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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:25 pm 
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Posts: 47
Hi,

I'm attempting to build my first skin file, an as-authentic representation of the Windows 10 theme that I can.

My plan is to set up the current Metro theme with the correct settings, then use the Skins tutorial to somehow bake those settings into a file, along with any other relevant settings, which I can then distribute.



To start with, I've saved the settings from the Classic Start Menu settings UI as an XML file:

Code:
<Settings component="StartMenu" version="4.2.4">
<MenuStyle value="Classic2"/>
<Computer value="Menu"/>
<Documents value="Hide"/>
<UserFiles value="Menu"/>
<UserDocuments value="Menu"/>
<UserPictures value="Hide"/>
<ControlPanel value="Menu"/>
<Network value="Menu"/>
<Printers value="Hide"/>
<Undock value="0"/>
<Search value="0"/>
<ShowAppsMenu value="1"/>
<Help value="0"/>
<Run value="1"/>
<HideProgramsMetro value="1"/>
<PinnedPrograms value="FastItems"/>
<RecentPrograms value="None"/>
<StartScreenShortcut value="0"/>
<PreCacheIcons value="1"/>
<DelayIcons value="1"/>
<SearchBox value="Hide"/>
<SmallIconSize value="16"/>
<LargeIconSize value="24"/>
<MaxMainMenuWidth value="100"/>
<MaxMenuWidth value="60"/>
<OverrideDPI value="96"/>
<MainMenuAnimation value="Fade"/>
<MainMenuAnimationSpeed value="100"/>
<SubMenuAnimation value="Fade"/>
<SubMenuAnimationSpeed value="100"/>
<MenuShadow value="0"/>
<EnableGlass value="1"/>
<GlassOverride value="1"/>
<GlassColor value="0"/>
<GlassOpacity value="90"/>
<SkinC2 value="Metro"/>
<SkinVariationC2 value=""/>
<SkinOptionsC2 value="E55CEDD3|C26EAF5D|86F3669C|5225DC46|5D3248DC|1FC64124|33C166BF|6EDFA36A|"/>
<EnableStartButton value="0"/>
<SkipMetro value="1"/>
<CustomTaskbar value="1"/>
<TaskbarLook value="Glass"/>
<TaskbarOpacity value="100"/>
<TaskbarColor value="2565923"/>
<OpenMouseMonitor value="0"/>
</Settings>




My questions are:

  1. Are these settings represented in the .skin /SKIN resource node, or is that separate?
  2. If not, is there any way to set these defaults, other than save and load from an XML file?

Cheers,

Dave


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:40 pm 
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The settings in the XML are mostly independent of the skin. Most of the settings control the behavior of the menu. Some of the settings are related to the skin (show frames, use large font, etc). Basically the skin determines what settings exist and the XML determines what the current choices for them are. If you want a very specific skin you don't even need to have any skin settings.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:33 am 
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OK, thanks, I get that.

A bunch of additional questions, if I may:

  1. Is there any way to make the start menu to stay open when developing?
  2. How do I reload / update the current skin when it's recompiled?
  3. Adding a new bitmap (as per the tutorial) adds a new PNG node to the tree. How do I reference the new bitmap in the SKIN node? (I'm trying to update the menu arrows; right now I can only reference other numbered icons)


And a couple on the tools:

  1. The "Find" functionality in Resource Hacker seems to be broken (the cursor doesn't move). Is it broken?
  2. I have Visual Studio 2015 and the skin is listed as an ASP.NET skin, but opens as text. Something I should be doing?
Cheers,
Dave


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2015 8:20 am 
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1. No, the start menu closes when you click somewhere else.
2. You can edit the skin while it is in use. Then just press the Win key to see it. If the timestamp is changed, the menu will reload it.
3. Don't use PNG, you need to use bitmaps. The SKIN text refers to the numeric ID of the bitmap resource.

1. I don't know.
2. You need to open the file as a resource. File -> Open, then select the file, then use the dropdown next to the Open button to select to open as a resource.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:16 am 
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About the "Find" feature in Resource Hacker.

Resource Hacker went through a few update revisions in the last while.
Came accross the find not working the way it used too, as well.
I went back to Version: 3.6.0.92.
It's buggy as well, still it's all one needs to do simple text changes to script, and replace, add menu bitmaps.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:08 am 
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Yeah, it's a shame! Still, a one-man project, so I know how hard it is to find the time to fix everything.

I couldn't find that version directly online, and I'm cautious about downloading from all these software sites that make you use their garbage-ware bundled installers, would you mind posting a zip?

Cheers,
Dave


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:32 am 
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Ivo wrote:
2. You can edit the skin while it is in use. Then just press the Win key to see it. If the timestamp is changed, the menu will reload it.



Ah, that's helpful information.

For some reason, my Windows 10 is not updating the modified attribute of the skin file (I can confirm it is being saved) so Classic Start is not updating.

I have to run cmd.exe as Administrator and touch the file each time I want to see an update.

Getting there slowly...


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:37 am 
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Ivo wrote:
3. Don't use PNG, you need to use bitmaps. The SKIN text refers to the numeric ID of the bitmap resource.



Got this working now, thanks.

On a related note (useful info if someone is searching) to have 32-bit bitmaps actually use an alpha channel, you have to manually create it from a selection.

This can be done by selecting the areas you want to be opaque (Magic Wand or CTRL+click layers) then use the "Save selection as channel" button on the Channels palette.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:42 pm 
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Sorry, very late to respond.
Here is old version of Resource Hacker.


About icons in second column.

Way back, about six months ago,
I was able to force icons to appear in the second column of Windows 7 menu style,
along with the standard user picture/large icons at top center.
Am unable to get it to work anymore with new versions of Classic Shell.
Too bad.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 5:30 pm 
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Hey Juniper,

Thanks so much for that :)

I actually got some great advice to use the Customize Start Menu tab to customize icon bitmaps, which works fine for me. Bitmap paths are also saved to the Backup XML files, which makes it really easy to edit. Check out my custom Windows 10-style icons:



Looking pretty sweet :)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:28 pm 
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Yes, the icons do look sharper.:)
I recall other people who wanted that look before, as well.
Did you just put them all in a personal folder referenced with xml file,
or was there some dll system hacking?

Now if only someone could figure out the real Win10 menu.
How to get that combination clear 1 pixel transparency menu border, with blur glass inside the main menu.



Addition. The icons I was talking about, were in the Win7 look menu, not the classic two column, like yours.
Win7 style is pretty much locked down to keep the look of Win7.
Hasn't stopped us from trying though.:) Just tried my last attempt to get the icons and middle icons to work, still failed.
Did find out that I can get my user name to show up under certain circumstances. Time to give up now.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 8:35 pm 
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I did manage to get the icons into a dll, but apart from feeling more "packaged" there's really no advantage as far as I can see; in fact it comes with a major overhead of having to bugger about to get them in just the right format, insert them using Resource Hacker (which is not the friendliest) and worry about ordering and compilation.

I've found it's much easier to just export the icons from Photoshop, convert them using an app (or this online converter), then just reference the named files directly.

Having separate files will also make it easier to stick on Github and potentially have others contribute.


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