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Special Themes (AeroLite and High Contrast variations)


Hopachi

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#1
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:
http://www.eightforums.com/customiz...-ui-change-title-text-color-4.html#post152178
http://www.eightforums.com/customization/13957-change-taskbar-opacity.html#post148419
http://www.eightforums.com/customiz...t-lining-up-right-side-screen.html#post221110

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

Those who look for custom cursors:
http://www.eightforums.com/customization/9827-custom-cursors.html


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
hc-midnight-v033.png

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.
 

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Hopachi

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#2
A simple one:

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

aerolite.png

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.
 

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Hopachi

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#3
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:
appearance-aerolite.png
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:
appearance-hc.png
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:
http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/6479-window-color-appearance-change-windows-8-a.html
 
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Hopachi

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#4
Two variations on the first high contrast midnight theme follow:

hc-midnight-gold
hc-midnight-gold.png

hc-midnight-blue
hc-midnight-blue.png

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:
http://www.eightforums.com/customization/9827-custom-cursors-7.html#post236325
 

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    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
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Hopachi

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#5
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
hybrid-aero-hc.png
Screenshot says it all.

The same works with AeroLite as well.
 

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Hopachi

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#6
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.

win7-standard.png

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. :thumb:
 

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Hopachi

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#7
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.

03.jpg

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). :D 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:
[COLOR=#000000][FONT=Consolas][Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics][/FONT][/COLOR]
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
 
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Hopachi

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#8

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Hopachi

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#9
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
 

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Coke Robot

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#10
Wow, I do like this!! :thumb: :cool:

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.
 

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Hopachi

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#11
Wow, I do like this!! :thumb: :cool:
Coke Robot said:
Interesting stuff I find.
Thanks.

Coke Robot said:
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.
Here it is: hc-black-red-outline

There were like 30 test versions until I liked it! Had to clean the themes list...

preview final look:
hc-black-red-outline.png

The two entries below control a lot of UI elements so in this case they were set to white:
Code:
[Control Panel\Colors]

;close minimize maximize from windows as well + right click menu 
;and explorer menu + menu button hilight outline + taskbar outline:
ButtonText=255 255 255


;control panel personalization options color (to the left) + hilights on taskbar buttons:
HotTrackingColor=255 255 255
If you have any other modifications to this theme in mind, you can always give it a go in Notepad... I've commented some important entries in text so that shouldn't be a problem.

Cheers!
 

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System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
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    HP Envy DV6 7250
    CPU
    Intel i7-3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
    Sound Card
    IDT HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6' built-in + Samsung S22D300 + 17.3' LG Phillips
    Screen Resolution
    multiple resolutions
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 250GB + Hitachi HDD 750GB
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Coke Robot

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#12
Wow, I do like this!! :thumb: :cool:
Coke Robot said:
Interesting stuff I find.
Thanks.

Coke Robot said:
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.
Here it is: hc-black-red-outline

There were like 30 test versions until I liked it! Had to clean the themes list...

preview final look:
View attachment 22362

The two entries below control a lot of UI elements so in this case they were set to white:
Code:
[Control Panel\Colors]

;close minimize maximize from windows as well + right click menu 
;and explorer menu + menu button hilight outline + taskbar outline:
ButtonText=255 255 255


;control panel personalization options color (to the left) + hilights on taskbar buttons:
HotTrackingColor=255 255 255
If you have any other modifications to this theme in mind, you can always give it a go in Notepad... I've commented some important entries in text so that shouldn't be a problem.

Cheers!
You sir are a god. :shock:

Freaking awesome! :thumbsup:

Although I'm wondering if the white lines around the File Explorer Ribbon groups, the breadcrumb navigation bar and the search bar can be changed to black.

Just whoa! :what:
 

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    ASUS R9 270
    Screen Resolution
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    x2 3 TB Toshibas
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Coke Robot

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#13
Definitely like how you don't need to modify .dll files with the themes! It actually makes Office 2013 show up black as well where with the regular high contrast, it wouldn't.

