednesday, October 17, 2012 6:48 PM
    Wednesday, October 17, 2012 6:46 PM
  • Brilliant. I can't wait to tell a user who wants to change their background to simply hack into the registry and modify 20 entries with esoteric RGB values, but only for half the options they want to - because it doesn't work for the other half. Yes, they could do that easily in the previous Windows 7 GUI, but that was then - and this is the new, improved Windows 8 methodology. Ye-haw!

    What a complete fail for Windows 8.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012 9:10 PM
  • All the rest was a waste of time.  More and more stuff is being hard-coded and oversimplified, just as one would predict with the demise of the configuration dialogs.

    The only thing that seems to change the rest of the UI elements' colors is [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM], which is adjusted by right-clicking the desktop, choosing Personalize, then changing the Color via the several controls listed there.  You can't do things like define what color inactive window borders are at all, nor invoke any sort of transparency.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012 10:06 PM
  • Hi Noel,

    Thanks for doing some more research on this.

    I wonder if the other colors would have an effect if you could turn off the "automatic" color setting you see in the personalization control panel?

    My understanding is a lot of the colors are being determined by the colors in your wallpaper.

    I don't see an obvious registry setting that jumps out at me.

    Rick

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012 10:21 PM
  • You can't do things like define what color inactive window borders are at all, nor invoke any sort of transparency

    Have you tried starting from a High Contrast theme yet?   ; }

     

    ---

    Thursday, October 18, 2012 12:43 AM
  • Unfortunately, Robert, that seems to turn off what remains of Aero entirely, much like using a Basic theme used to do in Windows 7, and that brings additional unwanted baggage.

    Do you have a specific suggestion or success story that would make further investigation worthwhile?  If so, please share!  :-)

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Thursday, October 18, 2012 12:52 PM
  • Do you have a specific suggestion or success story that would make further investigation worthwhile?

    No.  I was just observing that using the customization of a HC theme could answer the original request, changing the background color, without resorting to registry changes.   Also, I was wondering if changes made that way would have the same effect as the registry changes which have been proposed here?


    ---


    Thursday, October 18, 2012 2:06 PM
  • The configurability from the UI leaves a lot to be desired, as I mentioned.  I tried selecting all the different High Contrast themes.  I don't see a lot of promise.

    The one biggest thing I need to reiterate is that what's left of Aero is becoming quite fixed in function - for example one can't avoid having non-current windows be anything but a very bright gray.  They're so bright I find my mental focus being drawn away from what I'm working on.  This was handled much better in Aero prior to Windows 8 RTM by the level of transparency being higher in the non-current window UI elements.  It's knowing that even the option to select that form of operation has been actively removed that gets my goat.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options


    Thursday, October 18, 2012 4:07 PM
  • I tried selecting all the different High Contrast themes.

    Just one would let you start customizing it.   E.g. via Windows colors.   I'm on W7 so I'll have to check more closely when I get back on W8 but my impression was that the HC Windows colors dialog was similar to W7's  Advanced appearance settings...  I specifically remember seeing an item for Inactive title there but just assumed that you would be given a palette there, not just shades of grey.

     

    ---

    Thursday, October 18, 2012 8:36 PM
  • Okay, you've prompted me to do more experimentation (never a bad thing), and I DO see that it leads to a different set of configuration options.

    Unfortunately, still only a few things are configurable via the altered color and appearance dialog - but not all that's needed.  I see, for example, that the close buttons are now blue, not red, and no way to set that.  Note that the common controls both gained some style and lost some (e.g., scroll bar thumbs have lines in them, but nothing has any depth)...

    This shows a fairly quick attempt to turn a high-contrast theme into something usable.  I need to experiment some more to see if registry tweaking on top of this can help at all.  I don't hold a lot of hope for it though.  Note that it screws up the appearance of this site in IE10.

     

       

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options


    • Edited by Noel Carboni Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:02 PM
    Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:00 PM
  • Heh, by keeping the above dialog open while switching to an Aero theme I even managed to invoke some kind of broken transparency mode where the Taskbar and window title bars are completely transparent with artifacts.  After that, fooling with things further ended up netting (accidentally) some combination of both modes with no transparency (even in the Taskbar) but which doesn't look as bad as what's shown above and actually seems better than the pure Aero theme.  This is actually the most usable "theme" I've managed.

