Advanced Appearance

How to Change the Advanced Appearance Settings in Vista
This will show you how to change the Advanced Appearance settings that affect the size, color, and text for all windows in Vista.
How to Change the Advanced Appearance Settings in Vista

information   Information
This will show you how to change the Advanced Appearance settings that affect the size, color, and text for all windows in Vista.

Here's How:
1. Right click on a empty area of your desktop and click on Personalize. (See screenshot below)​

2. Click on Window Color and Appearace. (See screenshot below)​

3. Click Open classic appearance properties for more color options. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: If the color scheme Windows Aero (All Vista editions except Home Basic) or Windows Vista Standard (Only Vista Home Basic) is not running, then you will not see this screen. Instead you will see the screen below step 4 instead. To change the clor scheme, see: How to Change the Color Scheme in Vista
A) Click on a color you want to use for the windows, Start menu, and Taskbar.​
B) Adjust the Color intensity by sliding the bar to the left to decrease the intensity and to the right to increase the intensity.​
NOTE: If the Color intensity is set to far to the right, then the window borders and taskbar may be to dark to be transparent if enabled.

4. Click on the Advanced button. (See screenshot below)​
NOTE: The Windows Aero color scheme is not available for the Vista Home Basic version. The Vista Home Basic edition will have the Windows Vista Standard color scheme instead.

5. You will now see the Advanced Appearance settings window.​
Advanced1.jpg Advanced2.jpg

6. To Change a Window Item Setting : (See screenshots above)​
A) To Select a Item - Click on the Item drop down menu and select a window item you want to change.​
NOTE: You can also click on the different displayed windows at the top of the Advanced Appearance window to select a Item to.
B) To Change the Item Size - Change the Size number to what you want.​
C) To Change the Item Color - Click on the Color 1 and Color 2 drop down menu and select a color.​
NOTE: The Color 1 and Color 2 refer to items like the title bar and how it fades from Color 1 to Color 2 across the bar. However, the color change will only work in the Windows Classic theme. See: How to Change the Color Scheme in Vista

7. To Change the Font Settings for the Selected Item - (See screenshots below step 5)​
NOTE: The font settings that are grayed out are not available with the selected color scheme. See: How to Change the Color Scheme in Vista and How to Change the Default Vista Fonts
A) To Change the Item Font - Click on the Font drop down menu and select a font. (See screenshot below)​
B) To Change the Item Font Size - Click on the Size drop down menu and select a number for the size. The higher the number, the larger the size.​
C) To Change the Item Font Color - Click on the Color drop down menu and select a color.​
D) To Have the Item Font in Bold - Click the B button to highlight it. If it is not highlighted, then the font will not be in bold.​
E) To Have the Item Font in Italic - Click on the I button to highlight it. If it is not highlighted, then the font will not be in italic.​

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until you change all the Items you wanted.​
9. Click OK when done. (See screenshot below step 5)​
10. Click OK to apply. (See screenshot below step 4)​
11. Close the Personalization window. (See screenshot below step 3B)​
That's it,

Related Tutorials

Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink


Hey Shawn,
I have been having a problem with getting my Vista color changer to appear. When I click the "change the color scheme" button, my computer always bypasses step 3 and goes straight to step 4 even though I am in Windows Vista Basic. It stopped going to the Vista color changer quite some time ago but I didn't know what to do. My screensavers also stopped being see-through.
Any suggestions? I'd appreciate any help I can get!
Hi Kelly,

Welcome to Vista Forums. :party:

In the Vista Home Basic version, you will not have the Transparency or Flip 3D feature since that is part of the Windows Aero color scheme. :(

To see the color screen again, you will just need to change the color scheme back to Windows Vista Standard andnot the Windows Vista Basic one.

Hope this helps,
Thanks for the quick reply, but I actually have the Windows Aero scheme and I am missing the Windows Vista Standard. I guess that means I don't have the Vista Basic Home (which I wasn't really sure about).
I have just changed to Windows Aero but I still don't get the color scheme, so is there anything else you can suggest?

You can see which edition of Vista you have by right clicking on the Computer button in the Start menu, then click Properties.

