EFanZh’s Blog

Enable visual styles on existing applications

Some old application doesn’t enable visual styles by default. But you can add an extra manifest file to the application’s executable file to enable the visual style.

First, write a manifest file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?>
<assembly xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" manifestVersion="1.0">
  <dependency>
    <dependentAssembly>
      <assemblyIdentity type="win32" name="Microsoft.Windows.Common-Controls" version="6.0.0.0" processorArchitecture="*" publicKeyToken="6595b64144ccf1df" language="*"></assemblyIdentity>
    </dependentAssembly>
  </dependency>
</assembly>

Assume the mainifest file is “app.exe.manifest” and the executable file is “app.exe”, you can use “mt.exe” to add the manifest file to the executable file:

mt.exe -manifest "app.exe.manifest" -outputresource:"app.exe"

If the executable file already contains a manifest, this operation will replace its original manifest. If you don’t want to lose the original manifest file, you can merge the new manifest with the original manifest using following command:

mt.exe -manifest "app.exe.manifest" -inputresource:"app.exe" -outputresource:"app.exe"

You may want to make a backup copy of the original executable file, in case something unexpected happens.