    There may be potential here yet.  I have to examine the differences in saved registry exports to see how all this stuff is happening.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:49 PM
  • Nah, on additional experimentation every road leads to a dead end.

    The registry key that caused the title bars, et. al. to become completely transparent was this one:

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM]
    "ColorizationGlassAttribute"=dword:00000002

    It's becoming ever more clear (pardon the pun) to me that there has simply been functionality removed from C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\aero\aero.msstyles for blurring the background of title bars and making it partially transparent, as well as for giving buttons visual styles.  Notably aero.msstyles in the RTM is a little smaller than the one in Win8RP, and replacing it with the Win8RP file not surprisingly breaks the entire system (the screen just goes black).

    Microsoft should be nice and provide an alternate aero.msstyles file that can bring back just the significant drop shadow around windows?  You still have the configuration option available for it, but the effect is so puny as to be nonexistent...  Hell, I'd even pay extra for a "plus pack" to do it.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Friday, October 19, 2012 12:43 AM
  • I just found this thread by accident.

    For the past month, I have been wasting a lot of time trying to tweak the theme files but not getting results.  First, like what others here have said, only one or two parameters worked.

    On boot up, the selected theme file is not obeyed.  But on Hibernate and switching on again, sometimes the theme file is obeyed (for those few parameters).

    The color configuration in that dialog shown above looks like a half done job.  Just windows border and taskbar?  Windows 95 was better.

    For the last 12 years, I have always selected Classic Windows, the one that is same as Windows 2000. The windows adornments occupy the least space, and it provides the fastest way to pick out the active window - bright dark blue against gray for all others.  For the past month I have wasted enormous time from hitting Alt-F4 on the wrong windows because the shade of gray between the active and inactive are hardly distinguishable.

    How are themes supposed to work in Windows 8?  Has anyone developed a Classic Windows theme yet?

    Friday, October 19, 2012 2:40 AM
  • I'm with you on wanting to minimize the chrome - and I've found a couple of ways to accomplish that.

    But the ability to visually differentiate between windows has been very nearly destroyed in Windows 8.  There's virtually no drop shadow on the current window, and none at all on the other windows.  Those were essential for visually differentiating overlapping windows.  Windows 8 fanboys seem blind to this, probably because they only ever ran one thing at a time maximized anyway.  Oh, if only life were that simple.

    Near as I can tell from all my research, aero.msstyles (really a DLL under the covers) and some parts of the DWM were involved in rendering the full Aero Glass theme, and none of the hacks I've been able to find have done more than just make the drop shadow a little better and replace some of the buttons - at the expense of creating a Frankenstein's monster of an OS that won't pass an SFC check and won't upgrade properly in the future - not worth it.

    One would have to program a new .msstyles DLL to get back all but transparency.  Apparently a shader that Microsoft had created for doing the blurring and which was working right up through the RP is now completely gone in the RTM build.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Friday, October 19, 2012 9:14 PM
  • Hi Noel

    I just bought your configure windows 8 ebook, and will now begin reading it. If I like it I will send you a reader recommendation.

    Thanks,

    Violet Weed aka 'tante waileka'

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012 4:56 PM
  • For us desktop users Win8 needs to provide the options that already existed regarding customization of themes/menus (classic).

    White background ruins my eyesight and the high contrast are 10xtimes worse.

    So rather stick to an older version than starting to have health issues from using this OS

    Thursday, November 22, 2012 5:06 PM
  • Thank you, Tante.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Thursday, November 22, 2012 7:15 PM
  • When I first loaded Win 8 this was driving me nuts, too.

    I like to set the background color of my windows to something other than white. It is much easier on the eyes.

    So I did a little digging in the registry.

    The settings are actually much nicer in Win 8 than in Win 7. I'm surprised no one has written a tool for this yet.

    In windows 7 the colors are located in a rather obscure registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Appearance\New Schemes\Current Settings SaveAll\Sizes\0

    from there the values are not named with user friendly names. It takes some experimenting to determine that Color #5 is the window background color.

    Fortunately, in Win 8 it is much simpler. The colors are stored in this key.

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors

    and the values have nice user friendly names, so Window is the window background color and Window Text is the window text, etc.

