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K-Johnson's avatar

Clearscreen Basic for Vista


Hey all,

I've been working on these themes since last year. I redid 99% of the images in the .msstyles, and left the ones I didn't know alone. Lots of little details and hackish (but working) implementations... which 99% of it you won't notice :P (alignment, for instance). I'm not satisfied with it yet, but I figured I might as well upload them for you guys who are still enjoying Windows Vista (me included). Windows 7 is supposed to be released soon, and I will likely upgrade and update the theme whenever I get the time to.

Remember that this theme is in the BETA phase. Only two others have used it, and neither reported anything back to me, so I suppose it works well enough? I played around with lots of apps while using this theme to ensure that the theme doesn't break the usability of your programs -- pleased to say that it worked well with all my programs! :D


Clearscreen Round is the darker and rounder version of Clearscreen Sharp.

This is the first of three themes.

* You can download all the versions in one easy link: *Uploading

* Or download the currently viewed theme by clicking "Download" to your top left.


Installation: Check out this great guide at WinMatrix -> [link]

You can also apply the themes without messing with any of your files by downloading StyleSelector (32-bit OS only), AveStyler (Shareware), Tuneup Utilities 2009 (Shareware), or UXStyle (Free & Shareware).


You can go ahead and report any bugs you find -- I already know of a few but haven't figured up a solution for them, yet. The main issue is that many of the text colors and images are shared, so altering one will often screw with the other. It becomes a game of whac-a-mole. :( Except that it's all tedious, and no fun.

Known Bugs

  • Resource Monitor shares with the titlebar text color (white) -- becomes difficult to read on the gray gradient it sits on. This will have to be fixed outside the theme by hacking the Resource Monitor (maybe hexing the gradient or replacing the image)... wouldn't know where to look.


    This is not a 'designer' theme. I wanted this theme to be usable, functional and accessible. I had originally started doing the *.dll mods but it became very time consuming and confusing for me -- if you would like to help me on this part, please send me a message! I will credit you here :) Anyway, I omitted the *.dll which is why the navigation and shutdown buttons are the same (they are located in another DLL file), but would like to continue on these parts.

    Thanks to: PandaX, Ave, ~ZEUSosX, =Satukoro, ~sweatyfish, ~invaderjohn, and anyone else I missed.

    /etc: I used Photoshop CS3 and Vista Style Builder to create these themes.



    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Swapped solid bordering on buttons with transparent ones
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Fixed text clipping in menu's for longer/wide-character languages (like Chinese)
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Fixed text clipping in Windows Security Center
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Fixed text clipping with Toolbar button text
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Fixed CommandLink button to retain fidelity on its bottom edge when stretched vertically
    [Round/Basic] Fixed gradient banding on the gloss of the Start menu & Taskbar on clsRound and clsBasic, much thanks to ~sweatyfish
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Fixed unreadable Help window and Alternate Toolbar area ([link]) to match the other toolbars for a consistent look
    [Round/Basic] Aligned group menu icons with the icon on the grouped taskbar button
    [Sharp/Basic] Added matching vertical progressbars
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Fixed x64 graphical glitches (seperator, indeterminate progress bar, explorer navigation pane, disabled button, commandlink)!

    Hopefully these are the last of the major bugs. Perfection and compatability with everything is an impossible task with custom msstyles on Vista, but I want to get as close to it as possible! :) The reason why it is impossible: Some programs use their own code along with code pulled from the msstyles -- that can spawn problems as the programmer created the program to work with the default Vista Aero theme. Also, because Vista msstyles does a lot of sharing with global properties. I had to implement many properties in many different parts and states for custom styling! xD So let's hope this version goes smoothly so we can get some variations going for V4!


