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Windows 7: How to prevent a program from disabling DWM switching to basic theme

05 Apr 2019   #1

Win7 pro x64
How to prevent a program from disabling DWM switching to basic theme

I use an aero theme and want to continue to do so. But whenever I load the program lotus 1-2-3 (20 year old 32-bit program), DWM (Desktop Window Manager, part of windows aero) gets disabled as windows switches to a basic theme. Then once I exit lotus, windows switches back to aero. But I want windows to ALWAYS use aero, even when lotus is running.

I know this is possible because after lotus loads and while it is running, I just execute the command "tskill dwm" and DWM restarts which switches me back to my aero theme. So the question is how can I prevent lotus from forcing windows to switch to aero in the first place?

EDIT - Post title should be:
How to prevent a program from disabling DWM and then switching to basic theme

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2019   #2

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone

I think that this effect occurs because Windows detects that the program cannot run Areo so it changes the theme back to Basic.

I think that the only chance you have of avoiding this effect, would be to use the program in compatibility mode.

I checked the Wikipedia entry for Lotus 1-2-3, and it states that the 32-bit version was the only version made compatible with the Windows GUI. So, if you can set the compatibility mode of the application, to Windows 95. See if that works.

In compatibility mode for the application, you may need to further disable some of the Compatibility Mode settings, for it to work correctly.

At this point I must admit that I find the Windows compatibility mode a bit hit-or-miss whether it is going to run any application at all. It is frustrating therefore that you do not have the 16-bit version of Lotus 1-2-3. Because then you could run that program under DOSBOX.

There are a couple of work arounds I can think off. One, is to run the 123 program only from a batch file. The batch file wont necessarily prevent DWM from being disabled, but based on the information you provided, it could be writtent to reset the DWM immediately after 123 had been launched:
tskill dwm
The other work around would be to launch Lotus 1-2-3 from a Virtual Machine that is running Windows 95. At least then you would have contained the problem to the size of the VM.

Compatibility Mode
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Apr 2019   #3

Win7 pro x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by iko22 View Post
I think that this effect occurs because Windows detects that the program cannot run Areo so it changes the theme back to Basic.
I agree. And yet windows is wrong because I can enable aero once the program is started and all is well. So I need to find a way to avoid that initial check.

I tried every compatibility mode setting. They all result in the same behavior.

The batch file method does work, but not by using tskill dwm, as that only works if I insert a 6 second delay. So instead I have to use two lines, net stop uxsms and net start uxsms. But this is no matter, the machine locks up for a few seconds while windows switches to basic, redraws all my program windows, then switches back to aero, redrawing everything again, and of course audio and video get interrupted too. So I will probably not go this route.

I've been searching to see if its possible to FORCE windows to assume a program is aero-compatible, or to force DWM to never get turned off, or to force compatibility detection to get turned off. No luck so far but am not giving up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Apr 2019   #4

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone

1) At this point you would be advised to contact the software vendor, and ask them to make the code Aero compatible. But ofcourse, you cannot do that with this particular program/vendor.

Windows Aero runs, but turns off after starting an older application.
Some older applications may not be compatible with Windows Aero. Closing the program should restore Aero. Contact the application vendor to check whether an updated version of the software is available that supports Windows Aero.
Source: FAQs for Windows Aero | Intel

4) That is what compatibility mode does. The only other suggestion I can make is to use the EMET (Enhanced Migration Experience Toolkit) Wizard. How to Geeks

Other than that, I am out of suggestions!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to prevent a program from disabling DWM switching to basic theme

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