    These are string values and the color format is decimal RGB values for the color you want in RRR GGG BBB.

    black = 0 0 0, white is 255 255 255, silver is 192 192 192 and what I use personally is 206 197 151.

    The change does not take effect immediately. You need to restart windows first.

    As always, when editing the registry directly you are on your own and should only do so if you are comfortable. I take no responsibility.

    Hope this helps others,

    Rick

    OMG  Rick, you are The Man.

    Windows 7 has nice 'white' background with black text, and that's so eye friendly; while win8 has too bright irritating white!!!!!!!!

    Here is one pic: http://i46.tinypic.com/2sbvkly.jpg

    I need some help/advice on Windows about irritating WINDOW size-POSITION, AUTOMATICALY SORTING FILES, COPY TO-MOVE FILE HISTORY DELETE, TO MUCH CLICKS ON PREVIOUS SIMPLE TASKS(ex.shutdown)....After all, new Start corner isn't that bad!

    My e-mail: ljubo.gr@hotmail.com

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:53 PM
  • I hate that  white background in excel, outlook, visual studio - and it can't be changed now! I was able to change it to gray using this regedit method (window node). It works when I log in. But after I logout (e.g. by screen saver or Win+L) and login again, it's reset to white again. I'm sorry, but how stupid can you be to remove such feature? White hurts my eyes, I'm used to gray background!

    Michal

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012 10:32 AM
  • Not "how stupid can you be" but "how devious"!

    They hobbled Aero on purpose.  The removal of perfectly good visual styles and configurability was actively done by changing the programming, yet enough of it remains that there can be no possible argument that it was done to save resources.  They even tried to do it a little at a time, by changing each of the preview versions (Developer Preview, Customer Preview, Release Preview, RTM) incrementally, removing a bit more of the "ease of use" with each version.

    This is precisely what has many desktop users miffed at Microsoft!

    Microsoft seems to think that making it less pleasant to use the desktop means it will be more likely you'll want to find Metro/Modern solutions (in their App Store of course) for everything you do.  As if such apps could possibly replace what you do on the desktop.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    • Edited by Noel Carboni Wednesday, December 19, 2012 11:33 AM
    Wednesday, December 19, 2012 11:30 AM
  • They are incredibly stupid, not devious. They just cause headache to desktop users. And now I have to watch stupid white everywhere and my eyes are more tired when working all the day... And it's really pity, because W8 works great, very fast. 

    I like the Metro tabs and I like my WM7 phone, but to work in Metro? Really? I can't even imagine using that Messaging app, it's terrible waste of time.

    And I also think usually Microsoft customers like they can adjust most of the features, to adjust their desktop/working place - those who don't, use Apple... 

    Michal

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 9:44 AM
  • Maybe it can be said to be "stupid" to try to herd people into spending more money instead of giving them the best possible functionality, but if the argument is just whether Microsoft are being "stupid" technically or "stupid" business-wise, then we're truly in bad times either way, wouldn't you say?

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 4:16 PM
  • Definitely ... being afraid of missing another train called Tablets they've decided for even worse - let's kill our strongest desktop market totally ... And it's really pity, because as I said, W8 is great in speed, working with it is a pleasure... 

    Michal

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 5:11 PM
  • i downloaded a patched theme called dark 8 that has a dark gray window background, patching isnt that hard nor has it messed my stuff up, so i could refer you to a link if you are interested. this feature lack was driving me nuts as well

    and that goes for anyone reading this thread as well

    • Edited by Daemon8 Wednesday, January 02, 2013 2:58 AM
    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 2:57 AM
  • Daemon8, please put up a screenshot or a link to images showing that theme.  I'd like to see it.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Wednesday, January 02, 2013 5:00 AM
  • So how do you actually implement the changes to reflect the changing colors options.  I need a step by step walk through.  I would like to change the white
    Tuesday, January 15, 2013 8:43 PM
  • Hi, my screen, which is an ASUS PA248Q is extremely bright even when set to its minimum level of brightness.
    The white backgrounds are hurting my eyes very much and I can't work for a long time because of it. I tried the regedit workaround but as Noel pointed out, it doesn't work with the window backgrounds (Edit box background, active pane background in apps, some influence on buttons in legacy apps).
    For me it's definitely ruining my experience and I wonder why not more people had not protested, ergonomically spleaking this is a terrible thing.
    If nothing is done to fix it I will probably have to revert to Windows 7, which is a shame.



