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Windows 7: Start menu background

13 Mar 2010   #11

Windows 7

Here is a link for that thread.. It took me forever to figure out why it would work to change it only until I went to log on again. However I did figure it out and just forgot to post an update on here. I like Style Builder a lot better just because it seems a lot easier to navigate around, but I don't know which one changes the All Programs background. I changed the All Programs Expanded picture and it didn't change that one..

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2010   #12

Windows 7 x64


How on earth were you able to do it? HELP... I want to customize (background image) of the start menu but no luck...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Oct 2010   #13
Benjamin Hall

Windows 7 Ultimate x86

It's pretty simple.. BUT, always bear in mind that the image file number varies from theme to theme. I tried doing it with standard aero to no avail. That's why I started editing my own theme... but here is what I came up with when I changed mine up.

make sure you're using Restorator 2009, though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Oct 2010   #14

Windows 7 x64

I can't apply to the aero (standard theme from W7)? Could you walk me thru Restorator steps? (sorry little dumb here)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2010   #15
Benjamin Hall

Windows 7 Ultimate x86

First (if you haven't already) make a copy of the Aero.msstyles file on your desktop.

Open it with Restorator
Go to the IMAGE folder

files 809, 811, 812, and 815 are the ones for the standard aero theme (remember these vary from theme to theme)

You may have to do some editing and stretch out the image if you really want to put your own picture in there...

BUT MAKE SURE it is the same size as what you see in the Start menu.. any bigger will cause an error, any smaller will stretch the picture. Don't take it lightly... if you make it to big, you can strain your hardware. Happened to me a couple times. -_-

But yeah, there you go :)

OH and then take control of the aero.msstyles file in c:\windows\resources\themes\ (may be in another subfolder, too lazy to check right now)
then delete the file and replace it with the new one. Some tutorials say to reboot.. as long as you switch themes and switch back, you should be fine. Otherwise, reboot and the effect should be there.

BUT, what you do to edit the image: you right click on it and export it as a png to a new folder on your desktop.. you then open the png and edit it to your liking, and save it as a png.
Now, right click on the image file inside your aero.msstyles in restorator, and choose "Assign To..." and assign it to that file.

Then go File > Save and you should be set...

Any other questions just let me know :)

MILD DISCLAIMER: I am exhausted and less than 10% conscious right now, no joke, I have been up for nearly 24 hours doing a lot of busy stuff, and I am literally on the verge of just passing out uncontrollably... so, if these instructions seem strange or vague, let me know, and when I'm more awake, I will redo them for you :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2010   #16

Windows 7 x64

Finally, there are some great people out there like you. Thanks. Now I'm getting some lead way ... before wandering out on my own few quick questions.

1) How do you take "control" of aero.msstyles ? I tried to log in as Super User and can't still delete (or replace) the darn thing?

2) I read some where in some thread, that mention that I need to use Universal Theme Patcher before I can manipulate my own theme and download free theme from internet? Is that true?

3) From your suggestion (for standard aero image #812 (because it has white color)... it seems like the file that I need to edit for my "start menu" (again not orb) image background. However, this image resolution is only 27 x 342. That is too small, only 27 pix, to add picture isn't? I guess #809 is for right border, and #811 for divider, and #815 is for left border.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Oct 2010   #17
Benjamin Hall

Windows 7 Ultimate x86

1) Are you the system administrator? You need administrative rights to do anything.

2) here is a useful tool for taking control, otherwise it's a long nasty process to take ownership of a file.

GO HERE. Download the tool, the link is toward the the bottom of the page. It's a zip file. Unzip it, double click the reg file to add "take ownership" to your right-click menu, and you're good to go.

3) you still have make a COPY of your aero.msstyles file on your desktop (i'd recommend in a new folder on your desktop for organizational purposes) and edit the copy.
Then, to replace the original, you have to switch themes, delete the original aero.msstyles file, and place the edited version back in there. NOTE: back up the original file, name it aero.msstyles.original just in case...
also, create a system restore point before you do ANYTHING at all. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #18

Windows 7 x64

Thank you Benjamin Hall... You Rock.

