Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Special Themes (AeroLite and High Contrast variations)

  1. #1


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64

    Special Themes (AeroLite and High Contrast variations)


    Thread related to 'Special Themes' on Windows 8.
    AeroLite and High Contrast variations, something we don't have enabled by default.

    Those who know *.theme editing know that themes exported in XP Vista and 7 work on Win8 as well. these are classic themes that on Win8 are found as High Contrast themes.

    information   Information
    Default themes (Aero) and standard AeroLite ones don't allow as many changes and customizations to text and colors as the High-Contrast based ones. Some items are not changeable at all by using default/standard themes.

    High-Contrast themes affect the browser webpages content as well, keep in mind that sites will not look as originally intended and all color schemes will use the high-contrast look currently applied on the system.


    Note   Note
    The themes I post here don't need patching of system files. The objective is to use the OS built-in AeroLite and High Contrast modes to create some nice (as possible) effects and themes. So this themes should run on any Windows 8/8.1 machine, just double-click and apply.


    We don't always need High Contrast but based on those settings we can make newer interesting themes as well.

    Links with extra info about editing the theme files:
    Windows 8 Desktop UI - Change Title Text Color?
    Change taskbar opacity
    Desktop icons not lining up with right side of screen.

    More info about the high-contrast mode in Windows 8:
    High-contrast mode (Windows)

    Those who look for custom cursors:
    Custom Cursors


    To begin, here is a theme based on high contrast black but it uses gray instead. Also there's no white background(s). The theme has been tested and uses enhancements (metrics and color specs) found in XP classic themes:

    hc-midnight-v033
    Click image for larger version

    This is good for multimedia apps where we need to concentrate on some 3D, video editing programs, see dark GIMP, Photoshop, Blender style and where white colors would get in the way.

    Note:
    Browsers also look darker since the colors apply.
    Firefox and affiliates look classic but a fix has been applied to integrate the looks better (color issue: fixed thanks to XP-exported metrics).

    To use:
    Extract the zip and double-click/apply the theme file.
    Special Themes (AeroLite and High Contrast variations) Attached Files
    Last edited by Hopachi; 29 Nov 2013 at 18:40. Reason: fixed some text, added info link

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    A simple one:

    AeroLite
    Basically this is the lighter version of Aero with no transparency at all.

    Click image for larger version

    Works just as the default theme but the clock and close buttons are black.
    As you can see in calculator, Aero elements are still being used hence the name AeroLite.

    You can use automatic color and change wallpapers.
    Special Themes (AeroLite and High Contrast variations) Attached Files
    Last edited by Hopachi; 22 May 2013 at 13:26.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    information   Information

    Theme Color and Appearance Info

    If you access the color and appearance menu from Aero or AeroLite themes you will get the following options:
    Click image for larger version
    Automatic and static colors are available.

    If you access the color and appearance menu from High-Contrast-based themes you will get the following options:
    Click image for larger version
    Looks interesting since those options are selectable and we can change them.
    Kind of a reminder to the classic options back in older Windows versions.


    Tutorial link:
    Window Color and Appearance - Change in Windows 8
    Last edited by Hopachi; 24 May 2013 at 18:02. Reason: added tutorial link
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    Two variations on the first high contrast midnight theme follow:

    hc-midnight-gold
    Click image for larger version

    hc-midnight-blue
    Click image for larger version

    These are selected examples from a broad range of possibilities.
    You can make variations yourself if you know the right parameters and color combinations*.

    * by editing a theme file in Notepad for instance.

    EDIT: themes updated.

    In addition, some matching cursors:
    Custom Cursors
    Special Themes (AeroLite and High Contrast variations) Attached Files
    Last edited by Hopachi; 25 May 2013 at 12:12. Reason: themes updated
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    How do we use a normal Aero theme and Hi-Contrast at the same time?

