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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Windows 8 Aero Automatic Window Colorization

I like simple colors when it comes to my user interface in Windows. I do not need transparency, fancy color schemes, shadows and other effects. That’s why I use the Aero Basic theme and not the standard Aero theme.
But there are users who like the full blown Aero interface with everything enabled. The latest Windows 8 leak is probably after their liking. Microsoft has added an automatic colorization setting to the Windows Color and Appearance control panel applet which adjusts the window color based on the color of the background.

A dominantly green or pink desktop wallpaper image would be automatically matched with green or pink window colors in Windows 8.

Take a look at two sample images that demonstrate how the window color changes based on the desktop wallpaper. Click on the images for a full sized view.

Want that feature right now for your operating system? Then you may want to take a closer look at the Open Source application Aura which adds automatic colorization of windows to Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Take a look at the demonstration video first which shows how the window color changes depending on its position on the screen and the underlying colors.

Aura is simple to use and should work on all Windows editions that support full Aero. Just download the program executable from the project website, unpack it to a local folder and run the executable file.
Aura will automatically switch the coloring scheme which can be seen on all open windows. You can perform some tests by changing the background wallpaper of the system, or by moving windows on top of each other.
How is the program calculating the right window colors?
Aura is application that calculates average color of desktop background image or active window icon and sets it as Aero Glass color. It works like color hot-track in Windows 7 taskbar. Aura written in C# using WPF and Visual Studio 2010.
Aura has been recently released as a second beta, a final release seems immanent. The program needs the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 but has no other dependencies.

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