Skinning the Windows 7 Start Menu

...is driving me crazy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 by Mirsguy | Discussion: Skinning

Okay, so I kinda like the Windows 7 start menu; after all, on the surface it looks a lot the same as the Vista start menu.

But so far, I hate skinning it.

I'm having some problems, and I thought I'd see if anyone knows any solutions.

Problem #1

The item mouseover on the right hand side gets clipped on the top line. Now, I have the user pic hidden, and it seems like WB wants to reserve space for it regardless. Below, the picture on the left shows the clipping, while the pic on the right shows what the menu item is supposed to look like.

I have played with every setting I can find. The only solution I have found is to adjust the context margins on the right side places list, but that has it's own set of problems. It tends to make the start panel larger (ick) and it obviously and disgustingly pushes the right hand text down so the top 2 lines no longer line up. See below.

Problem #2

Okay, so this isn't part of the start menu, but still: I can't get the mouseover glow (shown below in the Corporate WB) to work in my skin. I have tried to follow the tutorial by DanilloOC, but to no avail.

Problem #3

I can't seem to get the new (expanding) parts of the start panel to work. Ultimately, everything still looks and works good, but if it's supposed to expand, then I want it to.

 

Anybody have any solutions?

First Previous Page 1 of 3 Next Last
Mirsguy
Reply #1 Wednesday, October 28, 2009 6:03 PM

And before anyone asks; yes, I have examined every W7 ready skin I could find, including Corporate, Diamond, and Aero Midnight.

Vampothika
Reply #2 Wednesday, October 28, 2009 6:32 PM

just wondering if lowering the top text margin would fix the sp item being cut off in the start menu? (as in dropping the font down so its not sitting so high)

2of3
Reply #3 Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:09 PM

It does, but he (rightly) would like to have his margins on the right to be the same as on the left. I could not find any way to stop the clipping short of setting your top margin to 30px same as you, Brian.

 

If I were you, I would contact Danillo directly as he seems to know the most about win7 skinning at the moment.

vStyler
Reply #4 Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:20 PM

There is no way to stop the clipping, thats how Aero is designed and I suppose what were going to be limited to without a little magic on Neil's part. Nice big dead area at the top of the start menu, wonderful. You'll notice all the SD skins are the same way.

 

As far as the glow, I haven't messed with it yet but if it is going to be overly complicated I won't be incorporating it into skins, having a yellow or orange glow on a skin thats a totally different color designed to have totally different mosuover colors, to me, looks bloody awful.

 

I would hope that we will, at some point get more (less restrictive) control of the start menu in the future, just as Vista went a step down , creativity wise from XP, now 7 takes us a step further down....imo.

 

Were going to end up with millions of plain rectangle start menu's plastered with textures as I see it atm.

2of3
Reply #5 Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:33 PM

As far as the glow, I haven't messed with it yet but if it is going to be overly complicated I won't be incorporating it into skins, having a yellow or orange glow on a skin thats a totally different color designed to have totally different mosuover colors, to me, looks bloody awful.

That glow color is related to the kind of application that is being opened and is hard coded into the OS as far as I understood talking to Dani. You can however control the shape of the glow using the taskbar button mask. You would have to ask him, though because I never got it to work (perhaps I totally misunderstood what he meant) I have also been unable to make the panel expand work correctly.

 

All this I will look closer at when I start the Win7 substyle of my latest WIP

vStyler
Reply #6 Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7:38 PM

It takes its color from whatever icon is showing in the taskbutton for the app. so basically one might do a blue and grey skin yet have blue, green , yellow, red, purple, pink and flipping violet glows all over the taskbar from colors drawn from each apps taskbar icon. You have to create a mask for the taskbar buttons to correctly show the glow, which in most cases is also going to affect\restrict taskbutton design.

Now to me.. and I may be crazy but to me, it's absolutely useless and contradicts the very point of skinning.

Might look good with Vienna spectrum, otherwise, sorry , I don't want a rainbow of colors glowing from one end of my taskbar to the other.

 

Another wonderful example of Win 7 \ Aero \ MS genius

 

Flash button... WAY blown out, barely legible with the white text....and I dont even think i caught it at its brightest point. 

 

 

Lastly, and hopefully, perhaps if we have to have a user icon to take up the space, then some control over the user pic holder would be nice, teal blue is lovely over a teal blue or black skin, and horrid over anything else.

 

Oh one more thing, not having control over shutdown\loggoff button horizontal positioning unbalances the start menu horribly too.

