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Windows 7: custom high-contrast theme no longer has borders around UI objects

24 Mar 2014   #1

Windows 7 Professional x64
custom high-contrast theme no longer has borders around UI objects


I have a custom basic (non-aero) Windows black theme that I derived / customised from one of the existing system High-Contrast themes. I can't use one of the existing high-contrast themes as I need my own colours. The standard built-in dark High-Contrast themes have white borders around all the main UI objects (see below).

custom high-contrast theme no longer has borders around UI objects-windows-system-high-contrast-theme-borderlines.jpg

In the past, when setting my own customised black theme as the current High-Contrast theme in the Window Ease of Access Centre, all the main UI objects would have borders drawn around them as the original high-contrast theme pictured above.

Unfortunately, after having to do a Windows in-place upgrade of my system to fix some problems, my custom theme no longer gets the borders drawn around the main UI objects when I set it as the current High-Contrast them in the Ease of Access Centre. See below.

custom high-contrast theme no longer has borders around UI objects-my-custom-high-contrast-theme-borderlines.jpg

The thing that didn't come out too well in the screen shot above is that the text is a specific green colour which helps me to read (I suffer from a light sensitivity condition), but the borders are all a very dull grey (I need them to be a lighter colour). There appears to be no way to set the border colour around all UI objects in the Windows Colour and Appearance dialog. I was hoping to be able to set this here to enable me to set the borders to look like the first screen shot.

I'm guessing what's happening here is that setting the colour of the borders around the main UI objects is not a user selectable option .... and when windows detects that a theme is a special high-contrast theme the operating system changes the borders itself.

I'm guessing that for some reason Windows no longer recognises my custom high-contrast theme, as a proper high-contrast theme.

It used to work before. Is there a way I can tweak the theme file or a setting in the registry to get windows to recognise my custom basic theme as a high-contrast theme again? - and draw borders around the UI objects again?

I'd prefer not to have to create my theme from scratch from one of the existing high contrast ones all over again.

(sorry if this is too detailed and verbose - I found it difficult to explain more simply)

Thanks in advance


My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Mar 2014   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro x64 / Win 10 Pro

Welcome to the Seven Forums Glen

Zip up your custom theme and post it here and I will look at it and see what can be done.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Sep 2014   #3

Windows 7 Professional x64

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for your offer of help. Sorry that I didn't reply and left this thread hanging.
I changed some of the applications I use and used an alternative solution.

But now at a new employer, I need to get this sorted out. Any input would be really fantastic :)

All I really need is some way to force windows 7 to recognise my dark background custom theme as a system recognised high contrast theme. My dark background theme was originally derived from one of the Windows 7 system high contrast themes, but when I select it as a high contrast theme in the Ease of Access centre Windows still uses one of the horrible built in High Contrast themes when I press the high contrast key combo (to put the operating system into High Contrast mode).

I would like to get Windows to use my custom theme when switched to high contrast mode. Various applications like Office 2007, Open Office/Libre Office, etc., detect high contrast mode and change to high contrast icons and various other things. As mentioned above, setting my own theme as the high contrast one to use in the Ease of Access centre has no effect.

I have attached the theme file.

Any help most appreciated. Thanks in advance
My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 Sep 2014   #4
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

Jerry has been away for quite some time with medical issues (far to long). No idea when he will be back. Unfortunately he was our expert, and I don't think we have another. Just letting you know so you don't expect a quick reply. The folks at Virtual Customs may have some suggestions for you, although this isn't their usual thing, they do write custom themes. A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2014   #5

Windows 7 Professional x64

Thanks for letting me know A Guy. Sorry to hear about Jerry - hope he gets better soon.

If anyone else out there has any input on this issue, I'd be really grateful - thanks in advance.

I'm basically wanting Windows 7 to recognise my custom black theme as a system high contrast theme (as specified above, it was derived from one of the original Windows system high contrast themes, but Windows ignores it when I set it as a high-contrast theme in the Ease of Access centre). This used to work - but no longer. There must be some tweak I can make to the theme or registry setting in Windows to force the OS to recognise this again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 custom high-contrast theme no longer has borders around UI objects

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