    Thursday, January 31, 2013 4:04 PM
  • Does anyone know how to get around or delete what I see in this key?  That is SystemProtectedUserData?

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SystemProtectedUserData\S-1-5-21-2815722600-42913553-908455757-1001\AnyoneRead\Colors]

    This key clearly blocks all subsequent attempts to change the color scheme on Win 8.  Changing the color of the window background has zero effect in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Themes\DefaultColors\HighContrast.

    Imagine looking at College courses or your bank statement with these ridiculous shades of bright white burning your eyes!
     
    This Win 8 operating system clearly is and should be renamed "The System From Hell"  If you do not believe me just look at the ridiculous Spire on the roll up window covering the login page.  Then go and look at this Video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=5zn8MRKOskw  and other similar ones regarding the Venus Project and United Nations Agenda 21.  My personal opinion is that the psychopath / sociopath criminals are closer and more powerful than we know.

    I am re-plugging my Win XPpro sp3 disk, looking into Linux and maybe selling my Win 8 disk to the first dummy that steps up!

    Tuesday, February 26, 2013 10:18 PM
  • Here is how you control background (and other dialogs, etc) color in Windows 8

    Go to the Desktop
    Right Click on a blank area and Select Personalize
    Scroll down to High Contrast Themes and Select High Contrast White.  Note: Everything will become annoyingly bright.
    Click on the Color item at the bottom of the window or type 'Color and Appearance' in the search box at the upper right.
    Customize to your heart's content.

    Apparently, these options are only available if you select the high contrast themes.

    Post back if you have questions.

    Sterling
    SterlingSupport.net


    Ag.925

    Sunday, May 26, 2013 5:58 PM
  • Here is how you control background (and other dialogs, etc) color in Windows 8

    Go to the Desktop
    Right Click on a blank area and Select Personalize
    Scroll down to High Contrast Themes and Select High Contrast White.  Note: Everything will become annoyingly bright.
    Click on the Color item at the bottom of the window or type 'Color and Appearance' in the search box at the upper right.
    Customize to your heart's content.

    Apparently, these options are only available if you select the high contrast themes.

    Post back if you have questions.

    Sterling
    SterlingSupport.net


    Ag.925


    This is definitely not an option as setting hi-contrast theme changes a whole set of elements from predefined theme (es. The border of buttons).
    I enclose here two captures in each theme, you can immediately notice the differences:



    • Proposed as answer by Its Andrew Monday, June 03, 2013 4:14 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by Its Andrew Monday, June 03, 2013 4:14 PM
    Tuesday, May 28, 2013 7:56 AM
  • Hi Guys.
    I found solution by reading this thread.
    The idea to update windows background color in registry was correct, but the location was wrong. You may want to use this value in order to change window background color:
    HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-2704394503-4225220067-2356620788-1009\Control Panel\Colors\Window
    This will not change color in windows explorer though. This works only for windows such source code (.cs file) in VS, MS Word, right side in registry, etc.
    The numbers in your actual registry path will look different.
    Don't forget to reboot PC.
    Enjoy.
    Monday, June 03, 2013 4:52 PM
  • Right click on your desktop, Personalize, and then Color. Change it from there. Hope this helps!

    Result:


    - Geeky

    Monday, June 03, 2013 10:58 PM
  • Hi Andrew,

    This is the same answer I proposed back in Oct. As you point out it works with some windows and not with others.

    It is what I've learned to live with.

    Rick

    Monday, June 03, 2013 11:23 PM
  • Hi Geeky,

    I don't mean to appear rude, but did you actually read this thread/topic?

    What we've been trying to do is way beyond what the "personalize/color" dialog allows.

    We want to be able to controls specific colors for parts of the window like earlier versions of windows.

    If you know of a trick to get the "personalize/color" dialog to allow us to do that - it would be great!

    Thanks,

    Rick

    Monday, June 03, 2013 11:25 PM
  • Ah, I see, read it wrong. Thanks for letting me know!

