This article explains how to disable Windows themes in a .NET application to ensure uniform appearance across all versions of Windows.
A few months ago, it has come to my attention that Windows will paint forms and controls differently depending on the current Windows Theme that is active on the user's PC.
This does not end at a different window style or status bar, but actual colors painted differently. For example,
Color.Silver will look much lighter in the Windows XP theme than it would in Windows Classic. Under Windows Vista,
Color.Silver is almost white. Some colors disappear completely under Vista, and are painted as white.
So began my search for a way of turning off Windows themes in a .NET applications to allow for a more uniform look regardless of the developer's and the user’s PCs.
Using the code
In order to disable Windows themes, you actually need to reference a Windows API DLL uxtheme.dll and set the theme to nothing. I could not find an easier way to do this. There does not seem to by any property exposed on the application or form level that allows you to disable themes.
In order to make this process easier and to avoid pasting the same code in all of the forms in my application, I created a base form that contains the necessary code.
public class BaseForm : Form
[DllImport("uxtheme", ExactSpelling = true, CharSet = CharSet.Unicode)]
public extern static Int32 SetWindowTheme (IntPtr hWnd,
String textSubAppName, String textSubIdList);
SetWindowTheme(Handle, "", "");
Then, you simply inherit your form from the base form, and call the base constructor. (The call to the base constructor is actually not necessary since it is implicit.)
public partial class ExampleForm : BaseForm
public ExampleForm(): base()
Furthermore, in order to disable themes for your controls, you have to set the
FlatSyle of the control to
System and call
SetWindowTheme for that control.
rdoNonThemed.FlatStyle = FlatStyle.System;
grpNonThemed.FlatStyle = FlatStyle.System;
btnNonThemed.FlatStyle = FlatStyle.System;
SetWindowTheme(grpNonThemed.Handle, "", "");
SetWindowTheme(rdoNonThemed.Handle, "", "");
SetWindowTheme(btnNonThemed.Handle, "", "");
Download the solution above to see a working example.
- 2008-May-28 - Initial version, fixed download link.