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How Do You Set Window Metrics in Windows 8 DP?

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  • Previous versions of Windows had a dialog box which allowed you to configure the fonts, border thickness and other windows attributes to your preferences.  For example this is the Windows 7 version:

    In Windows 8 DP this dialog box has been removed, leaving you stuck with the dreadful Segoe UI font and needlessly thick window frames.  To try and solve this problem I exported my HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics key from Windows 7 and imported it in Windows 8, after which the fonts, border thickness and other metrics were set to my preference.

    The problem with this is that changing anything in the Windows theme settings screen causes all your window metrics settings to be lost, meaning you have to reapply the registry script and log off and on.  This is rather a nuisance and it’s clear that writing the settings directly to the registry isn’t the correct way of doing things.  Looking into the matter further I found that the correct place to set the window metrics is in a .theme file.  Unfortunately the composition of NonclientMetrics is somewhat difficult to decipher:

    [Metrics]
    IconMetrics=76 0 0 0 139 0 0 0 139 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 245
    255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 144 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
    0 0 0 0 84 97 104 111 109 97 0 119 0 0 7 0 0 0 0 0 216
    31 7 0 28 52 1 1 216 31 7 0 176 36 1 1
    NonclientMetrics=84 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 16 0 0 0 16 0 0 0 18
    0 0 0 18 0 0 0 245 255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    188 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 84 97 104 111 109 97 0 0 0 0
    0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 0 0 0
    15 0 0 0 245 255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 188 2
    0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 84 97 104 111 109 97 0 0 80 37 11
    0 0 0 0 0 140 221 6 0 227 115 247 119 2 40 11 0 7 0 0
    0 18 0 0 0 18 0 0 0 245 255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    0 0 0 144 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 84 97 104 111 109 97 0
    0 0 0 0 0 60 222 6 0 50 71 252 119 120 1 7 0 76 73 252
    119 8 6 7 0 245 255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    144 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 84 97 104 111 109 97 0 119 0
    0 7 0 120 1 7 0 120 1 7 0 40 37 11 0 120 1 7 0 120 1 7
    0 245 255 255 255 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 144 1 0 0 0
    0 0 0 0 0 0 0 84 97 104 111 109 97 0 0 92 1 0 0 136 4
    0 0 40 37 1 1 0 0 7 0 184 221 6 0 46 75 232 119

    I tried copying Metrics settings from my Windows 7 .theme file to Windows 8, but after applying the theme the fonts and other metrics were net set.  Is there some way of setting the window metrics in Windows 8 that I’m missing?  If not how can I produce a Windows 8 .theme file where the fonts and other metrics are set to my preferences?  I'd be grateful for any advice on this because I find Windows unusable with the default font.



    I do have to wonder why Microsoft have removed the Window Colour and Appearance dialog box in the first place.  I’m hoping it's been temporarily taken out while it is reworked, but given Microsoft’s trend of making Windows less configurable I wouldn’t be surprised if it has gone for good.

    Windows desperately needs more options which allow the user to configure the UI to their preferences, but Microsoft are heading in the opposite direction.  It appears as though Microsoft believe they know what the user wants more than the user does, and are intent on dictating to the user how they should work and how they should have their PC configured.  It’s for this reason that I’m still using Windows XP.  I’m trying to like Windows 8, but it’s extremely difficult to like when it lacks even basic configuration options.  I simply can’t understand how Microsoft can think removing configuration options improves their operating system.

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 4:12 PM

Answers

  • In the Windows Developer Preview, there is not a way to personalize the dialog boxes.
    Not all features are enabled in the Windows Developer Preview. I don't know whether this feature will in the Beta version or in the
    final Release.

     

     


    Marilyn
    • Marked as answer by Richard4352 Monday, November 14, 2011 3:36 PM
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 6:07 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • In the Windows Developer Preview, there is not a way to personalize the dialog boxes.
    Not all features are enabled in the Windows Developer Preview. I don't know whether this feature will in the Beta version or in the
    final Release.

     

     


    Marilyn
    • Marked as answer by Richard4352 Monday, November 14, 2011 3:36 PM
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 6:07 PM
    Moderator
  • See also...

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/7f4b3f4b-ca29-457d-8424-ca70f4c6ab9b/

     

    I have found that tweaking the values under the covers DOES in fact still work.  Even some of the new things, like ribbons in Explorer, work properly with downsized title bars.  As you have pointed out, it is overwritten upon theme selection.

     

    There are several possibilities here...

    1.  Microsoft removed this configurability on purpose because their telemetry told them that the masses of non-technical users didn't reconfigure the look and feel of their desktops for the most part, and they feel just having everything have fixed sizes will make their job of maintaining Windows cheaper into the future, while upsetting only a small percentage of people.  I believe this to be the case, personally.  I hate that they're dumbing down the system based on reports of how the great majority of simple users (mis)use Windows.

    2.  Microsoft removed this configurability on purpose because they believe they should focus attention away from the desktop and onto Metro, which - almost completely devoid of visual styles - looks pretty basic (ugh).  They don't want it to be fashionable to be able to tweak the desktop any longer, since they're not providing a way to tweak Metro.

    3.  They pulled it out temporarily from the Developer Preview build because allowing the user to configure it did something bad for the stability of the system, and it'll be back in the real release.  I find this a bit hard to swallow because changing the values directly in the registry does work, and doesn't seem to do anything bad I can detect.  Also, the Window Color and Appearance configuration dialog does not appear at all in the GodMode control panel.

     

     

    4.  It's possible an amazing new desktop configuration tool / theme creation package is being developed to replace the old dialog, and it just wasn't ready for the Developer Preview build.  We can only dream...

     

    Microsoft:  Please bring back configurability of the desktop elements!

     

    -Noel

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 8:52 PM
  • Thanks for the replies.  Reading the other thread it looks like you’re as irritated as me at the lack of configuration options in Windows 8.  Many options that I consider to be absolutely necessary simply aren’t there.

    After performing extensive configuration, installing a third party file manager and installing Classic Shell I was starting to become more enthusiastic about Windows 8, but my enthusiasm evaporates when I find essential options are like this are missing.

    If there were more configuration options I’d happily switch to Windows 8, but I’m starting to realise that attempting to set Windows 8 up the way I want it is like fighting against the tide.  It looks like Microsoft are moving more and more towards a “one size fits all” design where nothing is configurable and you have to do everything the way they dictate.
    Sunday, November 13, 2011 10:05 PM
  • Yes, it sounds like we're birds of a feather regarding tweaking our OS setups to our needs.

    I'm holding hope upon hope that we're really seeing Windows 8 partially undressed, and that the real release won't be nearly as clunky.  But given Microsoft's drive toward making billions with their new App Store, I'm not sure "to work" is in the driver's seat...  I miss Bill Gates' technical vision and leadership.

    -Noel

    Sunday, November 13, 2011 10:27 PM
  • Agreed. I can't imagine why or how removing this Advanced Appearance settings dialog (as it is called in Windows 7) improves the OS. PUT IT BACK MICROSOFT BY BETA!!  :(
    Tuesday, November 15, 2011 9:52 AM