    - Geeky

    Monday, June 03, 2013 11:40 PM
  • Having waded through this thread in sun glasses (my new laptop is win 8) I was wondering if anyone has looked at customising the css files ?

    there seems to be an interesting selection in this and other locations in windows

    C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\ASP.NETWebAdminFiles

    Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:38 PM
  • There are products in the wings that allow you to alter Windows' requirements for Themes (i.e., that they be supplied by Microsoft and only Microsoft).

    There is also a product almost ready for release called Aero Glass for Win8 that will offer you the ability not only to resurrect the translucent glass effect but also to modify the theme settings, and ultimately to be able to load alternate themes that give you control over all the colors.

    Microsoft clearly doesn't want us doing these things.

    Why?

    Because they WANT the desktop to suck, so we'll be encouraged to try to find Metro/Modern replacements for the things we already have - as though just the look and feel is all that we care about when selecting applications. 

    Hint, Microsoft:  There actually HAVE to be Metro/Modern applications that do the job.  And the environment has to work well enough to support real work.  You're being WAY too aggressive in trying to hobble your desktop support in the hopes that people will magically be able to find Metro/Modern solutions for the things they need. 

    I know it's hard for people with sub-100 IQs to understand, but you actually have to have the new environment rich with good choices before trying to force people off the old one.  Otherwise you just come off as incompetent.

    It's also not true that the Metro/Modern environment actually can be as productive as the desktop.  Not everyone maximizes their window when they run their one application!

      

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options


    • Edited by Noel Carboni Saturday, July 20, 2013 3:14 PM clarity
    Saturday, July 20, 2013 3:12 PM
  • Thanks.  This works well once I restart.

    One issue that I noticed is that whenever I put my computer to sleep, when I wake it up the background color goes back to WHITE.  The registry settings haven't changed, but it appears that it is not being read coming back from sleep.  If I restart, the color settings in the registry are read again and the color is set to what I changed it to.  

    Have you encountered this?  Do you have any idea of how to make this more permanent (e.g., waking from sleep)?

    Monday, August 05, 2013 6:52 PM
    • Proposed as answer by Mamoonkhan Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:33 PM
    Saturday, August 10, 2013 2:45 PM
  • my windows 8 explorer
    Saturday, August 10, 2013 2:51 PM
  • here Is my windows 8 explorer color,,, blurred even..........

    you should see my dark glass transpaRENT THEME.....

    Saturday, August 10, 2013 2:53 PM
  • How 'ave you done that then?

    VipX1 Development [ Vip - X - One ]

    Sunday, August 11, 2013 7:34 AM
  • the high contrast is drastic overkill..   How do I adjust the colors for a low vision person ?

    Eng Dev

    Saturday, September 07, 2013 3:24 PM
  • Yes, we have tried that, but the High Contrast theme is almost unusable..  I need to be able to adjust window backgrounds and foregrounds fonts, font size etc.  The customer needs large light letters on a darkish window background..  black on white is unusable  *** email me a solution, I need it now

    Eng Dev

    Saturday, September 07, 2013 3:39 PM
  • Robert, I need to be able to fine tune colors for this customer   *** this is for mainly the desktop, Visual Studio, dialogs and all........   ***

    * Please update this in Windows 8.1 or and update


    Eng Dev


    • Edited by GlennB_dev Saturday, September 07, 2013 3:45 PM clairified context
    Saturday, September 07, 2013 3:42 PM
  • Yes Michal..  I have a lower vision relative who cannot even use the black on bright white..  for me it is like looking at a bright white sky..  where are my sunglasses..  ?

    Eng Dev

    Saturday, September 07, 2013 3:54 PM
  • Aero Glass for Windows 8 is released.  With some online sleuthing for "secret" registry parameters, you will find it offers the ability to disable Windows' signature verification so alternate themes can be loaded.  Of course, do this at your own risk, but it does offer a way to completely revamp your desktop look and feel.

    http://glass8.berlios.de/

       

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options



    • Edited by Noel Carboni Saturday, September 07, 2013 4:26 PM
    Saturday, September 07, 2013 4:22 PM
  • Rick, 

    This is great!  Thank you so much for putting it together!!

    Talasi

    Monday, September 09, 2013 7:24 PM
  • Cheers for this thread, it gave me the clues to get the window color working in all situations for Windows 8 & 8.1.

