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  1. #1
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    Windows color setting in Time & Chaos software

    I have three computers running Time & Chaos 7 time management software. Two are Windows 7 64 bit, and one is XP 32 bit. All share the problem I will describe, and as shown in T_CApptColor.jpg, attached.

    When an appointment is set, the time column (left of attachment) changes color to a dark blue [appears to be R:0 G:0 B:255.] The black numbers are almost unreadable. I contacted Time & Chaos support, and they said this specific color stems from a highlight color setting in Windows. I went to Window Color and Appearance [Control Panel->Personalization->Windows Color] and changed the color of EVERY Item which had any variation of a blue color. But that made absolutely no difference in the dark blue color on the time column.

    Is there some other place that Windows sets colors that programs can access and use?

    This is really frustrating, so any help would be much appreciated.

    Harry
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    I downloaded and had a quick look at T&C7 running in Win XP x32 (so the following comments only relate to Win XP).

    The value of the colour you want to change is 0xFF0000 (I used AU3_Spy to check). This is not set by the Windows colour scheme (Display Properties > Appearance > Advanced > Advanced Appearance).

    I used InCTRL5 to track registry changes and T&C7 doesn't use it to store colour info either.

    The colour is not set in either T&C's colors.ini or theme.ini files, even though FF0000 appears in both. I changed this colour in both files and re-started T&C7 without any effect). (The colour remains the same no matter what theme is chosen.)

    AU3_Spy shows the colour is a property of a control labelled 'TPlannerGrid1', part of a form labelled 'TfrmMain' (so it looks like the program is written using Delphi). I suspect the property's colour is set programmatically to a custom colour rather than to any of Windows' control colours (for example in Win XP: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors).

    Unless anyone else has any ideas, I can only suggest you go back to T&C support to ask for further assistance.

    PS - Just to check, I also installed it in Win 7 x64... and it looks completely different. Here's using the 'Blue' theme in Win 7 x64:
    T&C7-Blue.jpg
    Click to enlarge

    What OS and T&C7 theme was your screenshot taken?
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-11-22 at 19:48.

  3. #3
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    Rick:

    Wow! You did a lot of work here. I have no idea what AU3_Spy or InCTRL5 are, so I trust your judgement.

    The screen shot I attached was T&C 7.0.4.5 on a Windows 7 64 bit computer. I use the Blue theme and the Cornflower Blue Timeline color. I tried various themes and Timeline colors, but none had any effect on this bright blue color. Like you, I also looked at each of T&C's *.ini files, and nothing I changed there affected this color.

    I get identical results on my 32 bit XP computer. On my Win 7 64 bit laptop, I get a slightly less intense blue.

    I got my designation of R:0 G:0 B:255 (#0000FF in hex) by using a color picker in Snagit Editor. Is what you call 0xFF0000 a hex color? My Color wheel says that #FF0000 is medium red (R;255 G:0 B:0).

    The color you got on your attachment (R:250 G:190 B:108, #FABE6C in hex) is about what I get when I run T&C 8, AND what T&C shows in their Help for Ver 7 {but their image is actually from a sister program, Intellect} [see attachment]. Their tech support said that they changed Ver 8 to handle the color on the timeline better, but say it is still set by Windows. (I have asked the question as to what sets this color multiple times, and in different ways, and all I am told is that it is set by Windows.)

    Hopefully someone else has an idea here.


    Harry
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    Last edited by hmw; 2014-11-23 at 00:57.

  4. #4
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    I can't find a no-nonsense download site for the free version of InCtrl5, can somebody point me in the right direction? Or, PM it to me, if that is allowed by the mods
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Hi Harry,

    I don't have Snagit Editor but re-did the test using a dedicated colour picker (instead of AU3_Spy) so we're comparing the same RGB/Hex values.

    Using T&C 7.0.4.5, 'Blue' theme and 'Cornflower Blue' timeline in Win XP Pro SP3 x32 using its default 'Windows Classic' theme (and no changes to any colours in 'Advanced Appearance') I get this:
    XP T&C7.jpg
    Click to enlarge

    As you can see, I now get R:0 G:0 B:255 (#0000FF), i.e. the same as you. (My apologies - AU3_Spy doesn't appear to show the colour values correctly.) However, I've still been unable to find a way to adjust it either through 'Advanced Appearance, the registry or T&C's .INI files.

    Using T&C 7.0.4.5, 'Blue' theme and 'Cornflower Blue' timeline in Win 7 SP1 Home Premium x64 using its default 'Windows 7' Aero Theme (and no changes to any Windows Color) I get this:
    T&C7.jpg
    Click to enlarge
    As you can see, I now get R:250 G:188 B:106 (#FABC6A), i.e. similar to you.

