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Inability to Configure Window Color and Appearance on the Aero Desktop

    Question

  • In Windows 7 one could go into the Desktop Personalization panel, choose Window Color, then Advanced Appearance Settings... to make changes to things like the Caption Button sizes, Border Padding, etc. Just to be clear, this is the Windows 7 panel I'm describing:

     

    With the Windows 8 Aero desktop we're missing this ability. I even turned on the GodMode configuration panel and I don't see a Window Color and Appearance panel.

    The ability to tune up the traditional desktop really needs to be retained with Windows 8. Sorry if it's harder to support, but some of us really like to maximize the space for doing work and minimize the chrome in the multi-window environment!

    Microsoft, you can't really believe that all serious computing apps are going to move to the Metro environment, can you? Your President said how all the existing apps are going to work. Surely you want us to be able to set up our desktops at least as well as they were in Windows 7?

    -Noel

    Thursday, September 15, 2011 7:54 PM

All replies

  • Hi Noel,

    Remember that this is a Pre-Beta product and some features can not be availables, but, if you want, I think you can export the registry key that has all colors changes that you need from:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors

    So, you can import it into Windows Developer Preview and restart your system.

    Regards,

    Thursday, September 15, 2011 9:57 PM
  • Thanks, but those look like just the colors.  I'm interested in things like Border Padding, Caption Button height, etc.

    And my intent with bringing it up here is to let Microsoft know that some people really care about it being missing.  I'm hoping that it's missing because it's a pre-beta, and not because it's going away permanently.

    -Noel

    Thursday, September 15, 2011 10:25 PM
  • Thanks, but those look like just the colors.  I'm interested in things like Border Padding, Caption Button height, etc.

    And my intent with bringing it up here is to let Microsoft know that some people really care about it being missing.  I'm hoping that it's missing because it's a pre-beta, and not because it's going away permanently.

    -Noel


    I understand Noel and It's true, not all people want METRO style for example.
    According to your issue, that kinds of metrics are stored in the following registry key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

    Same way, you have to export it from Windows 7 for example and import it into Windows 8.

    I hope it helps you.

     

    Remember, you have to restart the system after import the registry key.

    Regards,


    Friday, September 16, 2011 12:32 AM
  • Thanks for the pointers to the registry keys.  At least several of the settings don't actually seem to work in Windows 8, though thankfully many still do.  If Microsoft is choosing to eliminate the configurability of the various UI portions, then no doubt not long after they'll be starting to write window management code that doesn't use the settings from the registry any longer, which means more chrome and less work space.  This is not really surprising, since they seem to want to reuse the Title bar for other things now.

     

    My understanding isn't that Metro and the Aero desktop are two different things. I imagine there are things I will ultimately want to do in both environments. But there just doesn't seem to be any reason for hobbling the Aero desktop just because the Fisher-Price side is now available.

     

    There seems to be a background sentiment here that Metro should replace the multi-window desktop.  Maybe that's possible for the non-technical masses who walk around all day with their faces buried in their tablets and smart phones, but there are actually people who WORK with their computers (Windows developers amongst them) who have multiple big monitors and need the Aero desktop.  48 point fonts and one big game app per screen just ain't gonna cut it for people who need to do work!

     

    If Windows 8 truly takes this direction and suddenly leaves everyone who needs a real desktop behind, I have to wonder what OS the Microsoft people are going to use to develop future versions of Windows...  Microsoft needs to require their own developers switch to Windows 8 ASAP - that may be the only thing that saves it!

     

    -Noel



    Friday, September 16, 2011 3:27 PM
  • Just for follow-up, I'm not marking an Answer but giving you a couple of thumbs-up, Sergio.  I've been able to use the WindowMetrics key to adjust some things, so that the Windows 8 interface on the Aero Desktop has minimal chrome (example shown here).  Note the small caption buttons and zero border.

     

    -Noel

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 2:42 PM
  • Don't worry Noel, I think Microsoft is going to reconsider Metro UI, at least changing some thins ;)
    And I don't worry about making answers, don't worry, the most important think is to help you, let's wait if those features (Changing advance colors) appears on the next release of Windows 8, and don't forget you can send this feedback directly to Microsoft by using the Feedback tool.