I'm going to be a stickler, but is there anyway in which the high contrast themes not apply to Interwebster Explorer and/or the Start Screen?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro
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    PC/Desktop
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    ASUS
    CPU
    AMD FX 8320
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    Crosshair V Formula-Z
    Memory
    16 gig DDR3
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS R9 270
    Screen Resolution
    1440x900
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Seagate Barracuda (starting to hate Seagate)
    x2 3 TB Toshibas
    Windows 8.1 is installed on a SanDisk Ultra Plus 256 GB
    PSU
    OCZ 500 watt
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    A current work in progres as I'll be building the physical case myself. It shall be fantastic.
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    Arctic Cooler with 3 heatpipes
    Keyboard
    Logitech K750 wireless solar powered keyboard
    Mouse
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    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender, but I might go back on KIS 2014

Hopachi

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#14
You sir are a god. :shock:

Freaking awesome! :thumbsup:

Although I'm wondering if the white lines around the File Explorer Ribbon groups, the breadcrumb navigation bar and the search bar can be changed to black.

Just whoa! :what:
Thank you. :):eek:

The lines around explorer ribbon groups are made black. That's the good news.

before:
before.png

after:
after.png

Notice: all inactive buttons, even those pinned in top-left corner are invisible now. Not bad, since those were inactive.

Ribbon lines here:
Code:
ButtonShadow=0 0 0 ;explorer menu lines

The bad news is that the breadcrumbs navigation lines and the search bar are actually WindowText (the one you see mostly everywhere, in browsers, on desktop and when you type in notepads).

Code:
WindowText=224 224 224 
;explorer breadcrumbs + search bar outline as well
Making that one black and the theme is toasted: you cannot see a thing.
So there is no solution in making that one black unless the backgrounds become white again but then we would be starting from the beginning again.

Anyway, I like how the ribbon group lines and inactive buttons are black now so that modified version is posted in zip.

Cheers!
 

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    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
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Hopachi

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#15
I'm going to be a stickler, but is there anyway in which the high contrast themes not apply to Interwebster Explorer and/or the Start Screen?
I never heard of such exceptions: the theme is always applied globally.
Maybe some advanced settings of Magnifier? Inverted mode? That's still not enough for what you need here. :think:

The only quick-fix I see is making the background lighter, or white but then the text needs to be changed to black... chain reaction messing with the looks again...

If you plan to mess round there, modify these:
Code:
Background=0 0 0
Window=0 0 0
WindowText=224 224 224 ;explorer breadcrumbs + search bar outline as well
But I wouldn't ruin the looks of it.:)
That theme would look like a hybrid theme: half high-contrast, half lighter, but the opposite of what I posted on first page because there the background is black, and that wouldn't look pretty.

If you have any ideas on this one, good luck.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    HP Envy DV6 7250
    CPU
    Intel i7-3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
    Sound Card
    IDT HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6' built-in + Samsung S22D300 + 17.3' LG Phillips
    Screen Resolution
    multiple resolutions
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 250GB + Hitachi HDD 750GB
    PSU
    120W adapter
    Case
    small
    Cooling
    laptop cooling pad
    Keyboard
    Backlit built-in + big one in USB
    Mouse
    SteelSeries Sensei
    Internet Speed
    slow and steady
    Browser
    Chromium, Pale Moon, Firefox Developer Edition
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    That's basically it.

Hopachi

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#16
Classic Themes

Windows Classic Themes from Win98 - XP actually work on Win8 and 8.1

I found the link in an older thread quite some time ago. Now I decided to share the file on this thread as well.
EDIT: found it,
Classic themes for Windows 8 ? classic theme, Brick, Spruce and so on ? total 17 themes | Winaero

Install.bat installs them all or just open the Themes folder and put there the needed *.theme file(s).
Double-clicking a *.theme file will also install it but it will also be applied.

EDIT:
The themes folder where you can copy/move theme files (for each user) is:
Code:
[COLOR=#333333]%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes\[/COLOR]
If you want the new themes to be available for all users, copy them to the system theme folder instead:
Code:
%windir%\Resources\Themes\

Thanks to bawldiggle for asking about the theme folder locations.

Hopachi
 

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Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    HP Envy DV6 7250
    CPU
    Intel i7-3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
    Sound Card
    IDT HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6' built-in + Samsung S22D300 + 17.3' LG Phillips
    Screen Resolution
    multiple resolutions
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 250GB + Hitachi HDD 750GB
    PSU
    120W adapter
    Case
    small
    Cooling
    laptop cooling pad
    Keyboard
    Backlit built-in + big one in USB
    Mouse
    SteelSeries Sensei
    Internet Speed
    slow and steady
    Browser
    Chromium, Pale Moon, Firefox Developer Edition
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    That's basically it.

