UltraUxThemePatcher - Recover From Black/Grey Screen - Windows 8 / 10

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
  1. TheArkive's Avatar
    Posts : 12
    Windows 10 v1803 Build 17134.48
       29 Jan 2017 #1

    UltraUxThemePatcher - Recover From Black/Grey Screen - Windows 8 / 10


    Updated: 28 May 2018

    ANNOUNCEMENTS:

    For resolutions to issues relating to updating to Windows 10 v1803 please see this thread:
    VirtualCustoms Forum: Win 10 v1803 Build 17134.48 - update and theme issues [mostly RESOLVED]

    *** I have fixed 3 PC's with this method so far ***


    At first, when messing around with 3rd party themes in Windows, I thought the black/grey screen was a dead end. I actually recovered from it recently and wanted to share.

    This should apply to most if not all 3rd party windows theme reboot issues (UltraUxThemePatcher and UxStyle). I'll explain how I got this info at the bottom of this post, but for now let's get to the main point.

    You will need a boot disc to get you to the windows command line.

    You should be able to use your Windows 10 installation media (disc/USB). Just boot up to the first screen before you click NEXT to start the installation and press SHIFT + F10. You can get a command prompt that way (unless your install media has that feature disabled).

    If you can't do SHIFT + F10 with your Windows Install Media then you will need to use a boot disc. The links below will help you create one.

    Origin of boot disc image:
    Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK)

    WinPE = Windows Preinstallation Environment
    WinPE: Create USB Bootable drive

    All official Microsoft distributions.

    Tools for writing disc image to media:
    - Rufus for USB
    - ImgBurn for CD/DVD

    The issue is nothing more than the theme files themselves. Not Windows Update (not anymore - as far as UxStyle or UltraUxThemePatcher is concerned). If you check the changelog / FAQ for UltraUxThemePatcher you'll see its been fixed. As for UxStyle, it does everything in memory, so there's almost nothing to break/fix (except disabling Fast Startup - later in this tutorial).

    ============================
    ===== PART 1 =====
    Replace [offending theme] with default theme
    ============================

    NOTE: It is important to either already know, or be able to find out the exact name of the [offending theme].theme file you used before your system went to black screens on boot. Without this info, this tutorial won't be much help to you. In this tutorial I refer to the theme that broke your system as [offending theme].theme.

    POSSIBLE EXAMPLES:

    Super Awesome Theme Green.theme
    HUD Theme for Geeks Red.theme


    NOTE: The title of the theme on whatever forum you got it from might be different from the actual .theme file name. If you are confused, post a question and I will try to get to you as soon as I can. But I highly recommend you learn to use the command line and browse C:\Windows\Resourses\Themes. If you know how to use the command line to browse, then you are half way to being able to delete and copy/rename files as well, which is all you need to do to get your PC back without a full reformat.

    1) Boot from a boot disc (CD/DVD/USB) and get to the command line.

    2) Find out what your system drive letter is. It will most likely not be the C drive when you use a boot disk. Type the following command and see which drives exist on your system. I highly recommend you unplug all extra USB drives from your computer, unless you know exactly what you are doing. The more disk drives hooked in, the longer the list will be.

    COMMAND:

    wmic logicaldisk get caption,volumename

    Example result:

    Code:
    Caption  VolumeName
    
    D:       Something
    E:       Windows10
    F:       Something Else
    X:       Boot Disk
    If I named my C drive Windows10 then when using a boot disk, in this case it is the E drive. Make note of what your system drive letter is. It should be easy to spot. If you didn't use a custom name / volume label then look inside the Program Files / Program Files (x86) folders and check for software you remember installing. This will help you identify the correct drive letter.

    Here's a list of commands for looking around in drives and folders and how to use them. Always assume to press ENTER after typing each command. I will type commands in CAPS but note this is not necessary. I only do this for clarity.

    To make the E drive active.
    E:
    Use any other letter to make that drive letter active. The drive letter must exist in order for this to work.

