Vista personalization option (color) missing

Ninja Teddybear

Posts: 39   +0
I recently used ccleaner to clean all of my free space. I included the option of clearing cluster tips. Although I don't use this option all the time I have used it before with no ill effect. Once completed I rebooted my computer and discovered that the Aero theme was gone. I right clicked on the desktop to select Personalization but under the first option, Window Color and Appearance, the option for Color was missing. Under Themes the Aero theme is also missing. I did a search and discovered that all the Aero files are on my hard drive. When I selected it in the Theme option by browsing to the Aero theme it will not stay selected.

I've tried a number of things to correct this. I have scanned for viruses and spyware and found nothing. I have used sfc /scannow in safe mode and some errors were corrected. Unfortunately this did not solve the problem. I've also used chkdsk with no success.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I have used the Aero Theme on this computer for years so I know my hardware is capable of supporting it. I am using Windows Vista Home Premium with service pack two.


Posts: 4,315   +574
TS Special Forces
First thing I would try is reinstalling your video card drivers. Aero is not just a color, it is a transparency effect that relies on DirectX so if you are missing your video acceleration then you won't have Aero as an option.


Posts: 7,745   +828
TS Special Forces
You could try System Restore to a point before you used Ccleaner. It can always be undone if you don't like the result.

Ninja Teddybear

Posts: 39   +0
Forgot those options. I did download the most recent video card drivers as well as trying System Restore. I only had one restore point to try and it was corrupted in the process, I assume since I did not have enough free space available. When I tried the second time is when it said it was corrupted. I also tried Start up Repair but nothing was found to be wrong. Back to the video, my display settings are set for colors at 32 bit (Highest) and resolution at 1920 x 1200 pixels.


Posts: 16,314   +36
Yes oops! Big difference! Eraser overwrites the files, so why would you think System Restore would work? Once you overwrite, the files are GONE!

Suggest you carefully go through options for Eraser. I have used the program for many years to my advantage. If you really want to use Eraser to the fullest advantage, get this program first:

You will have to pay for this program. Use The Ultimate Troubleshooter (TUT) within it to get full access to all parts of the system> Startups, TaslList, Services, can all be controlled from one screen.

There is a Housekeeping utility in it you can use to delete processes in each category and send them to the Recycle Bin. Once there, do a right click on the Recycle Bin and choose whichever over-writting sequence you want from Eraser. I'm working from a 6 year old laptop and by combining these features, I have 81% of my resources free!

I stick to only using the right click context menu for Erasure and haven't lost anything I didn't want gone.

Ninja Teddybear

Posts: 39   +0
Thanks for your input Bobbye. If I ever can scrounge up the money and have a credit card I'll look into that program. However, I've done that before with Eraser and have not experienced this problem and, as mentioned in a later post, System Restore did work until it tried to use more disk space than I had available.

Meanwhile, I still have the original problem.


Posts: 16,314   +36
Try the help here: Windows Vista: Troubleshooting problems with Aero.

