Selecting Colors and Modifying Color Schemes

With a beautiful desktop background in place, your next personalization step might be to select a complementary color for the window borders, Start menu, and taskbar. To do that, right-click the desktop, choose Personalize, and then click Window Color.

If you're using an Aero theme, Window Color And Appearance appears, as shown below. If none of the 16 choices meets your needs exactly, you can click Show Color Mixer and dial in your own blend of Hue, Saturation, and Brightness .

You can also adjust the transparency of your window frames. Dragging the Color Intensity slider to the right makes window frames darker and less transparent. If you want lighter colors but don't fancy transparency at all, clear the Enable Transparency check box. You might find this "Aero sans trans" approach convenient at times if you need to generate pictures of windows for presentation purposes and don't want the pictures to include distracting "behind the scenes" material.

If you're not using an Aero theme, clicking Window Color displays a different Window Color And Appearance dialog box, as shown next.

. . . and specify its color and other settings ■in this area.

. . . and specify its color and other settings ■in this area.


This same dialog box appears when you click Advanced Appearance Settings in the Aero version of Window Color And Appearance . There's no particular reason to go there if you're using Aero, however, as most settings in this dialog box apply only to basic and high-contrast (that is, non-Aero) themes.

Each basic and high-contrast theme comprises a group of settings that specifies fonts and sizes of certain interface elements, as well as colors . In the sample window of the Window Color And Appearance dialog box, click the screen element you want to change. Then use the lists and buttons at the bottom of the dialog box to make your color, font, and size selections. For title bars, you can specify two colors; Windows creates a gradient from Color 1 (at the left end of the title bar) to Color 2 (at the right end). The Item list includes some items that don't appear in the sample window, so you might want to review it in its entirety before you move on.

The Color button for each item opens a selection of standard colors . If you don't see the one you're looking for, click the Other button . Windows then displays a Color dialog box. Should you fail to find exactly the color you want in the Basic Colors palette, you can define your own custom colors. Change the color that appears in the Color box, either by adjusting the positions of the hue/saturation crosshair and the luminosity arrow or by specifying numeric values . When you have found the color you want, click Add To Custom Colors . If you want to replace an existing custom color, select it before you specify your new color.


The Window Color And Appearance dialog box itself has a distinctly 20th-century appearance. The squared-off windows in its sample area betray its ancient heritage, and the text below the sample window gives fair warning . You won't find Undo or Default buttons anywhere Experiment carefully and keep your own mental cookie trail If you want to be absolutely sure you can find your way out of the woods, create a restore point before you proceed. (See "Configuring System Protection Options" on page 393.)

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