    [Sharp] Fixed Breadcrumb bar vertical seperators to match Round (how it was originally supposed to be)
    [Sharp] Changed TreeItem hot state to match the sharp corners of others
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Redid Scrollbars for better contrast, redid slider trackbars for a sharper look.
    [Sharp] Changed Padded Border Width to 1 from 0 to prevent dialog window frames from breaking.
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Placeslist images reworked (truesize value now set to stretched to fit other languages with more/wider characters)
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Fixed taskbar 1px bottom row of inactivity
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Fixed start menu program name clipping
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Made Folderband/Communications/Media/Toolbar buttons transparent -- Help menu now visible
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Recolored indeterminate progress bar to match normal progressbar and saved as 32-bit PNG
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Centered Scrollbar Gripper on bottom scrollbar
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Darkened disabled checkboxes and radio buttons a bit
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Made flashing taskbar window button's orange glow more vibrant
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Made transparent tab area solid -- no more black gaps in some apps in the filter sort
    [Sharp/Round/Basic] Changed contentmargins to fit the icons within the addressbar and searchbar (seen in FireFox default skin), thanks to Sweatyfish


    - No more third party theme changer needed (hopefully)!
    - Packed in "No Folderband Autohide" shellstyle


    - Smaller Taskbar (Next Version)
    - Optional Full Transparency on Maximize (Next Version)
    - Userpicture Option (Next Version)
    - ... and eventually Windows 7 port :P

    Clearscreen Basic (currently viewing)
    Clearscreen Sharp
    Clearscreen Round
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    Ishfwilf's avatar
    Hey, thanks for this.
    I love the theme, it's best but I would be happy to see ClearCursors. So it would be better than the best :D
    i need your help with 3 things:
    i m using Vista Style Builder... i want to edit the default Vista theme 1) explorer titlebar and make it same as this one 2) edit explorer borders and make it like this one 3) menu highlight should be bold

    assistance will be greatly appreciated
    TheEspen1996's avatar
    Hello, I love your VS!!! :)
    But... I will now inform you, it's a bugg!!
    In clsSharp_Basic: when you open any folder in full size, you can see it!!
    Pat20105's avatar
    Awesome, every windows 7 computer should have this theme ;)
    DuckTape33's avatar
    Please fix the big preview image, because its broken and only the smaller one works. Why? Because I want to compare round vs sharp vs basic. Oh and only the big preview version for basic is broken, the other two work fine. Thanks.
    LuisAceituno's avatar
    DuckTape33's avatar
    lol it fixed it self, maybe I should of have just cleared the cache :P
    NuclearBlasshole's avatar
    You said in your comments that you may recreate this orange preview wall into a wallpaper, is it true?
    yojo2's avatar
    Awesome! It'd be more than great to have this masterpiece in XP. :)
    dijimucks's avatar
    Very nice theme. Any chance of seeing it aeroized one day? (glass effect)
    I`d love to see this background as a wallpaper.

    Oh, and really nice theme, using it right now ;)
    SpiffyC's avatar
    May I port to Win7?
    K-Johnson's avatar
    Its been ported, just polishing things up. Should be released by next weekend :)
    SpiffyC's avatar
    ok=D I CANT WAIT!
    pddeluxe's avatar
    is there any version with a smaller taskbar ? it would be very nice to create this :)
    pddeluxe's avatar
    R1P's avatar
    bug, had problems with maximized windows, the title/address bar would go all crazy when i maximized another window in front of it. cant wait for this one to be finished btw :)
    K-Johnson's avatar
    That's odd, does it happen each time?
    R1P's avatar
    ive rechecked again and it seems to working fine again :confused: odd. the only thing i still notice though is the white higlight box on the start menu. apart from that everything seems to fine :)
    K-Johnson's avatar
    That's good :) Yeah, I'll have to fix that bug. It must've slipped through :(
    jmlane's avatar
    Great work!

    Small bug with clsRound_Basic: Start menu items on the left (black background, white font) have a white oval background on hover, making the very light coloured text impossible to read. Since the hover on those items is a black glossy oval in clsSharp_Basic, I assumed this was a bug worth reporting.

    Thanks for all your hard work to make Vista look good!
    K-Johnson's avatar
    Aw man, you're right. I'll get to fixing that and one other issue I forgot to fix.
    Thanks for the bug report!
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