Windows XP visual styles

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Windows XP core themes
Windows XP Olive Green.png Windows XP Silver.png
Luna theme, olive green Luna theme, silver

Windows XP visual styles are customizations of the graphical user interface of Windows XP. Luna, Royale, Zune, and Embedded are official visual styles designed for Windows XP by Microsoft.[1] Since Windows XP, themes include the choice of visual styles as well.[2] By default, the Luna theme is preinstalled on Windows XP Home and Professional editions, Royale (Energy Blue) is preinstalled on Windows XP Media Center Edition and Embedded theme is preinstalled on Windows XP Embedded. In addition to the preinstalled styles, Microsoft has released additional styles for download. Third parties have also released visual styles, though these require modification of core DLLs to work. Visual styles are compatible with all Windows XP editions.

Compared to previous versions of Windows, the new styles have a greater emphasis on the graphical appeal of the operating system, using unsaturated colors[3] and bitmaps[4] throughout the interface, with rounded corners for windows.[5][6]

Luna[edit]

Luna (the Moon in Latin and various other languages) is the codename for the default visual theme of Windows XP. Officially known as Windows XP style, the theme is available in three color schemes: blue (default), olive green, and silver.[6][7] Some users who did not like the theme characterised it as a "Fisher-Price interface".[8][9]

Windows Classic[edit]

There are two classic themes: Windows Classic is the same visual style used in older Windows versions such as Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0, and Windows 98, and is also available in Windows Vista, but not in Windows 7;[6] Windows Standard, which is similar to Windows Classic, was the default in Windows 2000 and Windows ME,[10] and is available in Windows Vista and Windows 7 (named Windows Classic in the latter).[6] Classic themes are less CPU-intensive and offer better performance[11] and greater color and font customization options. Windows Classic is automatically used in Safe mode and on Win32 console windows.

Royale[edit]

Windows XP supplemental themes
Windows XP Royale Noir.png Windows XP Zune.png
Royale Noir theme Zune theme
Windows XP Embedded.png
Windows XP Embedded theme

Royale (also known as Media Center style and Energy Blue) was originally designed for Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, and was ported to Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005.[12] It is accompanied by of a new wallpaper (inspired by Windows XP Bliss). It presents a relucent, vivid and faux-reflective color scheme with intense blue and green colors.

Royale was originally made available in December 2004. On April 7, 2005, Microsoft New Zealand made the Royale theme and the wallpapers for the New Zealand theme available for download for all editions of XP through Windows Genuine Advantage on its website.[12][13][14] Because of the freeware nature of this package, it is also avaliable on software download websites, such as Softpedia.[15]

Microsoft also released a Windows Media Player visualization and skin. The skin was released in Experience Pack for Tablet PC and was available for free,[16] but it installer only installs it on Windows XP Tablet PC Edition devices, for which it is licensed.

Royale Noir[edit]

Royale Noir looks like a darkened version of Royale, having a blackish and bluish to purple tint. Royale Noir has a black Start button, which changes to green when the mouse hovers over it. As Royale Noir was leaked and not finalized by Microsoft, it has been noted for some imperfections.[17]

Zune[edit]

A few weeks after Royale Noir was leaked, Zune was officially released in a theme package to accompany the release of Microsoft's new Zune media player. In terms of style, Zune resembles Royale. It displays a brown to light shadow style and is the first visual style for Windows XP to include a differently colored Start button from the green XP.[18][19] Notably, this theme is used in Home Depot's POS units.

Embedded[edit]

Windows Embedded Standard CTP Refresh edition came with a dedicated visual style called Embedded. It is similar to Royale, featuring a mix of dark blue colors.

Third-party visual styles[edit]

Windows only loads a visual style that bears a valid Microsoft digital certificate.[20] As such, third-party visual styles can only be used if one of the Windows files called uxtheme.dll is altered to allow unsigned visual styles.[21][22] Doing so is against Windows license agreement and copyright laws.[citation needed] Despite this, Microsoft is aware of such a practice and even suggests obtaining a newer revision of the patched uxtheme.dll file in case problems occur after Microsoft's own updates to the file have been applied (typically through an OS service pack).[23]

Application support[edit]

