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[Tutorial] Creating a Windows 7 or Vista Visual Style


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#1 UK.Intel

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 08:33 AM

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How to make a Visual Style for Windows Vista


Getting Started

1. Download and Install The uxTheme Patch for Windows 7 or Windows Vista.
This will allow you to apply custom themes

2. Download and Install my Theme Template from this LINK
This will install a copy of the original aero theme and place all the required files into the correct locations with Jemaho’s Improved Shellstyle, ready for modifying.

3. Download and Install Restorator 2007 from this LINK
This is your Tool for extracting and replacing resources from within the .msstyle and shellstyle.dll

4. Download and Install Alpha Image Convertor from this LINK
This will convert your images to Alpha Aero.msstyle Compatible Images

5. Buy and Install a Paintshop Program
This will be your main Image editing software, I recommend Adobe Photoshop CS3
Or Corel PaintShop Pro XI



Naming Your Theme Files

If you have installed my Theme Template, Navigate to C:Windows\Resources\Themes.

You will need to rename the following files to the name you wish to call your theme.
I recommend you name all the files the same.

• Template.Theme
• Template Folder
• Template.msstyle (Located within the Template folder)
• Template.msstyle.mui (Located within Template folder/en-US)


Editing Your Theme File

1. Navigate to C:Windows\Resources\Themes.
2. Right Click on your Theme file and select Open with Notepad

Here you will see many changes you can make to you theme.
For Example: Cursors, Wallpaper, Title bar Text Colours, Padded Border Width (frame width)

I have Bolded only the IMPORTANT parts that you need to Edit
Display Name, Visual Style Location, Wallpaper Location

; Copyright © Microsoft Corp. 1995-2001

[Theme]
DisplayName=
Template Theme

; My Computer
[CLSID\{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}\DefaultIcon]
DefaultValue=%SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-109

; My Documents
[CLSID\{450D8FBA-AD25-11D0-98A8-0800361B1103}\DefaultIcon]
DefaultValue=%WinDir%SYSTEM32\mydocs.dll,0

; My Network Places - SHIDI_MYNETWORK
[CLSID\{208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}\DefaultIcon]
DefaultValue=%WinDir%SYSTEM32\imageres.dll,-25

; Recycle Bin
[CLSID\{645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-00AA002F954E}\DefaultIcon]
full=%SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-54
empty=%SystemRoot%\System32\imageres.dll,-55


[Control Panel\Colors]
ActiveTitle=153 180 209
Background=0 0 0
Hilight=51 153 255
HilightText=255 255 255
TitleText=0 0 0
Window=255 255 255
WindowText=0 0 0
Scrollbar=200 200 200
InactiveTitle=191 205 219
Menu=240 240 240
WindowFrame=100 100 100
MenuText=0 0 0
ActiveBorder=180 180 180
InactiveBorder=244 247 252
AppWorkspace=171 171 171
ButtonFace=240 240 240
ButtonShadow=160 160 160
GrayText=128 128 128
ButtonText=0 0 0
InactiveTitleText=67 78 84
ButtonHilight=255 255 255
ButtonDkShadow=105 105 105
ButtonLight=227 227 227
InfoText=0 0 0
InfoWindow=255 255 225
GradientActiveTitle=185 209 234
GradientInactiveTitle=215 228 242
ButtonAlternateFace=0 0 0
HotTrackingColor=0 102 204
MenuHilight=51 153 255
MenuBar=240 240 240


[Control Panel\Cursors]
Arrow=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_arrow.cur
Help=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_helpsel.cur
AppStarting=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_working.ani
Wait=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_busy.ani
NWPen=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_pen.cur
No=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_unavail.cur
SizeNS=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_ns.cur
SizeWE=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_ew.cur
Crosshair=
IBeam=
SizeNWSE=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_nwse.cur
SizeNESW=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_nesw.cur
SizeAll=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_move.cur
UpArrow=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_up.cur
DefaultValue=Windows Aero
Hand=%SystemRoot%\cursors\aero_link.cur
Link=

[Control Panel\Desktop]
Wallpaper=%SystemRoot%\resources\themes\
Template\Wallpaper.jpg
TileWallpaper=0
WallpaperStyle=2
Pattern=
ScreenSaveActive=0

[Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics]

[Metrics]
IconMetrics=76 0 0 0 75 0 0 0 75 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 244 255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 144 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 83 101 103 111 101 32 85 73 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
NonclientMetrics=84 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 19 0 0 0 19 0 0 0 244 255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 144 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 83 101 103 111 101 32 85 73 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 17 0 0 0 244 255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 144 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 83 101 103 111 101 32 85 73 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 19 0 0 0 19 0 0 0 244 255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 144 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 83 101 103 111 101 32 85 73 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 244 255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 144 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 83 101 103 111 101 32 85 73 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 244 255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 144 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 83 101 103 111 101 32 85 73 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PaddedBorderWidth=4

[boot]
SCRNSAVE.EXE=%WinDir%\System32\logon.scr


[MasterThemeSelector]
MTSM=DABJDKT
ThemeColorBPP=4


[VisualStyles]
Path=%SystemRoot%\resources\Themes\
Template\Template.msstyles
ColorStyle=NormalColor
Size=NormalSize
ColorizationColor=0X45409EFE

Now you have edited those 3 important parts, Save and Exit the file.


Creating your Style (Editing the .msstyle and shellstyle)

• Navigate to C:Windows\Resources\Themes.

