Vista Look

© 2006-2012 by Denis Sureau

Give to old programs the look of Windows Vista application
For Windows XP or Vista


This program is a graphical user interface to create Microsoft's manifest files.
Once the "Give Vista Look" command is given, if your program name is "program.exe", a "program.exe.manifest" file is created and it sits belong your program. Just run your program to view the newly rounded and shaded controls.
Works under XP and Vista.

Requirements and cautions

Vista Look runs only with Windows Vista or XP. Changes in your program (or any third-party program installed on your computer) work only with these versions of Windows. User of older versions of Windows will view only the old look, the manifest file is just ignored.
The Vista Look program and programs modified by it, require commctl32 version 6.0, that is assumed to be provided with all version of Windows XP and Vista.
Vista Look should work with 32 bits and 64 bits versions of Windows.
Do not modify the content of the manifest file. When the file is recognized, a bad content will prevent the associated program to run. But you can delete it with no problem. If ever the program refuses to run, just delete the manifest file.


The program is free and distributed under the Mozilla 1.1 license.
You can use it and distribute it freely. Do not change the copyright header and all copyright notice with author's name displayed by the program and documentation.
You can include Vista Look along with you own programs, to allow your users beautify themselves your programs if they want, providing the license and copyright infos are unchanged. Actually, including the manifest file should be sufficient and without problem.

The Vista Look screen

Each button and field on the screen has a popup window that describes its purpose, when the mouse stay up on it, and so understanding and using the interface is rather easy.

Input field

The text input field allows to enter the name of the program you want to change the look. You can click on the "browse" button at right to select the file on the disk


Give Vista Look

Create a manifest file for selected program.

Restore Old Look

Delete the manifest file.

Run The Program

View the result!

How it works?

Programs that are built by older versions of tools as Visual Studio or C Builder, have no information for Windows to use new components included in the last XP or Vista editions. But, you can give this information to Windows by providing a companion manifest file. This is just what Vista Look does.

Controls that are relooked

According to Microsoft, these controls are changed:




Does not work under Vista 32 bits

2007-10-08 13:06:38


Can not get this to work under vista 32bit, the look stays the old version, any idea? The manifest file is there in the directory, but it will not give the vista look, works ok for xp, but my 2 other vista machines, doesn't change for some reason john
2007-10-08 13:09:24


Maybe a privilege problem? (I have removed users control on the test machine). Try the code below (replace the code for the manifest file of your program). If a problem occurs, remove the file.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<assembly xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" manifestVersion="1.0">
<description>elevate execution level</description>
   <trustInfo xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v2">
            <requestedExecutionLevel level="requireAdministrator" uiAccess="false"/>
2007-10-08 13:11:20


yeah that file works ok for most of them, obviously aol must not like its software touched, as it doesn't work with that, strange as aol 9.0 down works, just not aol 9vr or 9.1