Mirsguy
Reply #7 Wednesday, October 28, 2009 11:33 PM

I could not find any way to stop the clipping short of setting your top margin to 30px same as you, Brian.

In my case it was 40.

As far as the glow, I haven't messed with it yet but if it is going to be overly complicated I won't be incorporating it into skins, having a yellow or orange glow on a skin thats a totally different color designed to have totally different mosuover colors, to me, looks bloody awful.

This is the opinion I was leaning toward as well. My regular mouseover button has a completely different style of glow, not to mention the lack of a rainbow.

If I were you, I would contact Danillo directly as he seems to know the most about win7 skinning at the moment.

I tried...  ...

Nice big dead area at the top of the start menu, wonderful.

Okay, so now the next question: We've established that (at least for now, without intervention from Neil) this is a lasting problem. Now, the XP and Vista versions of the skin look great w/o a user pic. So do I leave it off in 7 and accept the dead space, or do I stick it in there in the 7 ss to fill it up? Opinions?

vStyler
Reply #8 Wednesday, October 28, 2009 11:42 PM

gonna look bad either way imo.. I'd probably leave it off depending on how well it matched.. diff blue i know , but at least the skin is blue.

conversely we could all start cutting user pic sized chunks out of our menu's, wouldn't that look great. ?

 

I swear MS is trying to kill skinning as we know it.

 

Maybe it's time to start making Dreams or IP's for a living.

Mirsguy
Reply #9 Wednesday, October 28, 2009 11:49 PM

conversely we could all start cutting user pic sized chunks out of our menu's, wouldn't that look great. ?

You just gave me a really funny thought...

What if someone took a bite out of that part of the menu?

vStyler
Reply #10 Thursday, October 29, 2009 12:01 AM

I think Dani did that with corporate...sorta..I don't have it on XP so can't quickly check the design, however, while it looked good, seeing some kind of 'area' for it on every seven skin would get old quick.

In addition , you wouldn't be able to make it fit snug.. sure the user pic you could, buuuut... each icon in each icon package that appears on mousover all vary on horizontal placement and some, depending on the icon, and the package would end up not sitting right or hanging over whatever border or cutout that was put there.

 

 

 

bk13GarbageMan
Reply #11 Thursday, October 29, 2009 12:16 AM

Hey guys, I don't know anything about WB skinning.......but,  would it be possible to add a transparent section at the top of the start menu to offset the location of the user pic margins?????

Mirsguy
Reply #12 Thursday, October 29, 2009 12:22 AM

I was thinking more literally... LOL!

Mirsguy
Reply #13 Thursday, October 29, 2009 12:24 AM

Hey guys, I don't know anything about WB skinning.......but, would it be possible to add a transparent section at the top of the start menu to offset the location of the user pic margins?????

Might work, never experimented along those lines.

bk13GarbageMan
Reply #14 Thursday, October 29, 2009 12:28 AM

Might work, never experimented along those lines.

Well, start experimenting, I'm curious to see if I came up with a winner!

bk13GarbageMan
Reply #15 Thursday, October 29, 2009 12:31 AM

I was thinking more literally... LOL!

 

2of3
Reply #16 Thursday, October 29, 2009 4:18 AM

Well, start experimenting, I'm curious to see if I came up with a winner!

That just might work fred!

Give the top part of the startmenu say 30 to 40 extra pixels of extra blank canvas. It's worth a try anyway.

2of3
Reply #17 Thursday, October 29, 2009 4:46 AM

Holy Crap, Fred!

 

That works!

Here's what I did:

Added 30 pixels of blank canvas to my top part image (adjusted margins and height settings to compensate). I was then free to move my test margins on the right side up. I did 30 to test....trial and error will show you how little extra canvas you can get away with.

 

This will, of course give you issues with a larger gap when using taskbar on top.

Mirsguy
Reply #18 Thursday, October 29, 2009 8:54 AM

Cool! I'm definitely going to try it! Thanks, "Fred"!

vStyler
Reply #19 Thursday, October 29, 2009 9:10 AM

This will, of course give you issues with a larger gap when using taskbar on top.

 

yep

messiah1
Reply #20 Thursday, October 29, 2009 9:35 AM

Hey guys, I don't know anything about WB skinning.......but, would it be possible to add a transparent section at the top of the start menu to offset the location of the user pic margins?????

you know the garbage man in the dilbert cartoon that mysteriously shows up and offers genius advice...

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