    T&C 8.0.6.9 looks completely different. I changed to the 'Blue' theme ('Timeline' is no longer used as far as I can see 'cos T&C 8 uses a graduated fill over the whole cell instead of having a timeline on the left of each cell... so I'm not too sure what tech support is referring to) and see this in XP and Win 7:
    XP T&C8.jpg <-- XP T&C8.jpg <-- Win 7
    Click to enlarge

    Sorry but... I still can't see a way to amend the colour you want changed.
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2014-11-23 at 12:08.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    @RolandJS - InCtrl5 was only available as a PC Magazine download but hasn't been available (legitimately) for at least 5 years.

    Try SysTracer or RegShot.

    Hope this helps...

  7. #7
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    Rick:

    After an hour or so of testing this morning, I think I have the T&C 7 time color figured out, but I don't know why. So perhaps you can add some thoughts.

    When I initially set up my Win 7 computers, I started with the Windows Classic theme that I use on my XP, and then changed the Window Color and Appearance Options to what I wanted. I saved it--call it MyTheme1. That gives you the dark blue entry in the T&C 7 time column--the same color as you see on your Windows XP.

    If, however, on my Win 7, I start with the Windows 7 Basic theme (not an Aero theme), THEN I get the burnt orange entry in the time column--the same color as you see on your Windows 7. I then went to Window Color and Appearance Options, and changed them all to what I have in MyTheme1. But there are still some settings and colors, like on the Windows task bar, etc. that I do not like, so this theme is not a solution for me. However, T&C 7 still has the burnt orange color. So clearly there are some colors that Windows uses that cannot be changed with the Windows Color and Appearance settings.

    T&C 8, however, displays the burnt orange even with Windows Classic and MyTheme1 settings. So they obviously changed something so that the burnt orange color will show even if one starts from the Windows Classic theme. I tried T&C 8, but they have 'improved' so many things (no Timeline color is one) that I do not find it useful, and have gone back to T&C 7.

    So your knowledge of how to sort through the innards of Windows would help here.

    SnagIt is a great tool for screen capture. I use it many times/day.


    Harry
    Last edited by hmw; 2014-11-23 at 12:40.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    I did a new check with Win XP and, you're right, the colours are controlled by themes, i.e. using the Windows Classic theme (%SystemRoot%\resources\Themes\Windows Classic.theme) shows the colour as R:0 G:0 B:255 (#0000FF) whilst changing to the Windows XP theme (%SystemRoot%\resources\Themes\Luna.theme) shows the colour as a graduated burnt orange.

    I modified the Windows XP (Luna) theme using Advanced Appearance then saved the new custom theme. When I opened the new .theme file in Notepad I could see that a [Control Panel\Colors] section had been added. However, none of the items correspond to the colour you wish to change. As a result I agree with you when you say that 'clearly there are some colors that Windows uses that cannot be changed with the Windows Color and Appearance settings'.

    I guessing (and I'm assuming the same goes for Win 7) that the colour you want to change is stored in the theme's .msstyles file and managed by the Windows Theme Manager API. To change it, I further guess you'll need a Theme Editor. Unfortunately this is beyond my experience and I have no idea whether it's even possible to amend colours within a theme to such a granular level.

    Sorry but I don't think I can help any more...

  9. #9
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Corbett View Post
    @RolandJS - InCtrl5 was only available as a PC Magazine download but hasn't been available (legitimately) for at least 5 years.
    Try SysTracer or RegShot. Hope this helps...
    Thanks, Rick! I should have caught on that InCtrl5 was not available except only from PC Magazine.
    I'm downloading the free versions of SysTracer & RegShot as I type this. Again, thanks!
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
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  10. #10
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    Rick:

    I had not tried these tests on my XP [only on my Win 7], but I just did them. And I got exactly the same results as you did in your 1st paragraph.

    I had already looked (on my Win 7) at modified .theme files which had a [Control Panel/Colors] entry, and these colors were not there. In fact, some of the [Control Panel/Colors] entries I could not find in Window Color and Appearance, and vice versa.

    I did a search for Theme Editors. The use of such tools is clearly beyond my capabilities.

    So I agree this is a dead end. I'll live with what I have, and it is too bad that Time & Chaos did not provide any help. They obviously knew about the problem with T&C 7, and fixed it in T&C 8, so one of their programmers knows where these settings are.

    Thank you so much for all the effort you put into this.


    Harry
    Last edited by hmw; 2014-11-23 at 23:57.

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