    A hybrid theme would have to be used.
    If seems the Aero elements are not changeble and will remain white
    As for the other elements that can still be changed go to black-white (hi-contrast).
    So the solution is not perfect in this case but the theme is usable.

    hybrid-aero-hc
    Click image for larger version
    Screenshot says it all.

    The same works with AeroLite as well.
    Special Themes (AeroLite and High Contrast variations) Attached Files
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    Win7 Standard

    If you export a Win7 Basic theme after you stop DWM (this is just to see it classic, stopping DWM doesn't affect the exported file) you get the classic version with all original colors in it and all color settings.
    Apply that to Win8 and you got yourself a Win7-basic-colored theme.

    Click image for larger version

    As I mentioned in first post, *.theme files from XP and other (older) versions of Windows work as well but then only the settings that define the colors and elements: the entire theme from those versions will not work (already tried to apply XP theme on 8...). Apply classic themes from Win7 and they do work.
    Special Themes (AeroLite and High Contrast variations) Attached Files
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    Extra *.theme info

    Here is an official link with info about the theme file format:
    Theme File Format (Windows)

    Yep, that's how I did it as well.

    Now some serious stuff:
    How do we change the fonts?
    How to Change the Default Fonts in Windows 8 | HowTech
    That's all I know about this... I do recommend the defaults since the fonts are designed for LCD screens but anyway give this a go if you really need so try other fonts.

    Click image for larger version

    Backup the entries first. Just in case you need to revert.
    information   Information
    Making backups of those 2 registry entries (right click -> export) and making extra reg files with other fonts would be better: each time we want to change the font we apply the required reg file. We can even revert to defaults if we apply the default (from backup) reg file.


    Font selection is... very basic compared to previous Windowses... but at least we can do something.
    Once upon a time, I remember we could specify the Title, Menu, Icons... all with a diferent type of font but now things got simplified (simplified doesn't mean easier). What it's improved is the new polished classic look, since those themes look pretty nice now (check the high contrast themes and some releases in this thread as well).

    The WindowMetrics (How to Access “Advanced Appearance Settings” Option and Change Font Size, Color in Windows 8? - Tweaking with Vishal) can be included in the *.theme file so we don't have to poke for settings in the registry. Notice (in first link code) an empty line without any following parameters:
    Code:
    [Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics]
    This line can be added to our theme(s) and with extra parameters as well.
    See the path it describes: that's exactly what that's called under the registry as well so those entries can be copied from the registry to the desired theme and changed there.

    Cheers
    Hopachi
    Last edited by Hopachi; 23 May 2013 at 17:20.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    hc-midnight-green
    Click image for larger version

    This one was good to add to the series.
    Extract and double-click to install.

    EDIT: theme updated.

    Matching cursors are found here:
    Custom Cursors

    Special Themes (AeroLite and High Contrast variations) Attached Files
    Last edited by Hopachi; 25 May 2013 at 12:13. Reason: theme updated
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Orbiting the Moon
    Posts : 2,975
    Windows 10 x64


    Updates to the hc-midnight-* themes:
    The zips in the respective theme posts here above have been changed.

    the versions fixed:
    -gold
    -blue
    (link above)

    -green
    (link above)

    *The first theme called v033 is NOT affected by this.

    FIXES:
    -changed the MenuHilight color (has been set to something darker) that was equal to MenuText color (fixes Firefox-based browsers classic menu hilight text because the hilighted text was not visible). The rest of programs that use the same (old) look are also fixed now.

    Those who use (one of) this (3) themes and by chance also Firefox, Waterfox or Pale Moon should apply the new themes.

    The rest of color elements are OK.

    Sorry guys. It was just a minor issue but those themes are final now.

    Cheers
    Hopachi
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Wow, I do like this!!

    Can I request a custom order?

    I'm looking for something like the midnight theme, except BLACK BLACK everywhere. Kind of almost like the black high contrast theme, but in red window outlining. Just black through and through, white text, red window outline.


    Interesting stuff I find.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Special Themes (AeroLite and High Contrast variations)
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