I recently tried to force the windows classic theme via GPO to ensure a standard theme for all users. However, there were some issues with an application when we used the classic theme.

Before I was able to do that, I needed to enable the Themes service which I also did via GPO. We have this service disabled by default on our image.

When you disable this service, you get a theme which looks a lot like the classic one but there are apparently some minor differences.

I then stopped and disabled the service again and set the GPO, 'Force Windows Classic Theme' back to 'Not Configured'.

Ever since then the problematic application looks like this: after

But it used to look like this: before

As you can see, the buttons were not flat before applying the classic theme. I also copied a theme from an other machine where the buttons are not flat and tried to apply it onto my machine but it doesn't change.

Any ideas how I can change it back to the theme without flat buttons?

  • What version of Windows?
    – smwk
    Apr 11 '16 at 12:52
  • Don't apply the classic theme? If you're going to impose your version of the UI expect some some system tattooing since themes is a standard service. You may be able to more easily recover by reimaging.
    – Jim B
    Apr 11 '16 at 13:52
  • We use Windows 7. @Jim I think you misunderstood. This is not my own application or anything. I tried to use the windows classic GPO in order to apply the theme to every machine the user logs on. Luckily, I tried this only for our IT team and I'm the only one where the application remains in this flat design. I just can't figure out where you could set such a setting in windows 7.
    – mariu5
    Apr 11 '16 at 14:10
  • Looks like you are using the Windows Basic theme instead of Windows Classic.
    – smwk
    Apr 11 '16 at 14:19
  • I tested disabling the theme service and it seems if 'Windows Basic' was set before disabling the service it will continue to use it.
    – smwk
    Apr 11 '16 at 14:26

AFAIK disabling the Theme service will only disable Aero themes. So at some point you selected the 'Windows Basic' theme instead of 'Windows Classic'.

enter image description here

  • No, you can't apply aero (or any themepack) without te service, but support is in the OS. If you knew what keys to set and the values, you could enable aero. There is no known benefit to disabling the service. All you get is reduced functionality.
    – Jim B
    Apr 12 '16 at 1:12

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