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Windows 7: Is there an Aero High Contrast Theme available?

21 Aug 2014   #1

Windows 7 32 bit
Is there an Aero High Contrast Theme available?

Hello all, long time reader, first time poster. Have found much valuable information on this forum. But this one eludes me.

Simply, I would like a High Contrast Theme for Windows 7 and retain the Aero features and that does not require the Classic theme foundation. Can anyone provide a source to download a good theme? Free would be a bonus, but I would pay for something that did the job.

I have read elsewhere in some forum posts that Aero provides fewer customization options than Classic, and requires work-around programming to achieve certain results. I would also be interested in a good tutorial on the subject.

Additional information, optional, for discussion:
My vision has gotten to the point where white backgrounds are blinding, and even full black text is very difficult to read. This started happening right about the time where the trend with websites was to use both dark and light grey color text over white backgrounds. Just my luck. What works best for me is the color inversion style.

For the most part, the built in HC theme in W7 works well, but even that could use improvement. I understand there's only so much the OS can do and the rest depends on the way various desktop applications, browsers and websites are built. It an be frustrating at times. For example, with Chrome, I do use a HC extension that has several options I can apply to specific sites. But some sites are programmed to not respond to the extension - one being Google itself. The homepage and search results work fine, but most of the other google pages, like Chrome settings, and even Gmail don't.

Still, I would expect desktop applications to be more consistent. In some, the menu bar drop downs show just a white background, and may show the text on rollover if I'm lucky. Then there are images, both in apps and on the web. I don't know why these themes can't ignore the images and leave them as is, but they attempt to invert the colors in the images.

I guess I shouldn't complain too much. Accessibility has come a long way since the early days, and before I had problems I didn't think too much about it myself as a web developer. I'm not sure if Windows 8 provides more options in this area, but I'd rather stick with 7 for now.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Aug 2014   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, Mac OS X 10.10, Linux Mint 17, Windows 10 Pro TP

Might check some of these pages:

There is a High Contrast theme in the Personalize item on the right-click of the Desktop but I don't care for black and purple colors, appear to be a hold-over from Windows 3.x. In the My Themes there's a link to get more from the 'net, or just click here:
Themes - Microsoft Windows
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Aug 2014   #3
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

Welcome to Seven Forums lonwinters. You want a custom theme, and a dark(ish) one. Have a look at the ones listed on this site. You need to patch your system for custom themes (relatively easy).

30 Best Dark Custom Windows 7 Themes

Theme - How to Apply Custom Themes

Enabling Custom Themes - Windows 7

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Dec 2014   #4

Windows 7 32 bit

My sincerest apologies to those of you who responded to my question and the community as a whole. I am sorry for not acknowledging your responses when you took the time out to help me. It's always been one of my pet peeves when searching to information, finding a similar question with helpful answers, then the OP never responds back - leaving us hanging. And here I go doing the same thing! 128 days.

I will research the links provided and report back. This is one of those issues that affect only a small portion of the user base, but it's important to those who are affected. It's also something that's likely to become more and more of an issue as the population ages. We will be seeing the need for better accessibility features within the OS and applications, all platforms and programs. Font size is usually the first thing that comes to mind, but contrast is often overlooked. The condition I have is related to age related macular degeneration that affects night and peripheral vision. Even my own eye doctor doesn't even seem to get it - similar shades of different colors just blend in together. White backgrounds - especially on larger monitors where there's a lot of whitespace are just overpowering and the glare washes out the content.

I've evaluated the various browsers over several months. Chrome has a plug in which, sad to say, typical Google - convoluted rationale. First of all, many of the Google pages simply ignore the plug-in. Such as the various Chrome settings pages. Gmail is just a mess. The options for the plugin offer what no other browser does. It allows you to choose several types of high-contrast variations and remembers that setting for each website. There, the issue on how well the plug in works depends on the site, and I've not idea what governs that.

IE and Firefox both follow Windows - if Windows is set to a HC theme, those browsers just follow along. No other options that I can see. Safari, not sure at this point. In general for HC, I prefer Firefox - everything is just easier to read - except for one very important element - hyperlinks! Black background - good, yellowish text - good, dark blue links - bad.


So I'm spreading the word wherever I go. I'm a developer myself, and there's an opportunity for developers to create sites, OS patches, apps - you name it - with overall accessibility features. Yes, we're still a few years away until this becomes more noticeable and needed. But it's never too soon to start. I just turned 55 and I computer skills are not typical of those my age - we didn't grow up with computers, but I was into gadgets and electronics. When I was 20 I had the Radio Shack TRS 80 with the modem with phone cradle (yeah like War Games). Anyway, the next generation, as they turn 50 are those who came up on arcade games and many become computer savvy in the workplace. After that, computers were normal household devices.

Voice control and text-to-speech will be a part of it all, but it's hard at this time to predict what the need will be for screens. Yes, for the near future at least and photos and videos won't be going anywhere soon.

Getting back to more current issues. I don't know about Windows 8, but Win 7 requires a Classic Theme as a base in order to use a high contrast theme. I am not a Windows programmer, but this suggests to me that the OS plays an important role in color themes and how the windows are rendered. I liked the Aero visual effects and I would guess that MS could write the OS to provide HC together with Aero. This has to happen, IE needs to be updated to provide options like Chrome. Plus, the W3C needs to upgrade the web standards to include color themes and combinations that can be reversed out

Last thing that comes to mind - with reversed out colors - this also affects images. I don't understand why these browser settings or extensions simply can't ignore images!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Is there an Aero High Contrast Theme available?

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