(I looked at your earlier logs to see if I could fin info re graphics card. Found following instead)
And since you were trying to clean free space when the problem began, here are some entries you may want to have a look at. They are from the Mini-Toolbar scan you ran previously. Lots of free space being taken here as well as the vulnerabilities from outdated security programs:
Remove all but most current version:
Ad-Aware (Version: 9.0.1)
Ad-Aware (Version: 9.5.0)
Ad-Aware (Version: 9.6.0)- keep
Keep the latest current version:
AVG 2012 (Version: 12.0.1901)> outdated>> current is AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 12.0.2126
AVG 2012 (Version: 12.0.2109)> outdated
AVG 2012 (Version: 2012.0.1901) Dup of outdated version
Eraser> shows 2 versions< keep current version
Eraser (Version: 5.86)> uninstall
Eraser 5.8.7 (Version: Eraser 5.8.7)> keep
Keep #1, 2, 3, 5, 7- uninstall #4, 6>>unless needed to 'build'
  1. Garmin Communicator Plugin (Version: 2.9.1)> keep
  2. Garmin MapSource (Version: 6.15.11)> keep
  3. Garmin TOPO Canada v4 (Version:> keep
  4. Garmin Training Center (Version: 3.5.3)> later update below> uninstall
  5. Garmin Training Center (Version: 3.6.5)> keep
  6. Garmin USB Drivers (Version:> later update below> uninstall
  7. Garmin USB Drivers (Version:> keep
UPDATE first, then remove all outdated:
Java 2 Runtime Environment, SE v1.4.1_02>> Java SE 1.4> Only developers and Enterprise administrators should download these releases.For production use Oracle recommends downloading the latest JDK and JRE versions and allowing auto-update.
Java Auto Updater (Version:> Check on this. There are later versions.
Java Web Start> usually for developer. Check link. Remove if not used.
Java(TM) 6 Update 20 (Version: 6.0.200)> outdated. Get V7U5 HERE
I know this 'builds' so check carefully. May be able to merge modules.
Visual C++ 8.0 CRT (x86) WinSXS MSM (Version: 8.0.50727.762)> shows twice
Visual C++ 8.0 CRT.Policy (x86) WinSXS MSM (Version: 8.0.50727.762)> shows twice
Visual C++ 8.0 MFC (x86) WinSXS MSM (Version: 8.0.50727.762)
Visual C++ 8.0 MFC.Policy (x86) WinSXS MSM (Version: 8.0.50727.762)

I stand corrected. I have Internet access when Zonealarm is off. But once Zonealarm is on I lose it.
Problem may be caused from these multiple entries for ZA:
There is one version of the Free ZoneAlarm that has both an antivirus and a Firewall. Since you have abundant AVG 2012, make sure you're not running the ZA AV also
ZoneAlarm Free (Version:> Current version of ZoneAlarm ZoneAlarm Free is
ZoneAlarm Firewall (Version:> did you use free version of firewall, then buy the full program?
ZoneAlarm Security (Version:
ZoneAlarm Spy Blocker Toolbar (Version:> spyware, tracking
ZoneAlarm Toolbar
You may want to look into these. lots of duplication: (Version: 1.6.65)
It is a group of online services such as files' exchange and storage, PDF converter, online word processor and web conferences, which take advantage of the PDF technology as well as Flash and Adobe AIR technology so as to offer people online experiences that go beyond the traditional productivity tools.
Adobe AIR (Version:
Adobe Flash Player 10 ActiveX (Version:
Adobe Flash Player 10 Plugin (Version:
Adobe Flash Player 9 ActiveX (Version: 9)> outdated, remove
Adobe Reader 9.4.7 (Version: 9.4.7)
deskPDF 2.5 Professional Edition
Some of the above may have been updated and some of the outdated versions uninstalled art the end of the malware thread. If they were not, they should be done now.
(Note: No spellcheck used)

Check you date and time settings:
Install Date: 09-04-22 8:42:19 PM
System Uptime: 12-01-16 5:16:28 PM

Ninja Teddybear

Posts: 39   +0
Thanks bobbye, I'll look into all that cleaning this weekend. I also went through all of the options in the link you provided at the top of your message. Some I had previously completed but this time I completed all actions from links that provided solutions. Still no success.

My graphics card and monitor are as follows:

NVIDIA GeForce 7500 LE [Display adapter]
Driver version:
Driver date: 12-05-15
HP L2445m [Monitor] 24.0"


Posts: 16,314   +36
Check to ensure that the Themes service is started, To do so:
  • Click the Start Orb> Run> type in services.msc
  • Click Continue if prompted by UAC
  • Locate the Themes service> Right Click> Properties
  • Set Startup type to Automatic
  • Start the service if it is not started
  • Stop and Start the service if it is already running
Exit Services
Noticing the Aero theme was missing after deleting and overwriting with Eraser isn't very good news.
The theme files are stored in the C:\Windows\Resources\Themes folder.
You have told us the Aero Theme is missing from here. Although you found some Aero files on the hard drive, they could be just 'left overs', not the correct or enough to run the full theme.
Unfortunately, there was only 1 restore point and I'm not sure what you mean by 'it was corrupted' but it didn't restore Aero.
The GeForce 7500 LE is an OEM GPU and is like the 7300 GS based on the G72 core.
You again mentioned not having enough space. You need to deal with all those duplicate, redundant and outdated program entries, make sure System Restore is set to work and has sufficient 'space' to save the restore points.