    My preferred window color RGB is ec,ee,df.

    1. It's fairly easy to get it set for the current user initially via the registry at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors, "Window"="236 238 223".

    Then save it to a .deskthemepack file via Control Panel | Personalisation. This file is just  a CAB file containing Win7 style .theme text file and a desktop background jpg.

    2. The bigger hassle is getting the color to stick after resuming from sleep or screen lock. I could only get this to work by writing to HKLM. So only suitable for a machine that's primarily for personal use.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Themes\DefaultColors\Standard
    "Window"=dword:00dfeeec

    Note that for some reason, Microsoft made the colors BGR rather than RGB. Just to make it hard to find I guess?

    Monday, October 28, 2013 9:39 PM
  • One year topic and still the same issues. Neither of solutions really helps. Sometimes white blinds me, sometimes black text is written on dark-grey background, menu colors are not configurable without high-contrast (even worse theme). The most ridiculous - in a lot of windows different components are painted with different colors (as an example just open regedit and compare tree area with value area).

    Looks like this is official MS politics to make UI worse and worse. I hadn't significant problems in Win-98, then more and more of them were appearing - editing registry, setting-up buggy utilities, recompiling DLLs, now don't know what to do at all.

    Looks like UI stuff was not even tested with non-default settings. Do MS developers use this by themselves and looking at that white spotlights?

    No penny to MS until this is fixed.

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013 9:16 AM
  • One year topic and still the same issues.

    Looks like this is official MS politics to make UI worse and worse.

    It's starting to sink in.

    Everything they do is on purpose.

    I honestly don't know what's worse - devious manipulativeness or incompetence.

       

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013 2:11 PM
  • I've resigned myself to live with a slightly dark gray theme/title-bar/taskbar. Doesnt look too bad and you can read the titlebar text. Ultimately I think sooner or later there will be 3rd part hacks that will modify/replace whatever theme dlls/files are responsible for this. Not holding my breath for MS to do anything about it.
    Sunday, November 03, 2013 12:16 PM
  • That one really hits home. I'm indeed another unsatisfied Windows user, and feel left out big time. That whole metro thing makes my working station feel like a cheap copy of an iphone. Dear Microsoft, if I wanted a gadget, I would have bought one!

    And now give me back the dark background without feeling like I'm in a bad 80ies disco. I wonder why they added those contrast themes in the first place, did anybody actually use them?

    Monday, November 11, 2013 11:31 AM
  • If you mean the colour of the taskbar and the window borders you can change it. Just click win+w meaning the windows button holded and then press w. Then type'change colour' and click the 2nd option and change the colour and intensity. Thats it mate but colour of background is random......kinda. My cousin's background is maroon and mine is blue.
    Monday, November 11, 2013 4:17 PM
  • I contacted Windows Support to see if they could provide a solution. The answer I was given made me laugh...

    Hi, thanks for visiting Answer Desk. I'm Dennis A.


    You:
    ‎10‎:‎47‎:‎15‎ ‎PM  hi


    Dennis A:
    ‎10‎:‎47‎:‎22‎ ‎PM  Welcome to Microsoft Answer Desk! I'm Dennis A How can I help?


    You:
    ‎10‎:‎47‎:‎44‎ ‎PM  hi dennis, i'm having trouble personalizing my theme for windows 8


    Dennis A:
    ‎10‎:‎47‎:‎57‎ ‎PM  why is that?


    You:
    ‎10‎:‎48‎:‎46‎ ‎PM  I like using a dark theme for my windows and it looks nice, but when I have the window dark the title text of the window remains black, and so I can't read the title of the window
    is there a way to change the color of the title text?


    Dennis A:
    ‎10‎:‎49‎:‎27‎ ‎PM  yes
    when you click personalize,
    \go  go to change color scheme


    You:
    ‎10‎:‎52‎:‎12‎ ‎PM  ok
    then what?


    Dennis A:
    ‎10‎:‎53‎:‎41‎ ‎PM  then change the color until you can see the fonts


    You:
    ‎10‎:‎54‎:‎09‎ ‎PM  that didn't answer my question though
    I asked if I could change the color of the title text and you said yes


    Dennis A:
    ‎10‎:‎54‎:‎32‎ ‎PM  I got confused
    sorry


    You:
    ‎10‎:‎54‎:‎38‎ ‎PM  o ok
    so is there a way to change the color of the title texts of my windows?

