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Change background colour in WP7 [How To]

A good majority of us has been intrigued by the white background and black live tiles combination of themes, not to mention choosing the color scheme of your device by hex values instead of a limited (but aesthetically pleasing) list. Thankfully diaahussein and rmcgraw have come up with a sweet little guide (especially convenient for us newbies).

You will need an unlocked device (read up on our Chevron team coverage) and have a registry editor installed. This process involves altering system settings on your phone and WPCentral cannot (and will not) accept any responsibility or liability for devices that end up continuously displaying the following image when booting up:

Head on past the break for the steps and a video tutorial by Saijo from 1800PocketPC.

Now onto the hacking goodness, you can alter either the dark or light themes (or leave either as default) and switch between the two when you desire.  So, you'll need to accomplish the following steps:

  1. Open up the register editor installed and go to: HKLM\ControlPanel\themes (HKML may be displayed as HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or LOCAL_MACHINE)
  2. Move into the 0 folder to edit the light theme or 1 for the dark theme.
  3. Change the respective keys (hex colour values) shown bellow (you must leave the "#FF" in when changing your colours, so black would be #FF000000 instead of #000000):

Dark Theme:

  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\1\Basethemecolor]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\1\TextHighContrast]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\1\TextBackGround]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\1\pageBackGroundColor]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\1\SysTrayBackGroundColor]

to change the font colour:

  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\1\TextNeutralColor]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\1\ListPickerBackgroundPre ssed]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\1\ContrastColor]

Light Theme:

  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\0\Basethemecolor]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\0\TextHighContrast]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\0\TextBackGround]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\0\pageBackGroundColor]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\0\SysTrayBackGroundColor]

to change the font color:

  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\0\TextNeutralColor]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\0\ListPickerBackgroundPre ssed]
  • [HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\0\ContrastColor]

To pick colors, use any hex code generator, a good one is ColorPicker (opens in new tab).

Source: XDADeveloper Forum (opens in new tab), via: 1800PocketPC

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

15 Comments
  • Better that image than one of the current inhabitant. Yikes.
  • Of course, one should be reminded that the Focus, with the SuperAMOLED screen, would use more battery if you setup anything other than the dark theme. I keep mine on the dark theme to keep my battery usage down.
  • Using the light theme doesn't use more battery if you're using a dark background/tiles. The theme name doesn't constitute battery usage, what you do to the theme aesthetically does.
  • My darn phone is like a prism of colors right now, due to change values and forgetting what I changed. Mango, teal, green, black, white. My phone is raping my eyes right now. Be careful when you make changes!This will get someone in trouble, because it doesn't really say EXACTLY what it's changing. Yeah, you may say, "well if you're **** around in the registry you should know what you're doing." Which is true, but still..
  • Oh Zero is LIGHT! One is dark. Confusing where it has Light Theme, followed by "HKLM\ControlPanel\themes\1\Basethemecolor]"
  • Oh that is rather confusing, let me fix that for you ;)
  • Not confusing at all for me, but when it's backwards from the actual link, someone may be like..YIKES! I never change both themes, just in case I totally **** one up.
  • With LG phones you can do this without unlocking your phone using the MFG app
  • Bush comment was completely unnecessary. Not cool.
  • nor the responses thereto!
  • Awh c'mon, chin up.
  • I'm normally not one to shy away from registry hacks, but this seems entirely too messy or hit-and-miss for me to bother with. I'll wait for a GUI editor so I don't waste an entire day tweaking my phone into a technicolor nightmare. Good post tho, hopefully someone will turn this into a UI post-haste.
  • hmm as a wp7 developer and programmer i'm just too lazy to do this tweak
  • I'm appalled! Why is there a picture of a chimp in this article?
  • What's with the tiles that say 'Games' or what have you, how do i do that?