List of Windows visual styles

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Visual styles are sets of bitmaps and other graphics used to modify the Windows user interface, which have been introduced in Windows XP. They are more advanced compared to regular color scheme applied on top of the classic theme, which were used prior to Windows XP. Due to the inclusion of a desktop compositor, the behavior and effects of visual styles changed significantly in the Windows Longhorn and Windows Vista operating systems. They are self-contained in .msstyle files, which can contain several variants of a visual style. Visual styles are implemented in uxtheme.dll.

Name Appears in Finalized? Notes
Watercolor Windows XP (pre-releases only) No Also known as Business or Professional. Included in Windows XP build 2223 to 2419.
Sample Test Visual Style Windows XP build 2410 - 2419 No Internally known as Mallard
Luna Windows XP Yes Has four known variants, three of which have been shipped with the RTM.
Royale Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 Yes Variants of this theme include the unfinished Noir variant, the Zune theme and the Embedded theme from Windows Embedded 2009
Plex Windows Vista (pre-reset builds only) No Included in M3 - M6 builds
Slate Windows Vista (pre-reset builds only) No Included in M7 builds
Jade Windows Vista (pre-reset builds only) No Included in M7 builds
Windows Basic Windows Vista - present Yes Can't be enabled under normal circumstances since Windows 8.
Windows Aero Windows Longhorn M6 - present Yes Aero Glass removed in Windows 8.
Aero Lite Windows 8 - present Yes Known as "Windows Basic" in prerelease versions of Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 while it doesn't disable Desktop Window Manager.


Used by default in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2.


Hidden by default on Windows 8 RTM and later, and Windows Server 2016 and later. Used to implement the high contrast mode.