Windows 7 More Personalization Issues

Discussion in 'Desktop Customization' started by fifthmanstandin, Nov 14, 2010.

  1. fifthmanstandin

    fifthmanstandin New Member

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    Hopefully someone here can help me.

    I'll start out with the system specs. I'm running a Mac Pro with a bootcamp partition and Windows 7. I was really starting to like Windows 7 until I got into the personalization of it. The previous partition was XP and I had no problem customizing the HUD as the day was long. This new 'fangled windows is giving me a run for my money. The problems are in two parts:

    1) When attempting to replace the ExplorerFrame.dll file in System32, obviously I get the 'You need permission to perform this action' when I go to drag/drop/replace the file. I've googled until I'm blue in the face. I've installed a menu option on my right click that 'Takes Ownership' when I click it. Doesn't work. I've gone through the Properties>Security Tab>Edit and gave both "Administrators (Fifth-PC\Administrators)" full control as well as the "Users (Fifth-PC\Users) just in case I was confused as to which one I was. No luck. I've googled and done things like
    How to replace Explorer.exe in Windows 7? | Windows 7 Themes
    where you run a cmd window to set permission to you. Fails miserably. I downloaded a program called 'Unlocker' because one site said it was the end all be all for getting rid of that error message. Downloaded, installed and set the entire System32 file to be unlocked. Nothing. Useless entirely. I opted for
    Properties>Security Tab>Advanced>Owner Tab> and began switching between "Fifth the user and "Fifth" the admin furiously in hope that it would work. I still get the needing permission error when attempting to replace the file.

    It has, however, worked one time. In a fit of rage and boredom I went through the same Properties>Security Tab>Advanced>Owner Tab> about 20 times and by sheer miraculous aid from the Gods, it worked one time. And I am now stuck with about the most unflattering replacement file I've ever seen. You should see it, the little back and forth buttons are barely even there. It's hideous really.


    2) When attempting to replace a theme. I've patched the three files that I'm supposed to patch from what Google tells me with several programs now. In hopes that switching programs maybe meant more 'correct' patching. I've used 'Universal Theme Patcher' as well as UxStyle Core to patch. Universal Theme patcher verifies that themeservice.dll, themeui.dll and uxtheme.dll are all patched. I go on to the next step of 'download some random theme, take the theme file and drop that bad boy into C:/windows/resources/themes then go into Personalization in control panel and double click the theme' correct? Well when doing that, the themes show up under 'installed themes' with the correct name and everything. It's just that no matter what I dowload, the theme is a black background with clear glass like window color. Wouldn't really call it a theme. I've even gone so far as to find themes with crazy colors like this:

    Alternative for Windows 7 by ~oliver182 on deviantART

    just to see if it would even change color and verify that my computer is stupid.

    I know there's something really lame I'm overlooking. Hopefully someone can point it out and make fun of me.

    Thanks.
     
    #1 fifthmanstandin, Nov 14, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2010
  2. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    Re: Personalization issues

    I'm sure you've tried this. ;)) Did you rename your bladidah.exe to something like bladidahOld.exe before dropping in your modified bladidah.exe. You'll be there (as you found out!) 'til the cows come home trying to replace an active file else.

    There's one sure way to find out if you need to/have already taken ownership of a file. When you right click a file, if "rename" and "delete" have not got the shield icon next to them, you've got ownership./ can work with them.
     
    #2 Elmer, Nov 14, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010
  3. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    Re: Personalization issues

    When you placed the (not to my taste either!) theme in the resources folder. Did you have something like this in there?

    [​IMG]

    The Alternative folder (with all its contents) should go with the Alternative.theme file.

    I've just looked at the link you gave. If i was going command prompt it would be:-
    Code:
    cd C:\Windows\ [COLOR="red"]Hit enter[/COLOR]
    TAKEOWN /F explorer.exe[COLOR="red"] Hit enter[/COLOR]
    ICACLS EXPLORER.EXE /grant administrators:F /t [COLOR="red"]Hit enter[/COLOR]
     
    #3 Elmer, Nov 15, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  4. fifthmanstandin

    fifthmanstandin New Member

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    Re: Personalization issues

    Not sure what you mean there.

