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Windows 7: Title bar colour gradient in Windows Classic

12 Nov 2009   #1
Philip Goddard

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
Title bar colour gradient in Windows Classic

My main consideration in choosing the appearance of my desktop and windows thereon is clarity, ease of reading any text, and distinguishing between windows at a glance, and also keeping performance to a maximum. To this end, having tried various Aero themes, although I did like the rounded corners of windows, for the sake of clarity I abandoned Aero for my own customized Windows Classic appearance. Not flashy but at least clearer for me than any of the other themes.

Okay, so far, so good. When I installed Win7 I quickly reverted to Windows Classic, and chose for the active window title bar colours dark green as Color 1 and a lightish blue for Color 2 (with yellow text), so there was a gradient from green to blue along the title bar. I'm not bothered about whether anyone else likes that - it's served me well for the best combination of clarity and agreeableness through various Windows versions.

Yesterday I followed a tip from a magazine and ran the Win7 screen colour calibration facility. After I'd run that I noticed that all my active windows had just the dark green and no gradient. When I went into the Personalize facility to change that back, I found that Color 2 was greyed out, so that I could not set it again.

I know this is a silly little point, but actually the gradient did make the active windows look less severe and 'blocky', and I'd like to restore my ability to set the second colour. Reverting to Aero is no option as far as I'm concerned, for to me multiple windows look to me extremely confusing in Aero, and some taskbar text is difficult to read, no matter what colour / lightness settings one uses.

Somehow I doubt whether my calibrating the screen colours had anything to do with the little problem I've run into; I assume it must be just coincidence. I did, however, recently switch to manual a few supposedly non-essential services, and just possibly the change occurred then but I didn't notice it till after I'd done that screen colours calibration.

Any nice person have an idea as to how I can re-enable the setting of Color 2 for the active window title bar? - Many thanks!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2009   #2


Try switching themes back to Windows Classic.
I know there is a registry entry that needs changing in order to make the gradient colour solid, but can't remember where that is.
Also try restarting the Themes service...
Hope it helps
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2009   #3
Philip Goddard

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

I had indeed tried reverting to the default Windows Classic theme (i.e. rather than my customized version of it), but the problem persists. When I go to 'Window color' and go to set the active window title bar colour, Color 2 is greyed out and so I'm stuck with a solid colour for the title bar. The Themes service was actually running anyway, and restarting that makes no difference.

Certainly, if there is a registry hack for this I'd really like to know. So far an internet search hasn't turned up anything useful for me on this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 Nov 2009   #4


OK here's something that should work:
Download TuneUp Utilities 2010 and install it (you have a 30-day trial)
In the "Customize Windows" section, click on "Animations and effects"
In the Effects tab, make sure the "Show color shading in title bar" is ticked. (If it is already ticked, untick, Apply, then tick and Apply again).
Hopefully this will solve your problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2009   #5
Philip Goddard

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Thanks indeed for that suggestion. I was a TU user under Vista, and had already tried TU 2010 in Win7 and dismissed it because it took my system over too much, insisting on remaining resident in memory - something that was unacceptable to me. I'd still got the downloaded installation package, however, and reinstalled it. Just as you say, the measure that you suggested has fixed it.

However, because of TU being just too pushy about being resident and managing my system for me, my intention is to clear it out again despite its good features, and so there is still the question as to what measure I can take to fix the problem should it recur - without having to install a whole suite like that just for the purpose. I notice that the Windows Advanced System Settings > Advanced > Performance > Settings > Visual Effects (where I'd expect to find the particular setting) doesn't list it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2009   #6


I also have the TuneUp App and Service resident all the time but it does not take any system resources in Windows 7 when I'm not using it. (Its meant to be a system "optimizer" and I think perhaps they've finally cracked it)
Still I suppose in your case hunting down those registry entries responsible is what you prefer to do, so good luck!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2012   #7

Windows XP Professional 32bit

In case the previous advice didn't work here is what worked for me. In the registry go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop then delete the binary value called "UserPreferencesMask". Reboot. You will have some prefences that you will have to readjust. If you have another profile on the PC that is not messed you may simply change your binary to match the working profile. Incidently my problem started with a mistake in Auslogic's "BoostSpeed" (System Tweaks>User Interface>Visual Effects) and I checked the value "Display gradient window caption". I have verified that this check mark in fact removes the second color in both the "Active and Inactive" Titlebars.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Title bar colour gradient in Windows Classic

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