    Dennis A:
    ‎10‎:‎55‎:‎56‎ ‎PM  oh okay Windows
    now I get it
    no
    that is the default
    it is your background that you will need to change
    (i am referring to your theme)

    Friday, November 29, 2013 7:11 AM
  • You *could* go with a 3rd party tool that restores Aero Glass and the ability to load alternate themes. There are even themes now that look just like Windows 7 that run on Windows 8+, if that's what you like. And you can do things like load alternate graphics to restore title bar glow behind text with dark backgrounds and color choices.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Friday, November 29, 2013 4:37 PM
  • From http://reboot.pro/topic/17390-windows-8/

    Posted <abbr class="published" itemprop="commentTime" title="2012-09-23T10:27:51+00:00">23 September 2012 - 10:27 AM</abbr>

    How to: Enable Aero Glass Transparency in Windows 8 Final

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PK_j-Iz8WM
    
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsDWM]
    
    "Composition"=dword:00000001
    
    "ColorizationColor"=dword:af4ca0fe
    
    "ColorizationColorBalance"=dword:0000004e
    
    "ColorizationAfterglow"=dword:af4ca0fe
    
    "ColorizationAfterglowBalance"=dword:0000000a
    
    "ColorizationblurBalance"=dword:00000012
    
    "EnableWindowColorization"=dword:00000001
    
    "ColorizationGlassAttribute"=dword:00000001
    
    "EnableAeroPeek"=dword:00000001
    
    "AlwaysHibernateThumbnails"=dword:00000001
    

    Gastone Canali >http://www.armadillo.it

    Se alcuni post rispondono al tuo quesito(non necessariamente i miei), ricorda di contrassegnarli come risposta e non dimenticare di contrassegnare anche i post utili. GRAZIE! Ricorda di dare un occhio ai link Click Here andHere

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013 11:48 PM
  • hello Dj41510

    can u tell me where i can get that theme

    ????????

    Sunday, December 15, 2013 9:16 PM
  •  
    Control Panel\Appearance and Personalization\Personalization

    Under "High Contrast Themes (4)" 

    Select High Contrast #2

    Select "Color" High Contrast 




    Monday, December 30, 2013 3:20 AM
  • this is not a solution. this is a weird workaround. in windows 95/98/ME/XP i was able to change this color into the control panel. 
    in Vista/Seven the GLOW maintains visibility of it.

    in Eight, you simply forgot to code the color change of titles (complementary colour?) and without the aero glow thing, the title vanish in dark title colors. 

    try to test your software more often.

    bye.


    • Edited by khronos_one Sunday, January 05, 2014 8:21 PM
    Sunday, January 05, 2014 8:21 PM
  • You should try to understand that not everyone who responds to you is with Microsoft, khronos_one.  Your wording implies you think you're talking to them here.  Most of us are just peon users like you.

    You should look into the Aero Glass tool mentioned up thread.  With suitable theme atlas resources you can put a nice glow back behind most title text.  Ribbon windows are an exception - for that you need a theme replacement-enabling hack.  But the good news is that File Explorer is the one big application that's ribbon-enabled, and it puts the path near the top of the window, so you really don't need to see the titles much.

      

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Sunday, January 05, 2014 9:56 PM
  • You can make all the changes you want if you FIRST select a "High Contrast" theme.
    Saturday, January 11, 2014 12:31 AM
  • So to clarify - we have to hack unsupported registry entries and set things to High Contrast in Windows 8 just to get a background that kind of works like we had in previous versions?

    That's just mind-numbingly stupid. Really.

    Saturday, January 11, 2014 2:23 AM
  • Well you can always use uxstyle that doesn't alter registry and a custom theme for getting the white text.

    There are themes for 8 and 8.1 that have a white text if you like to use dark frames at Deviantart under Customization/Skins/Windows 8 Utilities/ Visual Styles..

    If you want light frames you use your normal theme!

    That's what I do from the beginning without any problem..

