Classic Shell

How to change the colour of all programme "Windows" GUI?
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Author:  mipak [ Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:24 am ]
Post subject:  How to change the colour of all programme "Windows" GUI?

Have used 3.1, 98SE, XP, W7P64 and now (sadly) W10P64.

I have managed to add some modifications to W10 which XP & 7 had but my final problem is the only one where I've not been successful.

Using Control Panel in 7, it was very easy to change the default colour of most, if not, all default GUI screens to whatever colour you chose instead of plain white.

Using an oldish laptop with XP on it, I went through the sequence to remind me just what to look for (forgive me if I've made any errors).

Running 7 or XP, go into Control Panel, then Appearance, then Advanced and click Item.
you will see a sub-list of 18 under Item. Scroll down and click Window.
In the right-bottom corner, click on Colour 1 and pick your colour then on the next tiny window, click Other... .
A larger window will appear headed Colour. Play around with it to decide if necessary.
When decided upon, make a note of the 3 sets of numbers in the 3 sub-headings - Hue/Sat/Lum - in a notebook perhaps.
and then click Add to Custom Colours.
(In my case, I used 120/78/191 which gave me a sort of light blue ... a 100% better than Window's very glarie white).
After clicking the long Add to.. button, click Okay, OK again and a final OK a third time.
A screen will appear for a few seconds while the computer adjusts the settings ... JOB DONE.

The only reason I typed out the above 10 lines was that it was easier to do that than, for example, explaining the difference between Window and Windows etc. etc. ... a tad messy.

so now that you know what I'm talking about, is there any way that that can be done in W10 please?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hope to hear back from you in due course.

Author:  juniper7 [ Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to change the colour of all programme "Windows" GUI?

It's kind of iffy on Windows 10
What with light and dark and custom mixed modes that will override the old standard system colors.

From past experience, some of those colors can be changed in Windows 10 registry.
Like system highlight color, scrollbar color, etc.

Here is a web page that details how to reset the registry back to default appearance settings: ... -settings/

What you want is to do the opposite.
I did a test by changing the "Window" red green blue value to "Window"="186 220 220"
at two places in the Modified Windows colors.reg file (right-click edit).
Saved it with the changes, then right-click merged into the registry, and restarted Windows 10.

If it was Windows XP the explorer window would change color, not on Windows 10.
What it did was change the window color on Notepad and inside part of the search box of older programs.
Maybe there is a program that can make these system color changes easily without messing with the registry?

Modified and reset Window colors .zip [1.31 KiB]
Downloaded 123 times
Test window color screenshot.png
Test window color screenshot.png [ 32.31 KiB | Viewed 5444 times ]

Author:  fonpaolo [ Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to change the colour of all programme "Windows" GUI?

The "easiest" way is to create or edit a .theme.
In Windows 10 not all colors can be changed and before or after, none of them.
[Control Panel\Colors]
ActiveBorder=50 50 50
ActiveTitle=5 10 21
AppWorkspace=155 155 155
Background=166 202 240
ButtonAlternateFace=0 0 0
ButtonDkShadow=105 105 105
ButtonFace=212 212 212
ButtonHilight=244 244 244
ButtonLight=212 212 212
ButtonShadow=128 128 128
ButtonText=0 0 0
GradientActiveTitle=166 202 240
GradientInactiveTitle=192 192 192
GrayText=155 155 155
Hilight=30 180 230
HilightText=255 255 255
HotTrackingColor=0 102 204
InactiveBorder=128 128 128
InactiveTitle=128 128 128
InactiveTitleText=200 200 200
InfoText=0 0 0
InfoWindow=245 245 245
Menu=233 233 233
MenuBar=240 240 240
MenuHilight=51 153 255
MenuText=0 0 0
Scrollbar=212 212 212
TitleText=255 255 255
Window=245 245 245
WindowFrame=100 100 100
WindowText=0 0 0

This is what I use.

Author:  juniper7 [ Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to change the colour of all programme "Windows" GUI?

Can a layman change the values easily in a theme, or does one need to buy a program for the theme way of doing it?

The registry way uses the same names list, but is a little scarier using.

It's kind of funny but the reason I used the reset reg file was because
WindowBlinds would not reset their theme modded colors after setting back to default Windows.

Author:  fonpaolo [ Wed Apr 29, 2020 1:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to change the colour of all programme "Windows" GUI?

No, it's veeery complicated, you need to use notepad! :lol:

Author:  juniper7 [ Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to change the colour of all programme "Windows" GUI?

The notepad way is the same as the registry file with .txt changed to .reg

How do you change it in a windows 10 .theme?

I experimented with a Win 10 .theme to get the same light blue results.
The only difference is I did not have to log off or restart to get color change.

I opened .theme up with Notepad this time, not RH.:lol:
It has the "Window with the light blue color"

You won't be able to edit that "Window control blue color.deskthemepack" in the zip with Notepad
until Windows installs it as a "Window co.theme" in one of these locations:

C:\Users\user name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes


Window control blue [1.39 KiB]
Downloaded 139 times

Author:  juniper7 [ Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to change the colour of all programme "Windows" GUI?

I thought I found some good free software:

I find it does the same thing by changing the registry the same way with 31 system color types.
A good point is a color picker can be used in the interface.
The bad point is as they state on web page just because the color was changed, applied and Windows logged off and on,
does not mean color change will be successful. :(

Author:  juniper7 [ Thu Apr 30, 2020 7:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to change the colour of all programme "Windows" GUI?

I read on Microsoft site that Microsoft has taken away the ability to change explorer background in Windows 10 as well as other specific locations.
Seems like the only way to change all Windows colors is to buy WindowBlinds latest 10 version and use their supplied skin studio software to make a special WB theme skin,
or buy Windows Style Builder to make a theme file. From what I've read both these methods have issues along with steep learning curves just to do what could be done so easily in older Windows operating systems. For myself, I don't think it's worth all the trouble to waste money to change a few colors here and there risking incompatibility crashes/bricking of Windows 10. :(

If anything I would just use the two registry files in my first post. One that adds the blue to most windows, and the reset file to set back to default colors.

Using a different color other than white "Window" can expose flaws/annoyances in Classic Shell start menus.
Depending on how the file text and mask images were structured in the skin file, (example a 7 style .skin7),
the program's tree area and the search box will change color as well. :(

In most cases, the below text can be added to the skin file at appropriate places to override back to white color:



Author:  mipak [ Wed May 06, 2020 12:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to change the colour of all programme "Windows" GUI?

to juniper7
to funpaolo
many thanks for your replies ... i am continually amazed why computer (which also includes probably thousands of other) programmes that work extremely well ... in my case, i'm particulary thinking of XP, W7, Firefox etc. etc. ... are changed, sometimes without much warning. i don't know the reasons for this but it certainly causes problems for countless other users, myself included.
i have no idea how you managed to enable the light blue colour but well done and thank you very much.
i didn't bother going into the WindowBlinds and Windows Style Builder sites as i was happy to take your word that they both had issues.
i downloaded your Window control blue [1.39] file ... just like my W7 days ... really good.

sorry i took a while to reply to because i was away for a few days but better late than never.
thanks again.

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