I was able to create my own theme by modifying other's existing simple theme.

To recap as a basic tutorial for future newbie who happens to fumble into my own steps.

This little instruction will guide ya to create your own little simple theme.
This tutorial to change Start Menu image background for Windows 7.
1) Read this thread to get familarize:
Theme - Customize custom themes
2) Download the following programs: If any link is broken, use Google to search for it.
- Restorator 2009 (This will allow you to edit windows aero.msstyles or other Windows Resources).
Here is the link: ** ILLEGAL LINK REMOVED **

- Dark7Mix Theme (Existence theme that allow you to modify or create your own) by adrianodj25.
Here is the link:

- Universal Theme Patcher (allow 3rd party theme to be installed on Windows)
Here is the link: Universal Theme Patcher for Windows 7 - Universal theme patcher - Windows 7 Download

- "Takeownership.reg" (allow you to take ownership of file ... for deleting file that is accessing by Windows or some administrator).
Here is the link:

- W7FBC (This allow you to change folder background image)... optional
Here is the link: W7FBC - Download from -

- W7LBC (This allow you to change Windows 7 Logon background) ... optional
Here is the link: Windows 7 Logon Background Changer Software Informer: version 1.3 information

- W7SBC (This allow you to change Windows 7 Start Button ... Start Menu Orb)... optional
Here is the link: W7SBC.rar


3) Extract the Dark7Mix and install it. It will be under C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\Dark7Mix

3a) Extract and install Restorator 2009

4) Duplicate the Dark7Mix.msstyles and paste it on to the desktop.

5) Right hand click on the dark7mix.msstyles and open it Restorator 2009

6) Open the "Image" folder of dark7mix thru Restorator.

7) Scroll down to 872.png (don't ask me what the devil is 872.png and why not some understanable English file name). It is a way MS referring to its resources. Searching internet, you will see something like image#817 or some weird number.

8) Right-hand on the file and "Extract ..." / "Extract as" / "Extract as ..." then point and save it onto your desktop as PNG file

9) Now use your favorite paint program to import/modify/edit the 872.PNG file with any picture /color or what so ever. Just don't change the resolution of the file. And save it as same name as 872.PNG

10) With Restorator 2009 is still open, right-hand click on 872.PNG and "Assign..." / "Assign to ..." now import the new 872.PNG that you just created. This will replace the dark7mix 872.PNG with the new one.

11) Save the Dark7Mix.msstyles file ... exit Restorator.

12) Extract and run the Universal Theme Patcher (you might neet to "Run as Administrator" by right hand click on the file)... Yes, "Patch" all 3 items that are listed in the Universal Theme Patcher

13) Run the takeownership.reg (by double-click on it). If it doesn't run... then "Run as Administrator" by right-hand click on the and choose "Run as Administrator"

14) Now "Personalize" your desktop (by right hand click on your desktop)... choose any different theme other than Dark7Mix. (it will free Dark7Mix from being open)

15) Go to C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\Dark7Mix and right hand click on Dark7Mix and chose "Take Ownership" and delete the file.

16) Next copy the modified Dark7Mix from your desktop to the deleted dark7mix.msstyles

17) Now "Personalize" your desktop again with the new dark7mix.msstyles ...

18) Viola! you done

19) Now you can change your wallpaper, font color, etc thru normal windows.
Remember Step 1 earlier? and those weird number for taskbar, scrollbar.... you could still use Restorator to "modify those babies enhance your theme"
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #19
Benjamin Hall

Windows 7 Ultimate x86

WELL DONE! *applauds* And very detailed instructions for future attempts as well!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Sep 2012   #20

7 Pro

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by noguyin View Post
However, this image resolution is only 27 x 342. That is too small, only 27 pix, to add picture isn't?

You're absolutely right if I was adding a picture using Photoshop my picture gets extremely distorted when I transform it to fit the BMP's resolution. The background picture ends up looking like a gradient.

It seems that this is only effective for changing the color of the menu not for adding custom pictures.

Unless I am overlooking something... If anyone has a better method of getting a picture to look like JacobAndrew let us know!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Start menu background

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