Inside your themes folder right click on the .msstyle and select Open with Restorator 2007

Now you will see the contents of the .msstyle
All of the images are located in the IMAGE Folder and one is located in the STREAM Folder.
(See the Next section “Resource Locations” for a rough guide to show you what images to edit)

Extract the Individual images (or the entire image folder)
Drag and Drop to your desktop

Edit the images in your Paintshop program
If your Paintshop program does not make Alpha aero compatible images then this is when you need to use the Alpha Image convertor.
If your image is not Alpha compatible then you will notice a horrible white background when applied to your theme


Replace the Images back into the folder they came from
(e.g. .msstyle\Image) by using Restorator 2007 to drag and drop

Save the .msstyle in Restorator 2007

Apply your theme to see changes
Control Panel\Personalization\Theme Apply

Repeat the Above Process for the Shellstyle.dll
(Windows\Resources\Themes\**Your Theme Folder**\Shell\NormalColor\Shellstyle.dll)


Resource Locations

This is just a rough guide of some of the Common Images you can edit to make your style, there are Hundreds of images you can edit and most of them are used for both aero and basic.

You can also try my .msstyle Resource Finder. to help you narrow down the search to the nearest 40 images. Download LINK

KEY: Aero Basic Both

Posted Image
Image 1

Posted Image
Image 2

Posted Image
Image 3

Posted Image
Image 4

Posted Image
Image 5

Click Here to Download this tutorial (PDF)

Advanced Styling

For more advanced Styling see my other tutorials

Vista Hex-Editing - for Text colours, Margins and much more. Download LINK

Vista Font Change - for changing Font types. Download LINK

#2 idawn

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 08:41 AM

U r awesome....! :woot: :woot: This is going to be really really useful one day for me per sure

#3 ritesh

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 08:53 AM

great, great, great........
Actually i was searching for it . and you made it VERY VERY NICE

#4 M.Sudoku

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 09:57 AM

Thanks for the useful tutorial UK.Intel. :woot:

#5 darkredbbb

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 10:30 AM

Awesome tutorial man!!! I love it :D .. I used it and started my Dark Vista Theme (for Vista Basic) :woot: , but I have a couple of things left to finish it if someone here can please help me with:

- Is there any way to make the Caption Buttons in Basic more Aero-like?
- How can I change the WMP and Windows Photo Gallery Basic Background Color?

Thanks in advance :D

Edited by darkredbbb, 31 July 2007 - 02:17 PM.


#6 UK.Intel

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 05:51 PM

Thankyou all for your encouraging comments, I wish anyone who now plans to make a visual style all the best of luck,
and no matter what the outcome, i know how much effort goes into making a style

- Is there any way to make the Caption Buttons in Basic more Aero-like?
- How can I change the WMP and Windows Photo Gallery Basic Background Color?
Thanks in advance :D

Unfortunatly i do not know the answers to all your questions,
but if you see my HEX-EDITING tutorial it will explain how to change the background colour in WMP BASIC.

Good Luck :) I look forward to seeing your work

Edited by UK.Intel, 31 July 2007 - 06:04 PM.


#7 Jatin

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 12:29 AM

Thanks for sharing the tutorial UK.Intel. Keep up the great work. (Y)

#8 Caleb

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 02:26 AM

Lots of good information here. Pinned.

#9 TheGreenMan

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 08:30 AM

This guide will surely help the new skinners.

#10 darkredbbb

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 04:52 PM

Thankyou all for your encouraging comments, I wish anyone who now plans to make a visual style all the best of luck,
and no matter what the outcome, i know how much effort goes into making a style


- Is there any way to make the Caption Buttons in Basic more Aero-like?
- How can I change the WMP and Windows Photo Gallery Basic Background Color?
Thanks in advance :D

Unfortunatly i do not know the answers to all your questions,
but if you see my HEX-EDITING tutorial it will explain how to change the background colour in WMP BASIC.

Good Luck :) I look forward to seeing your work


Thanks anywayz :D

#11 SharmanNet

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 12:04 AM

Wow you rock dude! Really great visual style guide. :punk:

#12 ThunderROM

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 07:07 PM

Very helpful thread..thanks a lot.

#13 timbertide

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 11:47 AM

I've bookmarked this page. I’ll try to give it a shot.

#14 spoondude

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Posted 10 August 2007 - 04:35 AM

Hooray! But I have Windows Vista Home Basic and I have done all the Uxtheme.dll and other replacements and used VistaGlazz but I still can't use themes! The theme HilledSE is just sitting in my themes folder doing nothing because on the ppearance properties for my laptop it doesn't come up! :cry:

#15 Freka

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Posted 10 August 2007 - 10:55 AM

Very Helpful for all the new skinners out there.

#16 aliax

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Posted 20 August 2007 - 08:32 AM

How to remove Folder Band Toolbar Text shadow?
And how to align Window Titlebar Text to center?

Edited by aliax, 20 August 2007 - 11:00 AM.


#17 Fraxtil

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 12:29 AM

Just one question: How do I change the window border edges, so they aren't rounded?

#18 phoenix_abhi

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 07:31 AM

Now I hope i can also become a skinner and one day place it in this forum. :D

I was thinking to ask such a tutorial and ha.. it is here. :o


Thanx and it is pinned too :woot:

#19 Heat

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 04:53 PM

Very useful indeed, thank you for this. :)

#20 hydroman

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 05:06 PM

hey uk what happened to the blue and black theme/VS that you were going to make? did you abandon it cause its taking quite a long time.

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