Hopachi

Polyhedric Stellation
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#17
Night Mode

For the astronomers among us: Night Mode theme, based on high contrast. :)

nm-preview.png

* the only remaining things still unchanged: desktop text (white) and some light icons (depends on program), both unchangeable (non-existent) from the theme parameters.
More about this:
Playing around with the drop shadows will get a black text on desktop but only if the (temporary) desktop background is light enough:
Change the Text Color for Desktop Icons | PCWorld
Dark background(s) result in white text automatically.

Start screen is simple:
nm-prev-start.png
By default, Metro icons are black-white where possible.

Optional: Use OblyTile with extra tiles if you have enough patience here.


Further optional enhancements below,
We try to keep it as parametric as possible (non destructive: add files but not modifying any existing system files).

-use custom icon for folder:
Folder Icon - Change Windows 7 Default Folder Icon - Windows 7 Help Forums
Very useful because this one is used on every folder in Explorer, thanks to Shawn by the way.

An example for this below, folder-red:
folder-red-prev.png
* a zip is provided and contains the ico standalone and as resource dll.

See also: Red Windows 7 Folders by Drawder on deviantART

-use dark/red mouse pointer:
http://www.eightforums.com/customization/9827-custom-cursors-10.html
or many others like at: Open Cursor Library - 50549 cursors

Regards,
Hopachi
 

Attachments

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    HP Envy DV6 7250
    CPU
    Intel i7-3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
    Sound Card
    IDT HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6' built-in + Samsung S22D300 + 17.3' LG Phillips
    Screen Resolution
    multiple resolutions
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 250GB + Hitachi HDD 750GB
    PSU
    120W adapter
    Case
    small
    Cooling
    laptop cooling pad
    Keyboard
    Backlit built-in + big one in USB
    Mouse
    SteelSeries Sensei
    Internet Speed
    slow and steady
    Browser
    Chromium, Pale Moon, Firefox Developer Edition
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    That's basically it.

Tews

New Member
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279
#18
Is this one of Mr.Grims themes?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus CM5675
    CPU
    IntelCore i5 3.20Ghz
    Motherboard
    Asus CM5675
    Memory
    6.0Gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD integtrated
    Sound Card
    SB Audigy
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 24'
    Screen Resolution
    1900x1080
    Hard Drives
    Segate 1tb
    Intel 120Gb SSD
    Internet Speed
    100mb down /10mb up

Hopachi

Polyhedric Stellation
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#19
Is this one of Mr.Grims themes?
Nope.
It's just a self-made modded High Contrast version (see first posts).

I also like Mr.Grims stuff but I've stopped modifying the system dlls a while ago. :) Keep it clean.
His icons are always welcome for any dark themes. :thumb:

The High Contrast theme is built-in but I guess we could always use some extra variation besides black and white.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 x64
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    HP Envy DV6 7250
    CPU
    Intel i7-3630QM
    Motherboard
    HP, Intel HM77 Express Chipset
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel HD4000 + Nvidia Geforce 630M
    Sound Card
    IDT HD Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    15.6' built-in + Samsung S22D300 + 17.3' LG Phillips
    Screen Resolution
    multiple resolutions
    Hard Drives
    Samsung SSD 250GB + Hitachi HDD 750GB
    PSU
    120W adapter
    Case
    small
    Cooling
    laptop cooling pad
    Keyboard
    Backlit built-in + big one in USB
    Mouse
    SteelSeries Sensei
    Internet Speed
    slow and steady
    Browser
    Chromium, Pale Moon, Firefox Developer Edition
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    That's basically it.

Love

Banned
Posts
64
#20
your hc-midnight blue theme messed up my system.can't even select any options by dragging mouse to any corners.also all options were mixing up.it's a buggy theme,plz delete it.see screenshot >>
 

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My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8 Pro x64 With Media Center/Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 x86 >>Dual Boot<<
    Computer type
    Laptop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    ASUS K54L
    CPU
    Intel(R) Pentium(R) Dual Core CPU B950 @ 2.10GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS
    Memory
    2GB DDR3
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel(R) HD Graphics
    Sound Card
    Realtek High Definition Audio ALC269 With Sonic Master
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    320 GB Seagate
    Browser
    Google Chrome Latest
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender (Default Win 8)