Ninja Teddybear

Posts: 39   +0
Themes in Services is running as it should be as is Desktop Window Manager Session Manager, which some googled posts related to my problem has indicated should also be running.

Aero is missing from the Themes option in Personalize|Themes, not from it's proper place on the hard drive (C:\Windows\Resources\Themes ) and, regarding it being missing after the recent use of Eraser to overwriting free space ONLY. There were no files deleted with Eraser.
Here are all the Aero files on my hard drive

c:\Windows\Resources\Themes\Windows Classic.theme

The Restore Point was 'corrupted,' according to Windows, when I tried to use it a second time. The first time I used it there wasn't enough disk space available. After that experience I increased the hard drive to include an additional 30 GB. Tried then to use the Restore Point and that's when I got the message that it was corrupted. When I went back in to try Restore a third time, there were no Restore Points available.


Posts: 16,314   +36
I have something promising for you:

RE: Aero theme missing, vista theme were actually aero [SOLVED]
I feel like a dumb bass... as it turned out, Windows Aero is NOT A DESKTOP THEME, rather it is a COLOR THEME.

There are only two desktop themes: Windows Vista and Windows Classic.

To turn on/off Aero, I have to go to Personalize -> Window Color and
Appearance -> [Open classic appearance properties for more color options] if it is current aero -> choose between Windows Aero and Windows Vista Basic
from the list...

A direct quote from Jim at
Your 2 necessary Services are running.
The Aero files are present in the correct folder

I think you are trying to reset Aero in the wrong place.
Let me know.
I'd try it if I had a Vista machine, but only had Win Xp and Win 7.

Ninja Teddybear

Posts: 39   +0
I have selected Windows Classic in both the 'Theme' and 'Color and Appearance' sections and that's were the problem exists. When I click on Window Color and Appearance, the Color option is missing.


  • colour settings missing.jpg
    colour settings missing.jpg
    288 KB · Views: 9


Posts: 16,314   +36
I'm sure you already know that Aero should be listed in the Color Scheme section of the Appearance tab. Although the necessary Services are running, you said the color was set to High 32-bit and you have the Aero files, Aero isn't where it should be.

Apparently, Aero is a high resource guzzler- so I would like to revisit the excesses I outlined in my Reply #8.

You are pressed for 'space', including resources and I still encourage you to clean up those excesses before proceeding with the Aero problem.
In order to run Aero you need to have a high speed processor, at least 512 MB RAM, DirectX 9.0 compatible graphics card with minimum 128 MB RAM, and a high RPM hard disk.
Your recent overwriting of clusters:
“There is no chance of recovery with overwritten clusters. The bit density on hard disk drives is so great now that when the magnetics are rewritten, the data is gone,” he said. Barry is Ontrack's Remote Data Recovery Manager and has 10 years of experience recovering files for private business as well as government agencies.

So something happened when you overwrote those clusters. Even if you've done that before, it had bad results this time.

Files can be moved, so can the Aero files you found on the hard drive
Right click on the Aero icon> Properties (if you have it.) Does it look like this?

I m not familiar with this site. But my Site Advisor allows the load with no comment:
Downloding the Aero.Rar file:
  • Download the Aero.Rar to the desktop
  • Open the Rar and save the file to the Windows/resources/themes folder.
  • Follow any online prompts

Ninja Teddybear

Posts: 39   +0
My Aero.Theme is identical as what you show with the exception of the time stamps being different, although the date stamps are identical. After downloading and installing the Aero.rar I now have a Windows Aero color scheme in Window Color and Appearance and all is back to normal. Thanks for your help.


Posts: 16,314   +36
Well that is good news! Must have been very frustrating. Glad I could help.

I would be remiss if I didn't encourage you -again- to handle the redundant and out of date files.

Be sure System Restore is turned on. A restore point can be like gold when you get in a fix! And you can set a restore point whenever you want- you don't have to wait for the system to do it.
The same thing happend for me. Please give me a solution for this. for me, just the Windows Classic themes are there. You can see the problem's picture HERE. Please give a solution