    For example, when I navigate to system32, I go down to the .dll files, right click and there is no shield beside 'rename' or 'delete'. If that tells you anything

    For example:
    Browsing Customization on deviantART
    I download the file from this page, open the zip file, take the Kuro2010 folder and drop the whole thing into c:/windows/resources/themes. I then navigate to Control Panel>Personalization. There's nothing there. This screenshot should give you an idea of what I'm looking at. Note the Resource window.
    http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/9117/screenshot1p.jpg

    This next image shows what happens when I copy the .theme file and paste it into the Resources folder and then double click on the file.
    http://img2.imageshack.us/img2/3885/screenshot2oj.jpg

    Note that the Kuro file is selected, but that the taskbar is the same color as before. It even makes that highly annoying 'ding' when a new theme is selected but no actual changes occur. No wallpaper change, no color change with tool bars. Nothing.
     
  5. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    Re: Personalization issues

    I'll try to explain this the best I can!!

    It's the way that themes been packed! Right, to start. You unzip the Kuro2010. Open it. You see Fonts, Litestep, Replacements, Theme, Wallpapers. They're all "extras", we are intersted in the Theme folder.

    Open it,ooh look! A bonus! We have two themes, kuro.theme and kurogray.theme. Take those and drop them in the C:\Windows\Resources\Themes folder. Now we can also see yet another Kuro2010 folder. Open it, you should now be looking at kuro, kurogray, Shell and Walls. This is what we've been looking for. Now close it and copy the kuro2010 folder they are in and paste it in the C:\Windows\Resources\Themes folder.

    You should now be good to go.

    A question for you. The Seven set-up you have. Is it 32 or 64 bit?
     
    #5 Elmer, Nov 15, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  6. fifthmanstandin

    fifthmanstandin New Member

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    Re: Personalization issues

    To show you what I'm working with:
    http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/7060/screenshot3u.jpg
    Note that this is the before shot. I've turned the taskbar flaming pink to illustrate that nothing changes. I then follow your instructions to a T. You see in the resources/themes folder that the two Kuro folders are there in addition to the two kuro theme files.

    This second shot is after having clicked 'kuro' in Personalization. Note that 'kuro' is most definately selected and that the window color of bubble gum flaming pink has not changed a lick.
    http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/4977/screenshot4dl.jpg

    Which is precisely the problem, why isn't it changing?

    32 bit.
     
  7. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    Re: Personalization issues

    To change the explorer.exe and the explorerframe.dll

    I would take the folder that holds these two files and put in the root of the system (C:\)
    so it's at C:\replacements.

    I would then write a small batch (.bat) file with the following text in it.
    Code:
    TAKEOWN /F C:\Windows\EXPLORER.EXE
    ICACLS C:\Windows\EXPLORER.EXE /grant administrators:F /t
    REN C:\Windows\EXPLORER.EXE EXPLORER0ld.EXE
    COPY "C:\Replacements\EXPLORER.EXE" "C:\Windows\EXPLORER.EXE"
    
    TAKEOWN /F C:\Windows\System32\ExplorerFrame.dll
    ICACLS C:\Windows\System32\ExplorerFrame.dll /grant administrators:F /t
    REN C:\Windows\System32\ExplorerFrame.dll ExplorerFrameS0ld.DLL
    COPY "C:\Replacements\ExplorerFrame.dll" "C:\Windows\System32\ExplorerFrame.dll"
    I'd create a restore point and then double click the .bat file to run it and swap the files out.
    I'd then delete the Thumbcache files with the Disk Cleanup Utility (Press Start, (My) Computer, Right click C: Drive (your Main or System Drive), Properties, Click on the Disk Clean Up button). Thumbnails is one of the options you can choose to clean up.

    Then delete your (hidden) IconCache.db which you'll find in C:\Users\Your User Name\AppData\Local

    Finally re-boot.

    NOTE!! I edited my post above. The kuro, kurogray, Shell and Walls folders, I discovered, should all be in the parent folder (kuro2010). Sorry 'bout that.
     
    #7 Elmer, Nov 15, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  8. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    Re: Personalization issues

    Yeah, you did right. I c@cked up. Kuro and Kurogray go in a kuro2010 folder in the themes folder.

    If you open a .theme file with notepad, you'll see it's all text. Towards the bottom is the path of the visual style.
    Code:
    [VisualStyles]
    [COLOR=red][B]Path=%SystemRoot%\resources\Themes\Kuro2010\kuro\style.msstyles[/B][/COLOR]
    ColorStyle=NormalColor
    Size=NormalSize
    ColorizationColor=ffffff
    Transparency=1
    Composition=1
    VisualStyleVersion=1.5
    In theory you can put the folders containg the workings anywhere you want. As long as that path points to it.
     
    #8 Elmer, Nov 15, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  9. fifthmanstandin

    fifthmanstandin New Member

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    Re: Personalization issues

    All of that can be done with a nifty little program called 'Replacer' that's free for download on deviantart.com. I've not had a problem replacing those files once I got that program a few hours ago.