    [IMG]http://i.imgur.com/YYp09cD.jpg[/IMG]

    Friday, January 17, 2014 7:19 PM
  • Just to follow-up for folks who would prefer to load an alternate theme, there's now a program available that will make run-time modifications to your system to avert the signature check.

    http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/170945-uxtheme-signature-bypass/

    The advantage to this method is that it will not affect the integrity of your system files - your system will still pass an SFC check.  That could matter for future updates.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014 4:01 PM
  • Hello,

    I hope I'm not oversimplifying this and that this is what you were looking for but did you go to control panel / personalize? I found options to change just about any color including text and background.

    Saturday, March 01, 2014 3:08 AM
  • I found options to change just about any color including text and background.

    On Windows 8?  Show us, please.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Saturday, March 01, 2014 4:33 PM
  • So to clarify - we have to hack unsupported registry entries and set things to High Contrast in Windows 8 just to get a background that kind of works like we had in previous versions?

    That's just mind-numbingly stupid. Really.


    I'm using a modified theme with a theme patcher, no need for registry hacks and high contrast themes:

    http://uxstyle.com/ + http://x0lis.deviantart.com/art/Windows-8-1-White-Titlebar-Dark-theme-423021868

    By the way, this bug is still present in Windows 8.1 Update 1 (April update).

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 3:37 PM
  • Theme patchers often make changes inside system files.  That's a bad idea for obvious reasons.

    Does your theme patcher break system protection? In other words, can your system pass an SFC /VERIFYONLY test?

    If not, then you may want to consider other means to alter your UI experience.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014 4:40 PM
  • I found options to change just about any color including text and background.

    On Windows 8?  Show us, please.

     

    -Noel




    Charms bar > Personalization > Desktop Background...........near the top where it says "picture location" click the drop down box and choose "solid colors."  Choose your color.  Even if you put a picture on there later, the color will still be there (like if someone logs in to your computer with Logmein or TeamViewer and the settings remove the wallpaper). 
    Thursday, March 20, 2014 2:09 AM
  • You have not read  the thread, right?
    Monday, April 14, 2014 7:35 AM
  • After all the tips and tweaks I got over the years for XP, which I had setup absolutely perfect I now have a chance to give back a little something.

    The answer seems to be in the theme itself.

    C:\%UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes

    Open with Notepad and be sure this code is present:

    [VisualStyles]
    Path=%SystemRoot%\Resources\Themes\Aero\AeroLite.msstyles
    ColorStyle=NormalColor
    Size=NormalSize
    AutoColorization=0
    ColorizationColor=0X7F000000           (not sure what this does)
    VisualStyleVersion=10
    HighContrast=1                                 (this is the answer)

    Now scroll down to [Control Panel\Colors] and change to your liking.

    Unfortunately in High Contrast mode there can be no Start Screen or Lock Screen image or color. Now we have to find a way around that.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014 2:51 PM

  • Now scroll down to [Control Panel\Colors] and change to your liking.


    Thank you very much Jana_2003, I want to add something more;

    1. Open C:\%UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes

    2. Open with Notepad which themes you use

    3. Find [Control Panel\Cursors] and add ;

    [Control Panel\Colors]

    Window 128 128 128

    and--> file and --->save . First chance your theme to another and then chance it back to your theme.

    For more color scheme like window 128 128 128 , visit http://www.debbiesthemes.com/utilities/color_scheme.html. I am also trying to find the best.

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014 9:06 PM
  • Which method did you use to apply the transparency in your screenshots? I have been trying for the past few days with no luck. I read your post and obviously saw your screenshots that prove it works but unfortunately there are so many methods posted above your post that it is hard to figure out which you used that worked. Thanks in advance. It looks really good!
    Friday, July 11, 2014 6:42 AM
  • If you're asking me, that's the donationware package Aero Glass for Win 8.1:

    http://www.glass8.eu/

    There's a (big) forum thread where the author introduces it here:

    http://www.msfn.org/board/topic/170850-aero-glass-for-win81-125/

     

     

    So far I've found it perfectly stable, and a welcome usability enhancement to the desktop.

     

    -Noel


    Detailed how-to in my eBooks:  

    Configure The Windows 7 "To Work" Options
    Configure The Windows 8 "To Work" Options

    Friday, July 11, 2014 2:35 PM