    To list the contents of a drive or folder:
    DIR

    To go into a folder...
    CD FolderName
    Example:
    CD Windows

    To go into a folder with spaces in the name...
    CD "Folder Name"
    Example:
    CD "Program Files (x86)"
    Example 2 - the drive can also be specified when going into a folder:
    CD "C:\Program Files (x86)"

    3) Navigate to the following directory:

    Replace Z with your system drive letter in the following examples.

    Z:\Windows\Resources\Themes

    COMMANDS:

    Z:
    cd\
    cd windows\resources\themes

    4) Make note of the [offending theme].theme file name (don't misspell it!)

    NOTE: Hopefully you remember the last theme you tried before everything when belly up.

    5) Delete the [offending theme].theme file (but remember the file name!!!!)

    COMMAND:

    del [offending theme].theme

    6) Copy the aero.theme file and rename it to [offending theme].theme

    COMMAND:

    copy aero.theme "[offending theme].theme"
    (chances are your theme will have spaces, so use quotes)

    ============================

    This may be enough for some people. If you already disabled Fast Startup, try restarting normally into windows and change your theme back to default. You may notice artifacts from the previous malfunctioning theme. They will go away once you use the GUI to set the windows theme back to default.

    If you did NOT disable Fast Startup, or if you just updated Windows and cannot log in, keep reading.

    I could not even get into Safe Mode with the [offending theme] still active. Make sure you complete PART 1 above first before proceeding.

    Since Win 8/10 won't allow you to start in Safe Mode with F8 anymore, here's how you get into Safe Mode, and then disable fast startup:


    ============================
    ===== Hopefully this works =====
    Before going on to Part 2
    ============================

    1) Start your PC

    2) as soon as you see the spinning dots, force shutdown by holding the power button

    3) this should trigger a "Repair Mode" of sorts, if not, then after forced power down, power up again - wait for spinning dots - force shutdown by holding power button - do this at least 3 times until you get a msg stating you are entering "Repair Mode" (or something like that)

    NOTE: If none of this works and you can't get into repair mode, continue on to Part 2.

    IF YOU ARE NOW IN SAFE MODE and have NOT disabled FAST STARTUP.....

    4) Run attachment below: Fast Startup - Disable.7z / mirror link
    or
    run this command on the command line:

    REG ADD "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Power" /V HiberbootEnabled /T REG_dWORD /D 0 /F

    -=-=-=-= OR =-=-=-=-

    If you are coming from a windows update that prevents you from logging on, if you made it this far into safe mode, you should see some kind of full screen text animation talking about all the "wonderful" udpates. Once you finally see your desktop again, you should be good to go back into windows normally (just restart). You may have to update your components, like UltraUxThemePatcher, in order to resume normal functionality. With any luck, you are now done.

    ============================
    ===== PART 2 =====
    Force Safe Mode and disable Fast Startup
    ============================
    NOTE: These settings are "permanent" and will have to be undone via command line when done (shown at the end).

    1) Boot via disc (CD/DVD/USB) and get to command prompt.

    2) Type BCDEDIT to display your current boot info.
    - Look for an entry that says Windows Boot Loader
    - Given the boot disc i used my boot records showed up named as {default}. Look for a line that says:

    identifier {something_here}

    the {something_here} is the identifier
    ============================
    the point is to find out what your {identifier} is

    in my case, via boot disc, it was {default}

    replace {default} with your {identifier} as necessary in the commands below
    ============================

    NOTE: If you see multiple instances of Windows Boot Loader, don't worry. If you modify the wrong boot record, you won't break much if anything. You can always undo the changes (later in this tutorial). Just keep in mind that you modify a specific boot record by using its {identifier}. Generally, the {identifier} you need to use in this case should be {default}.

    3) Run commands to force safe mode on next boot:
    COMMANDS:

    bcdedit /set {default} safeboot network
    or
    bcdedit /set {default} safeboot minimal

    NOTE: I needed network safe mode to look up instructions for disabling Fast Startup, but I've included that in this tutorial! Safe Mode is the only way to boot up a system affected by "black screen" issues (after completing PART 1 above) so that you can actually disable Fast Startup and finally tell your system to stop loading the previously saved system state that has your "black screen" issues bundled in it.

