../Windows/Window appearance/EppieHome
Eppie; app & gallery
An app, old, but loved too much to vanish:
Info & download
[*toptool:] Eppie(Desktop) is a great little app, that lets you replace your window-buttons (the max, min etc). Free, for Win 95/98/Me only - it lets you change the startbutton too. No full window skinner, but makes a great change, and foremost, uses very little resources (not even noticable, and never crashes).

Latest version of the page of Jeff Epstein, the developer, is here, but nothing on Eppie there. Jeff send us a copy that's compatible with Win Me and should run while running another shell (this is reported to be not working in all cases). And version 2.1 adds the ability to customize the scrollbar arrows! Get it here!!

You can customize the normal, pushed and disabled version of the minimize, maximize, restore, close and ?-button. It even settles itself in your Control Panel.

We really would like this program made compatible with Win 2k/XP. Jeff noted it would probably be hard to make some necessary changes, didn't have the time though.
Source & goal
Thanks to Amirul Shukry and Tres'ni we now have the source code, here (16 kB). Tres'ni also got us in contact with Jeff again, and he's willing to provide help, though he's not on a NTish platform. He also send us his old archive of themes, check out some below. So, anybody up to this task ?

Goal: we told you, it's unique, also for its smooth performance. We really think (almost) the ONLY thing that needs to be done, is make it run on mentioned platforms. If just that can be done, but functionality is left for what it is afterwards, we owe you.

Reconsidering that, we wouldn't want it to become more resource hungry, mostly. Some suggestions send to us, maybe improving without bloating the program, are:
  • Option to apply a theme at once,
  • Options to set sizes for the buttons from within the program.
The readme provided with the source has some great insights in the program (even for a non-coder :), some quotes from Jeff exchanged in mail with Tres'ni:

"Under the Win95 family, the 16-bit USER.EXE manages the frame controls. Because it's a 16-bit library, there's only one copy for the whole system, and it's mapped into the address space of all processes. EppieDesktop acquires the location of the USER.EXE data segment, and, based on the build number of the operating system, looks at particular offsets in that segment to acquire two separate data structures: a handle to the frame control DC, and a map of the coordinates within that DC that determines the extent of each image. (..) Incidentally, there's a lot of other stuff in the frame control DC that could be manipulated as well, including the images for radio buttons, check boxes, etc. If you get this technique working on NT, it would be really neat to extend the functionality to control those images, as well."

"Under the NT family, things are a little different. I don't know NT archictecture that well, but I'll explain what I do know: each process gets a separate copy of USER32.DLL, which handles window calls without thunking to 16 bits. I would suggest research into this, but I would I believe this entails is that each process has a separate copy of the frame control DC. Also, it would require somewhat more elaborate shenanigans to get access to each process's address space to acquire this information. It's not impossible, even without a Service, but it's tricky; I think WinInternals has some information on this. Also, if that is the course of action you plan to pursue, I would strongly recommend a disassambler called IDA, which is what I used initially to find my niche in USER.EXE."
Theme tips
No exact measurements for the buttons can be given, though standard they would be 16x14. But it depends on font(size) used for the titlebar, and can be set through your display properties manually too. So, take a screenshot and edit from there.

You can use different sizes, though. Setting the size different through your display properties will allow you to increase size, won't allow you to change x,y ratio. To do that, edit two string values, in the registry, at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics, "CaptionHeight" and "CaptionWidth" (defaults: -270). You'll need to logoff/logon to see changes (or use Eppie). One pixel is approximately 15 here, so -270 would be 18, de-/increase with 15. Note that later changes at your display properties set the proportions back. There's also two string values for the scrollbar (buttons), ScrollWidth and ScrollHeight.

A fake transparancy can be achieved by using the same color for (In)Active Caption Gradient and for the background. This can be used to create non-rectular buttons, align the buttons a bit different and/or have no button displayed for i.e. the disabled versions.

Switching between some themes ? At HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Eppie\EppieDesktop in the registry, there's a binary value called FrameControls, which holds the paths to your bitmaps, thus can be used to save your themes. A more conveniŽnt way is in development.

Then, tinker reports you can use Eppie with WindowBlinds as well: "the trick is to remove (or comment out) the 'border' and 'button' lines from the skin definition. Removing the 'border' lines is enough to make this work, but take out the 'button' lines too... just in case.
WindowBlinds runs faster with FAR better compatability. The 'Custom Color Dialog' window is my usual test. Try it. This works with versions 1.xx and 2.xx of WindowBlinds.
Downsides to this 'trick' are that WindowBlinds does not display the preview well (the borders are messed up) and SkinStudio will not allow you to edit the skin. No big deal in the day to day scheme of things."
Here's some sets to make your windows look really different (click preview to download). Most have a color scheme included, some, out of the old archive haven't. Also, check out some great sets by The Professor. And there's a couple more at ShellDepot :).

kepplah [3 kB]
[4 kB]
beaker [4 kB]
plastic [3 kB]
[7 kB]
[3 kB]
Johnny [Dots, 2 kB]
[4 kB]
tinker [14 kB]
[4 kB]
plastic [3 kB]
old set
kmr [5 kB]
[3 kB]
[KDE, 6 kB]
kmr (2) [5 kB]
kmr (2)

[3 kB]

[9 kB]
- Schmin 01 [3 kB]
schmin 01
- 98 Adv. [3 kB]
98 Adv.
- 98 Adv Trend [3 kB]
98 Adv Trend

- XP [9 kB]
Rafael Laguna
- Java [4 kB]

Want your set here too, please it! We do require, additionally, a .3dc file, maybe a readme, address and/or page to link to, if you want, and a screenshot (no .jpg please) would be nice. Sets with scrollbar images:

redblue [6 kB]
- BlackMeld [7 kB]

[11 kB]

[8 kB]
Elwin [8 kB]
- RedLetterEdition
EppieXP [22 kB]
[5 kB]
- Drops o'Aqua
Drops o'Aqua

[8 kB]

[12 kB]

- Silver [8 kB]

[5 kB]
kmr - exegone
[6.5 kB]
maxonico - platinum
[17 kB]
xp platinum

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