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Windows 7: Solved - active and inactive windows too similar in Aero


10 Nov 2010   #1

Windows 7 64bit
 
 
Solved - active and inactive windows too similar in Aero

Hi all

This has taken a lot of research, effort and trial and error, but here it is.

This aero.msstyles file (attached) retains all the transparency and style of original aero, except it is more obvious which window / taskbar button is active.

I like the aero theme, but I was always checking twice to see which window is active. The contrast between active and inactive windows and taskbar buttons was just too small.

To solve this I applied the following:
  • Active taskbar button appears indented like in classic themes and slightly darker (blue tint).
  • Active window is slightly darker (blue tint) and has a red notch on the top-left, similar to the red close button on the top-right.
  • On the window preview pane (when you hover your mouse over a taskbar button) the active window in the group appears indented, and slightly darker (blue tint).
The blue tint works well with all the standard aero theme colours. The notch is really growing on me, as it is a nice target for click-drag resizing, and it serves to demarcate the top-left corner of the top-left, clickable icon-region.

The changes are minimal, but make all the difference to your intuitions when you glance at your windows.

The attached files are just for the 64bit editions of Windows 7. I don't know if they are different for 32 bit or for vista, but if someone wants to send me an original file to patch, that's fine.

Hope this helps someone!






Attached Files
File Type: zip aero.msstyles.zip (1.61 MB, 421 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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24 Feb 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hi all. I know this is very old but it is exactly what I am looking for.

I have changed ownership of files and directly replaced the aero.msstyles file with this one. However, it just reverts my taskbar to classic theme. Can anyone verify that this file does work, and if so, what am I doing wrong?

Thanks in advance
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro x64 / Win 8.1 Pro
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Glutton View Post
Hi all. I know this is very old but it is exactly what I am looking for.

I have changed ownership of files and directly replaced the aero.msstyles file with this one. However, it just reverts my taskbar to classic theme. Can anyone verify that this file does work, and if so, what am I doing wrong?

Thanks in advance
Yes they work but you have to rename (Delete some text).
If this is what they look like in large or medium icon view, like two pieces of paper.
Solved - active and inactive windows too similar in Aero-aero.msstyles.png

You need to right-click on one then click on Rename and removes the text until all you have is aero.msstyles
Solved - active and inactive windows too similar in Aero-aero.msstyles2.png

Then the image should change and look like this.
Solved - active and inactive windows too similar in Aero-aero.msstyles3.png

Then make sure you switch to Windows Classic theme then log off and log on and then change the aero.msstyles and then it should work for you, be sure to keep a copy of the original aero.msstyles in case you ever want to go back.
If this does not work let me know you may have to do something else.
Jerry


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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25 Feb 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thanks a bunch Bongo. I was doing everything except restarting.

So it ends up working, but the active window color is stuck on blue. I can't get it to change to the colors I want. All I wanted this theme for was to get the more noticable active icon on the taskbar. I like it being indented and darkened instead of highlighted.

Is there a better way to go about doing that?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2012   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro x64 / Win 8.1 Pro
 
 

Let me look at it a little more and I will get back to you in a little bit.
Jerry
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2012   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2012   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro x64 / Win 8.1 Pro
 
 

After looking at it again I have found that the maker of this colored that active and inactive top frame that is why you cannot change that color. I also looked at what they did to the taskbar buttons.
I cannot change this person's work it would not be fair to them but I could start with a fresh copy of the aero.msstyles make the changes for you, using Windows Style Builder and post it here in a zip folder.
&
This will be a custom theme and you will need to do 1 of these 2 ways of Enabling custom themes for it to work.
Enabling Custom Themes - Windows 7
Or
Theme - How to Apply Custom Themes
I can flatten the buttons and leave everything else as the default Aero theme and then you can change the colors of the frame as you normally would. If this is something you would like done all I need is a name to call the theme.
Let me know.
Jerry
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thank you so much for going out of your way for me.

All I want changed is to be able to identify the active window easier. I would like it to act in the manner that Vista did.

The first picture is how it looks now, and the second picture is one of a Vista taskbar.I would like it to look indented and much darker than the rest of the windows showing in the taskbar, similar to Vista. Is this possible?


Attached Images
  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2012   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro x64 / Win 8.1 Pro
 
 

I have some company coming over in just a little bit but give me a couple hours and I'm pretty sure I can come pretty close to that, even though I am not an artist .
While I am doing that try to think of a name for it or I will just call it Glutton. and follow one of those two tutorials while you are waiting to.
Let me know
Jerry
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I ran the patcher and should be ready for the custom theme. The name glutton will do just fine.

Thanks again
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Solved - active and inactive windows too similar in Aero




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