Windows Legacy OS forum


XP problem: The visual styles could not be applied

by grunfgrunf / February 25, 2013 2:12 AM PST

I use PC with Xp pro SP3 on it.
For a long time it's driving me crazy.. I can not change basic blue XP theme (XP style). If I try for example to choose "silver theme", taskbar, start menu and windows remain blue, some details change (appearance and color of fonts, background menus, desktop wallpaper, etc..), but the window and taskbar remain exactly the same - blue. This is what happens when I try to use any theme, original Microsoft's or any third-party. If in Display Properties / Appearance I try to change the look of Windows & buttons or color scheme when I click Apply / OK I always get the message - "The visual styles could not be applied".
I searched long for a solution on the internet, I tried almost everything out people there recommend (start the "Themes" process, these tweaks with Kelly's Corner, tried to use sfc/scannow..). Most attempts ended with a loss of Style XP so I was then limited to the Classic theme (looks like win.98 ..) and I managed to solve that problem with trick from Kelly's Corner (visualstylefix.reg) but it's just step back to XP style, it doesn't solve the problem with changing the themes and apparance of windows & taskbar.
Unfortunately, due to lack of space my system restore data has been nreased so this is not the way to restore PC to the old state.
I used thirt party themes before, it went without any glitches..
Does anyone have an idea how to make it possible to change XP theme ..?
Thank you in advance! Happy
PS The computer works well, no problems, it isn't slow, etc..

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All Answers

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"Style XP" Ouch, bad news.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 25, 2013 2:16 AM PST
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still no solution..
by grunfgrunf / February 25, 2013 7:06 AM PST

I tried now that one, tried it before.. and all other from Kelly's site...
No help there...

I didnt use stylers, I bought pc which already had 'tewaker" uxtheme.dll file, so I could simply download themes...
I didnt see any sort of such software in my pc...

I really dont know what to do about it.. any ideas?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 25, 2013 7:12 AM PST
In reply to: still no solution..

Now you need to untweak that. Get you the XP CD and do the old Repair Install. Might wipe it out.

Besides you get it new so why not start fresh rather than inherit their problems?

Also, the evil group at the office thought it would be too easy to offer free (older) PCs with trojans, rootkits and more pre-installed. Folk would gladly take those. Hmm, I'm not having lunch with them anymore.

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very bad explanation...
by grunfgrunf / February 25, 2013 9:12 AM PST
In reply to: Yikes.

Please, sorry for my very bad explanation - I bought pc new, few years ago, it came with installed XP. Here its quite common to buy it "tweaked" so you can use third-party themes from the start. I got PC clean (I was there in shop when windows XP has been installed, its done by my friend and I don't have doubts anyone left infections there). In time I got some trojans and other nasty stuff, but it was removed, sometimes manually, sometimes with help of antivirus, Malwarebytes Antimalware, Spybot S&D and other tools. I am always protected though I am aware there is no flawless protection.. I tested my pc on rootkits, trojans, spywares, and I don't find anything.. Like I said, PC is not slow and it doesn't show any signs of infection.. I really don't think this is an infection, but lets say nobody can be 100% sure about it.

Why I don't like idea about fresh install...? I use lots of different kinds of software which would be pain to find and even more pain to adjust again, if you know what I mean. Also, I feel it like a kind of personal defeat (no matter how crazy it sounds..) if I can't solve some software based problem even with help of good people around... I see it like defeat of my own team Happy
If we talk about tweaks form Kelly's Corner, I used to save registry before I use those, so after I tried those I usually used to import saved registry, or simply used the tweak which I mentioned there (visualstylefix.reg).

Question - Repair Install is one where Windows returns to SP1 state, but all documents and software remain intact? I have XP cd so I beleive it wont be problem to do it... I hope just it won't wipe out things I have here..
Thanks for your answers and ideas, pall Happy

p.s. Sorry for my bad english, its quite a DIY version...

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How about the other accounts?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 25, 2013 9:21 AM PST

Sometimes this only breaks in one account. I won't go into any detail here but try another user account.