Not sure why you would not be seeing it, if you are running the Windows Aero color scheme. Did you see if restarting the computer helps any?

You can see if doing a System Restore using a restore point dated before the problem started will fix it.


Try a Repair install. This will allow you to repair your Vista installation and keep your user account files, settings, and programs.

Hey that did it!! I restarted and there it was. And I also learned another new trick, how to change the name of my computer. I bought this computer used so it always had another name and I had tried a lot of things to change it but nothing worked. So thanks for all your help :D
Your welcome Kelly,

I'm glad that that you were able to resolve your problem.

Have fun,
Hello moderators!

I have a Vista Home Premuim-32bit.. I used to switch automatically between color schemes every time i start using Adobe Photoshop but then I'm able to revert back to Aeoro-or transparent- color scheme..but this time after using the photoshop, i couldn't revert my color scheme, i tried following this toturial but I'm not seeing the same instructions on my PC...what could be the problem? I'm updating my system all the time.:confused:

I would like to know if somebody else is having the same problem as me and if you can help me with that. I'm using the Windows Vista Basic colour scheme so I have to change things through that XP style advanced settings. My problem is that it doesn't matter which colour I chose for the active title bar or window border, in the end they will remain with the default blue colour. I have tried restarting and it didn't work. :mad:
Do you know if there are any registry entries that I can force in order to get the colours I want?
Something this simple should be fairly easy to change, I just don't get it.
Hello SittingDuck, and welcome to Vista Forums.

I believe you have to be using either the Windows Aero or Windows Classic color scheme for that item color to stick.

Hope this helps,
Hi Brink,

Since my laptop doesn't support Aero (that damn Intel 910/915 chipset) and I don't want to go back to a windows 2000 look, I think I will have to keep the default colour scheme. Thank you.
I'm sure this sounds pretty dense, but is there anywhere that shows exactly WHERE each item on the drop down menu of the "Advanced Appearance" dialog box makes a change? Most of it is self-explanatory, but there are a few that I can't really tell all the places changes are made. An example: How do you change the COLOR of the desktop icons? Is there a diagram or list describing each item? Thanks for any help...:o mona
Hello Mona, and welcome to Vista Forums.

Usually you must be using the Windows Classic color scheme instead in order to change a listed item's color settings.

Hope this helps,
Thanks for your really, really quick reply.. I knew I didn't format my question properly.. Let me try this: From "Control Panel", choose "Window Color and Appearance" > "Appearance Settings", then choose "Advanced" > "Advanced Appearance" box, then..... click "Item" for drop-down list.... My question is: Is there a chart or something that says exactly what and where each thing on the list affects? One example is: Which item sets the desktop icon TITLE COLOR?

Little by little, I'm learning to adjust different aspects of the visual experience, but this one has me stuck!

Another {MUCH less important to me] is the "x" in the upper right of a window... MOST of the time, I have no problem adjusting the size of it - and, I keep them pretty large - usually 26 to 28, but lately, I've noticed that SOME windows have tall, skinny "x"'s - usually it is the "bottom" window in a stack... the ones on top have normally-sized "x"s.. Any thoughts?

I do hope I explained my question a little better.... if not, then I'm hopeless... Thanks, again... mona :sleepy: ps I don't know who set up these smileys, but I'm one of the goofballs that love them!! Except for the ones that have bad things attached and mess up the computer when you download them.. :cry:
I do not know of anywhere that has these items listed with full details on them. However, you can use the free program D-Color to easily change the desktop icon text color like this though.

Not sure about the X issue though. :(
I know it's been awhile since this forum was active but I'm hoping someone can help. In the last few days, my font display has changed and Google searches in Chrome or Firefox give me results where the fonts look gappy and sometimes look like there are dots above the letters. I uninstalled the most recent Windows Update but this didn't help.

I've also tried to do system restores but four attempts now equal four failures and the error message just says that there was an unexpected error.

I changed colours and themes without success and in the advanced settings anything with a font is set as Segoe UI. Would changing any of these help?

Any help you can give is much appreciated.