    So when I go to resources folder I should only be seeing the Kuro folder and not other files. Ok I did that and well, I'll be. I worked.

    Now could you explain to me why only having the Kuro2010 folder, (the kuro2010 folder fond in Kuro2010/Theme/Kuro2010) dropped into the theme works and not the .theme file or anything else?

    Thanks btw.
     
  10. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    Re: Personalization issues

    The theme does work. It's looking for the "Folder". See the code in post #8. If the theme doesn't find the folder where it's looking for it then you'll get nothing.

    I tried the replacer a while back but being on 64 bit, at the time, it did me no favours. Plus I change about 15 files in one fell swoop with auto Sys Restore point, clean up and a reboot.

    Just for Clarification!!
    As a rule, the *.theme file and the theme* folder (which should contain a *.msstyles file, an en-US (or your localised language) folder and a Shell folder) are stored in C:\Windows\Resources\Themes.
    However, .theme file(s) that you have personally saved (variations of the installed theme) are stored in
    C:\Users\Your User Name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Themes.
    * Should all be the same name e.g. Aero.
     
    #10 Elmer, Nov 15, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  11. fifthmanstandin

    fifthmanstandin New Member

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    So I'm having basically the same problem I had on a previous post

    This time I'm on an everex stepnote N Series laptop that just got the upgrade to 7. I'm trying to customize the bars,ect. To rule out corruption I ran an elevated SFC Scannow command from ms dos prompt, restarted, patched the .dll files with universal patcher x86 and then proceeded to install the files for the theme. The following screenshot is the aftermath.

    http://imgur.com/stbgo.png

    You can see that the task bar is still that clear color, the theme is selected, the file hierarchy in the folder matches the same as my other computer which has the exact same theme installed and works fine. Any ideas?
     
    #11 fifthmanstandin, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2010
  12. Captain Jack

    Captain Jack Extraordinary Member

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    Hello,

    I have Merged the other post for better reference.
     
  13. fifthmanstandin

    fifthmanstandin New Member

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    anyone? any ideas?
     
  14. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    ONLY ME!!! Just a thought. When you open Personalize/Window Color, is the enable transparency box checked?
     
  15. fifthmanstandin

    fifthmanstandin New Member

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  16. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    Strange Fifthmanstandin. Taken from your image, I'm not seeing this:-

    [​IMG]

    I'm seeing this

    [​IMG]

    And when I click on "Window Color" I get this (Enable transparency highlighted).

    [​IMG]

    What happens if you click on the "Troubleshoot problems with transparency and other Aero effects" link?

    Just for clarification, and I'm sure you've got this right, it is a 32 bit system, yes? And what version of 7? (Sorry, you're the one supposed to be asking the questions!!
     
    #16 Elmer, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  17. fifthmanstandin

    fifthmanstandin New Member

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    right. I'm following you, but when I have that theme selected and click 'window color' I get the pop up that the arrow points to. If I were to change it to Aero or some other theme then I get the regular window color menu that you get from your screenshot.

    I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate Ed. 32 bit on an Everex Stepnote N Series model NM 3500 W

    Just ran troubleshoot on the screen. It says that there's a driver compatibility issue and that it would support aero with a driver that is compliant with the windows display driver model. But that's all it says.

    Now when I go to Device Manager, under 'display adaptors' it lists 'VIA/S3G UniChrome Pro IGP' as the item. In my experience with XP, when a device is listed under the correct header and not under 'other' it means the driver is properly installed. When I upgraded the laptop to windows 7 I was under the impression I had found a driver for that chip and installed it, which is pretty hard considering it's an Everex Stepnote N series laptop.
     
  18. Elmer

    Elmer Extraordinary Member

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    I've Downloaded that same theme (I think) before (Blaque::Final:: by ~caeszer??) which ran OK on my PC with Aero enabled (as it should be). The settings you are showing are saying to me that Aero is not being set with that theme. However, it is late, I've no sleep for two days, could be misinterpreting. Best I went to bed. Fresh head etc.!

    A quick last thought, have you taken ownership of the files? That may make a difference. I'm only saying that due to experience with system files, but you never know.
     
    #18 Elmer, Dec 14, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2010
  19. fifthmanstandin

    fifthmanstandin New Member

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    yeah ran a troubleshooter from microsoft's website. Says that the video card driver doesn't support aero affects. Now this laptop is dated and kind of old. I doubt it's possible to update this driver. But on a chance, would anyone know of a driver that would be suitable?
     

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