    4) Reboot normally into windows. Safe mode will be forced without prompt. Assuming you completed PART 1 above, you should be able to see the interface just fine instead of black/grey screen. You may see some artifacts remaining from the [offending theme]. You won't be able to change the theme in safe mode. But you can disable Fast Startup (tutorial by Brink). The info in that tutorial is included in this one.

    5) Run attachment below: Fast Startup - Disable.7z / mirror link
    or
    run this command on the command line:

    REG ADD "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Power" /V HiberbootEnabled /T REG_dWORD /D 0 /F

    6) Disable safe mode:

    COMMANDS:

    bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot

    (doing this in safe mode, and not from a boot disc, means your {default} configuration is now referred to as {current})

    7) Reboot normally into windows.
    ============================

    Now you should be back to a functional system state.

    ============================
    ===== PART 3 =====
    How to prevent this... or make recovery easier
    ============================

    Coming across a malfunctioning theme, or one that isn't compatible with your setup / windows version / etc, is inevitable. You won't have to do all of these things listed below, just make sure you take into consideration your current setup.

    Here's how to make future recovery easier:

    1) TURN OFF Fast Startup!!
    Pretty much mandatory for all serious theme enthusiasts. This is a system setting and affects all user accounts. It only needs to be disabled once (per install).
    I've mentioned this several times in this post, and for good reason. Fast Startup will save your previous system state, errors and all. Not good for themes, or any kind of tinkering under the hood in Windows. Any issues with UltraUxThemePatcher and UxStyle should almost completely disappear after you disable Fast Startup. Disabling Fast Startup will allow your system to completely refresh new settings as needed on every new boot and therefore your recovery from malfunctioning themes will be much more assured if it is off. The one thing that can't be fixed by disabling Fast Startup is an incompatible/faulty theme.

    2) Setup a backup user account (with or without passwords).
    This is best if you don't want to permanently enable Safe Mode boot options. This works fine even if you have automatic login enabled (read #4).
    The user logon screen is usually immune to theme malfunctions. I figured this out by accident. Once you log on to a user account with a malfunctioning theme, it's back to the black/grey/flashing/etc screen, however you can still reboot and get back to the login screen as long as you don't have auto-login configured via netplwiz. A 2nd user account will allow you to go in and do the modifications in PART 1 via the windows GUI.

    3) Add boot options to include Safe Mode as an option (Win 8 / 10)
    This is best if you prefer a single-user configuration or if you use automatic login. The downside is that you must use command line to replace offending theme files with default files (renamed as the [offending theme] folder and file).
    Brink (on tenforums) has made a tutorial for that here. This will make the command prompt more accessible without the need for a boot disc, in case you have to repeat this tutorial. If you choose this you'll want to make sure you only enable a "command-line only" safe mode option. Faulty themes will prevent any GUI from loading, even in Safe Mode.

    4) Manage automatic logon properly (netplwiz)
    Good news! Automatic login can be bypassed!
    I recently learned that you can have your system configured for automatic login, and selectively disable it on the fly.

    - Boot up normally

    - once you see the windows logo and circling dots hold SHIFT

    - keep holding SHIFT until you see the login screen background, at this point automatic login has been bypassed

    - this might not work with bluetooth or USB keyboards connected to a hub on a laptop, but it works!

    This makes having a backup user account far more appealing (to me) since I can still configure automatic login, and have a GUI to fix theme issues in the alternate user account! No need to mess with safe mode even.

    5) Change your power options - Do NOT "Sleep" on Power Button or Lid Close
    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
    Any setting you allow (or as default) that preserves the previous system state (hibernation/sleep mode) that potentially has fatal errors will cause you many headaches.

