Categories
Programming Windows

Theming & Visual Styles in Windows 8

The following is based on the Windows Developer Preview and might not accurately represent the final version of Windows 8.

A significant change in Windows 8 is the removal of support for Windows classic theming. In the Windows Developer Preview, there is no Windows Classic theme, and all themes (including Windows Basic and the four high contrast themes) use the Desktop Window Manager (DWM) for desktop composition (in Windows Vista and Windows 7, it was only enabled for Aero themes).

While some users may miss the Windows Classic theme (it might return in later builds, of course), this is definitely a positive development. All themes will receive the benefits of hardware acceleration, and there will no longer be the need to maintain a separate code path for when the DWM is disabled (as long as the program targets only Windows 8 or later).

In order to maintain compatibility with earlier versions of Windows, when a high contrast theme is selected, Windows 8 will simulate the Windows classic theming model unless an application specifies Windows 8 as a supported OS in its application manifest. The sample program I made for the previous post did not include such a manifest, so it doesn’t work correctly in the Windows Developer Preview with high contrast themes:WPF sample without manifest

Compare this to a task dialog:

Task Dialog (High Contrast #1)

(The button in the WPF window is also drawn incorrectly, but presumably that will be fixed in .NET 4.5.)

Adding the appropriate manifest to the application causes it to work as it should:

WPF sample with manifest

I’ve updated the sample code in the previous post to include the manifest file.

Categories
Programming

WM_DWMCOLORIZATIONCOLORCHANGED doesn’t give the Aero Glass base colour

From MSDN:

WM_DWMCOLORIZATIONCOLORCHANGED Message

Sent to all top-level windows when the colorization color has changed.

Parameters
wParam: Specifies the new colorization color. The color format is 0xAARRGGBB.
lParam: Specifies whether the new color is blended with opacity.

We receive this message when the Aero Glass colour changes. Unfortunately, the value contained in wParam is not the ‘base colour’, as it is in fact the result of the DwmGetColorizationColor function. As Rafael Rivera noted last year, when glass transparency is enabled, the value returned by this function is quite different to the base colour:

colorization

As such, we shouldn’t rely on the contents of wParam (or on the DwmGetColorizationColor function in general).

The easiest method to find the actual base colour is to retrieve the ColorizationColor DWORD from HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsDWM. This, however, is undocumented, and could potentially change in a future version of Windows (it is correct in NT 6.0 and 6.1):

(We can’t cast directly to uint despite it being a REG_DWORD, hence the first cast to int…)

For those who feel more adventurous, Rafael went to the trouble of finding a function in dwmapi.dll which returns the base colour (amongst other things). He describes it here.