-> Once in a while you encounter some user that has a broken Windows XP OS and they can't start over for the reasons you gave. They also think that all issues can be fixed. Sure, but for me I just wipe it out if it takes too long to fix. The hours are charged to the client so I will only go so far.

And then we have Microsoft. They did not create this OS to be fixed in every way. And here you are, using themes and items we know break. I guess you need to see this a few times before you figure out that you can live without themes.

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another user account..
by grunfgrunf / February 25, 2013 10:24 AM PST

I made another account (never had other), and surprise - that one appeared in classic windows style (like windows 98). I went to Display Properties and saw there Windows XP style was available in menu. I smiled, thinking - yes, here you are! But, as soon as i pressed Apply, I have got "historical" warning - "The visual styles could not be applied". It stayed in classic style..

If I understood well, I could try to repair instalation with XP cd, as last solution? Does the fact that on admin account I can at least see one (basic blue but not silver or olive) theme and at the other account I cannot switch to any (even not to official) XP theme say anything to you? What could cause it, whre could be the root of this..

Also, from your words I understood (maybe wrongly) that one should either forget about third-party themes and to use just those official (no tricks in themes area) or if one is already in my shoes he/she should simply forget about themes at all ("...before you figure out that you can live without themes.")?

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Maybe a clue there?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 26, 2013 1:06 AM PST
In reply to: another user account..

There is an issue with non-admin accounts and what we are discussing. Are you writing that the new account was not an admin one?

As to the shoes, I can only nod and hope for the best here. At least this install is working. Maybe not as glamorous but it is running.

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New moments
by grunfgrunf / February 26, 2013 1:15 AM PST
In reply to: another user account..

While I was searching for solution on internet I found out that someone solved similar problem as mine by stopping and starting "themes" process. I tried to do it today. When I stopped it my blue XP style disappeared so I got classic windows taskbar and windows. I tried to start themes process again and I got warning - unable to start.. and something about svchost.. So I tried to start it again, that time I didn't get any warning but classic theme stayed on the screen. So, I couldn't got back to blue XP theme, I have got situation which i had at new user's account.

It seems its all about themes process, somethings is blocking it to do its job well.. Or maybe that process is somehow corrupted... Any ideas?

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When you stop the process or service.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 26, 2013 1:20 AM PST
In reply to: New moments

It's not a sure thing it will start again. You may have to reboot.

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after reboot
by grunfgrunf / February 26, 2013 7:01 AM PST

I restarted PC and I have got the same faulty XP style, blue, liek it was before. I wonder why themes process cannot be started again if its stopped once, so I thought it could be something with that process which prevents me to use themes. In other words, how to 'repair' process...?

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Good question.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 26, 2013 7:17 AM PST
In reply to: after reboot

I do the repair install but then again I can backup before I do that, restore from backup, do it on a cloned drive, in other words seem to have the tools to work the issue.

In your case you want a cure but from what I've seen, it's not this or that that breaks.

Good hunting,

PS. As to your question about themes process can't restart. You know who knows. Since the code is secret, so is the answer.

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by grunfgrunf / February 26, 2013 11:30 PM PST
In reply to: Good question.

Maybe I didn't get it right (my english...) - you mean I should make clone - copy with some software like Acronis, on separated hdd or partition? And then I should repair that installation, not original one? Sorry if I got it wrong...

"PS. As to your question about themes process can't restart. You know who knows. Since the code is secret, so is the answer."

Blush I see... I think it would be a bit tricky to find guy/crew who wrote all those codes, to ask them.. And its XP, not Win 7 or 8, who would bother...
Joke joke Wink

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About the Acronis question.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 27, 2013 12:34 AM PST

You wrote "you mean I should make clone - copy with some software like Acronis, on separated hdd or partition? And then I should repair that installation, not original one?"

I use Clonezilla to do that. Since this works so well I can restore from an image that is in a folder on some USB HDD. I don't have to use an entire drive to hold the clone and can put a few copies out there for me to restore from.

Your choice to clone the entire drive and operate on original or copy.

PS. I see you see the double secret probation issue with source code of Windows or "why does that happen?"

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