Third-party applications can be configured to work with visual styles. By default, the title bar and the window borders of Windows Forms-based applications are rendered using the user's preferred visual style, while the rest of the application's graphical user interface (GUI) is rendered in the Classic style.[24] This is because these two different parts of the GUI are rendered using two different software libraries: the title bar and the window borders ("non-client area" or "user controls") use Windows USER, and the remaining controls ("client area" or "common controls") use version 5.8 of the Common Controls Library.[25] Version 6.0 of the Common Controls Library contains both the user controls and the common controls, and developers may configure the the application's user interface to be displayed in the user's currently-selected visual style by forcing it to be rendered using version 6.0 of the library.[26][27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ US patent 7752631, Dorn, Karlheinz; Plendl, Mario; Scharf, Christian; von Stockhausen, Hans-Martin, "Device and method for a graphical user interface", issued 2010-07-06, assigned to Siemens 
  2. ^ "Visual Styles Overview (Windows)". MSDN. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  3. ^ Kumar, Anil (2010-12-27). "Windows 7 Themes for XP from Deviant Art". In Scudder, Rebecca. Bright Hub. Archived from the original on 2013-10-16. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  4. ^ Sinchak, Steve (2010-05-21). "Customizing the Appearance of the Windows Interface". Windows 8 Tweaks. John Wiley & Sons. p. 118. ISBN 978-1-118-26459-1. 
  5. ^ Mendelson, Edward (2001-10-30). "Interface - The New Windows - Great XPectations". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  6. ^ a b c d Nadeau, David Robert (2010-05-09). "Java tip: SystemColors for Windows XP user interface themes". Nadeau Software Consulting. Archived from the original on 2014-02-13. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  7. ^ "ThemeColor Enumeration". MSDN. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2012-12-08. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  8. ^ Manes, Stephen (2004-08-26). "Full Disclosure: Your Take on Windows' Worst Irritations". PCWorld. IDG. Archived from the original on 2009-10-08. 
  9. ^ Bright, Peter (2014-04-10). "Memory lane: Before everyone loved Windows XP, they hated it". Ars Technica (Condé Nast). Archived from the original on 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  10. ^ Thurrott, Paul (2008-08-25). "Windows Vista Feature Focus: Windows Vista Standard User Interface". SuperSite for Windows. Penton Media. Archived from the original on 2010-05-22. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  11. ^ "Tweak Windows XP :: Disabling Themes". TechReviewer.com. Archived from the original on 2012-08-01. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  12. ^ a b Thurrott, Paul (2005-05-08). "Microsoft Gives Royale Theme to All Windows XP Users". Windows IT Pro. Penton Media. Archived from the original on 2014-06-16. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  13. ^ "Royale Theme for Windows XP released". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. 2005-05-09. Archived from the original on 2012-11-29. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  14. ^ "NZ Bliss Desktop Backgrounds for Windows". Microsoft Download Center. Microsoft. 2005-04-07. Archived from the original on 2014-03-15. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  15. ^ Popa, Bogdan (2013-01-14). "Royale Theme for WinXP - Official". Softpedia. SoftNews NET. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  16. ^ Kendrick, James (2005-07-23). "I hate Outlook with the Energy Blue theme". Gigaom. GigaOmniMedia. Archived from the original on 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2014-06-20. 
  17. ^ Zheng, Long (2006-10-29). "Royale Noir: secret XP theme uncovered". istartedsomething. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  18. ^ Katta, Sahas (2006-11-05). "Windows XP – Zune Theme". Skatter Tech. Archived from the original on 2014-06-17. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  19. ^ Carter, Ryan (2006-11-03). "Windows XP Zune theme". Download Squad. AOL. Archived from the original on 2012-12-26. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  20. ^ Orlowski, Andrew (2001-02-16). "Compatibility woes derail Windows XP Visual Styles". The Register (Situation Publishing). Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  21. ^ Jijau, Dragos (2007-01-18). ""Hack" Windows XP Visual Styles". Softpedia. SoftNews NET. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  22. ^ Fitzpatrick, Jason (2008-09-30). "How to Use Custom Windows Visual Styles". Lifehacker. Gawker Media. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  23. ^ "Third-party themes programs may not work as expected after you install Windows XP Service Pack 3". Microsoft Support. Microsoft. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2012-04-30. 
  24. ^ Prabhu, Raghavendra (2003-09-28). "Application.EnableVisualStyles - Cool Client Stuff". MSDN Blogs. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2014-05-09. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  25. ^ Grossman, Seth (2002-01). "Using Windows XP Visual Styles With Controls on Windows Forms". MSDN. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  26. ^ "Enabling Visual Styles". MSDN. Microsoft. 2012-10-27. Archived from the original on 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2014-06-17. 
  27. ^ MacDonald, Matthew (2002). "Forms". User Interfaces in VB .NET: Windows Forms and Custom Controls. Apress. p. 158. doi:10.1007/978-1-4302-0844-0_5. ISBN 978-1-4302-0844-0.