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Fix the ugly menu bar after applying a custom theme

Published: June 01, 2004
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After customizing and applying a desktop theme, you may notice that the menu bar in various applications is surrounded by white space, as shown in the figure below. This happens due to an incorrect UserPreferencesMask registry value.


  • Right-click My Computer icon, and choose Properties
  • Click the Advanced tab
  • Under Performance, click Settings
  • Click the Visual Effects tab, click Custom
  • Uncheck Use Visual styles on windows and buttons
  • Click OK to close the Performance Options dialog
  • Click OK to close the System Properties dialog

The screen will now turn into Windows Classic look. Now repeat the above procedure, but this time, enable the Use Visual styles on windows and buttons check box. The menu bar problem should be resolved now.

If that does not help, try this:

The following tip is from Tony Schreiner's Weblog

  • Open Registry Editor and navigate to this key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

  • Backup the key by exporting it. See here
  • Double-click the value UserPreferencesMask
  • Change the third octet of this key to 07
  • Logoff / Logon for the changes to take effect


If the value data is 90 32 05 80, change that to 90 32 07 80

The combination varies. You only need to change the third octet.