     

    Regards,

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 5:54 PM
  • I have to believe that the (almost absurd) over-focus on Metro (including the metro-only Start screen) in the pre-beta preview is only to re-affirm the need for develoepers to use those development avenues.  I am 100% convinced that they will be sure to support us productivity workers that need the real desktop.  With about 16 months to go until release, I'm sure everything from the visual style, graphics, and experiences will continue to be thought-out.

    This release is really just for the APIs, afterall.

     


    Shawn Keene
    Saturday, September 17, 2011 6:13 PM
  • I hope so too, and there's no time like the present to let them know what we want from the experience.

     

    -Noel

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 6:25 PM
  • Yeah I totally agree.
    On a note related to this thread, I just noticed last night that Desktop Window Manager service isn't listed in services and Aero cannot be disabled.  Stopping the Themes service also has no effect.
    It's nice that it's (apparently?) baked into the OS now, but I had an app that wasn't displaying correctly and was going to try to disable themes to troubleshoot.
    Shawn Keene
    Saturday, September 17, 2011 6:28 PM
  • It has been stated by Microsoft that Aero cannot be disabled in this new version.  It's a fundamental part of the system.

     

    -Noel

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 6:49 PM
  • I respect that; everything runs so much nicer with hardware acceleration and cached graphic textures instead of the buggy GDI from 25 years ago. A shame that this app had issues though (the Windows ISO-to-flash drive tool).
    Shawn Keene
    Saturday, September 17, 2011 6:51 PM
  • On Sat, 17 Sep 2011 18:51:46 +0000, Shawn B. Keene [MVP] wrote:

    I respect that; everything runs so much nicer with hardware acceleration and cached graphic textures instead of the buggy GDI from 25 years ago. A shame that this app had issues though (the Windows ISO-to-flash drive tool).

    Windows 8 allows you to natively mount ISOs and once you've got one mounted
    you either use the GUI to copy the files to your USB drive, or xcopy or
    robocopy or something similar.

    Which is really all that tool ever did.


    Paul Adare
    MVP - Identity Lifecycle Manager
    http://www.identit.ca
    You can't go home again, unless you set $HOME.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 7:12 PM
  • Yeah I thankfully discovered that on the ISO right-click context menu and was able to forego using that app altogether.
    Shawn Keene
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 1:10 AM
  • Absolutely yes! I noticed this too. The "Advanced Appearance" settings that have been part of every Windows version since Windows 95 are missed. I always customize my own settings like title bar, caption button size etc. Hopefully, these will be included in the beta. Without such customizability, I don't see myself moving to Windows 8.
    Monday, September 19, 2011 7:24 PM
  • The feedback from people who do real work with their desktop is almost overwhelmingly that they're not going to be willing to use one app at a time, so I'm growing more confident that Microsoft is going to provide decent Aero Desktop support in Windows 8.

     

    Interestingly enough, the Explorer enhancments that put things in the Title Bar, DO follow the settings I've changed for the desktop through the registry (e.g., those that reduce Title Bar height), so maybe they're just transitioning the configuration dialogs because non-Aero themes will no longer be available.

     

    I actually like the direction the things are being taken on the Aero Desktop.  More power to you, Microsoft, in improving this!

     

    -Noel

    Monday, September 19, 2011 9:34 PM
  • One more option that was in this window - font configuration. For example, my favorite configuration is still Tahoma 8 and ClearType OFF.

    Can I configure this via registry?

    Thursday, November 17, 2011 10:13 PM
  • There are certainly values in the WindowMetrics key that define various fonts (see the image below), but the information seems to be encoded.  I see what look like Unicode text in them.

    It's possible you could configure a Windows 7 system to have the fonts you want, then export the WindowMetrics key, then import it into your Windows 8 registry.  Just don't change a theme or all the settings will be overwritten.

     

     

    -Noel

    Thursday, November 17, 2011 10:25 PM
  • Yeah, it is exaclty Unicode text.

    OK, finally I patrially solved fonts problem:
    1) uploaded registry settigs (WindowMetrics) from XP
    2) applied "NoSegoe" solution
    But still some fuzzy font stays in many menus.

    • Edited by ownmaster Thursday, November 17, 2011 11:47 PM
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 11:15 PM