    My power settings look like this:

    (Plugged in / Battery)
    Lid Close: Nothing / Nothing
    Power Button: Shutdown / Shutdown
    Sleep: Never / Never

    You may have good success with different power settings, but I'm tellin ya, disable Fast Startup!!!
    ============================

    Hope this helps someone. Please let me know if any of this works for you. I'm hoping my success isn't an isolated incident.



    ============================
    My Testing / Results Explained
    ============================

    My first issue / resolution started with a black screen, a 3-day old backup, and trying to uninstall / upgrade UltraUxThemePatcher. Usually at some point when using a 3rd party theme I'll see some artifacts after a few weeks. The results and timing are always random, but when I saw these glitches, I usually knew uninstalling UltraUxThemePatcher would get me the black screen.

    Basically, I borked my system, and tried several things, always going back to my 3 day old backup each time an uninstall of UltraUxThemePatcher borked my system again. I finally came across Fast Startup, I had forgotten about it, but did remember that it saved a previous system state, which of course I didn't want. After disabling Fast Startup round 1 was over and I got my system back only losing 3 days worth of data, which wasn't much this time.

    Round 2 started on a business trip. I was feeling confident after round 1 so in my free time on this trip I tried some more themes. My system borked again. As soon as I clicked APPLY I saw the black screen again. CTRL + ALT + DEL did nothing. It was obvious that round 2 had begun. Luckily, I recently did a clean install of windows and had not yet used netplwiz to configure automatic login. After seeing that the login screen was immune to theme issues I realized that a 2nd user account would have been even more helpful. At this point I had not even disabled Fast Startup after my clean OS install, so I knew it was "do or die" once again.

    The login screen immunity to theme issues gave me the idea to just overwrite the bad theme with the windows default theme (this has no effect with Fast Startup on). After struggling to get to a command line prompt, I managed to do that, force safe mode, and turn off Fast Startup (again - now I have the saved reg file... Oy).

    It all worked out beautifully.

    For a while I have not been a fan of making HDD images for backup mostly because 3rd party themes gave me so much heck. I didn't want to reinstate a half broken OS when restoring. Now that I more accurately understand the issues of 3rd party themes and how to recover from them I'm much more confident not only in keeping my backups running, but in trying more themes!

    EDIT: Apparently posting the actual boot disk made Microsoft unhappy. Fortunately, the tools to make the boot disc are still free. The link to the boot disc and the boot disc image have been taken down.

    EDIT2: Added some clarity on how to find out what your system drive letter is (under normal circumstances) when using a boot disk.
    UltraUxThemePatcher - Recover From Black/Grey Screen - Windows 8 / 10 Attached Files
    Last edited by TheArkive; 25 Jun 2018 at 04:26.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Perlchamp's Avatar
    Posts : 6
    x64 Windows10 Home Build 14393.rs1_release.160715-1616 without KB3213986 + KB3211320
       20 Feb 2017 #2

    i went the way below


    my history:
    => ssd 32gb with uefi and gpt
    => clean installed win10 build 14393.rs1_release.160715-1616 (for this i made a USB 3.0 bootstick with rufus)
    => no other updates
    => did set a windows system restore point
    => did install UltraUXThemePatcher 3.1.4
    => did install a Theme (i think it was dark-ubuntu), got dark gray background, no nothing
    => did turn off the pc, put in my bootstick, turned on pc and it booted to the windows-installation mask (os and language-settings). THERE in left bottom corner was a link "other installoptions" (or something like that). clicked on it and came into the mask, where you can choose "troubleshooting" (or something like that). here you have the possibility to choose the command prompt (for sfc), or you can choose to reset your pc (all data left). i've chosen "set pc to an older system restore point"
    => no five minutes at all for restore, got back my os !

    so long
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3. TheArkive's Avatar
    Posts : 12
    Windows 10 v1803 Build 17134.48
    Thread Starter
       03 Mar 2017 #3

    Perlchamp said: View Post
    my history:
    => ssd 32gb with uefi and gpt
    => clean installed win10 build 14393.rs1_release.160715-1616 (for this i made a USB 3.0 bootstick with rufus)
    => no other updates
    => did set a windows system restore point
    => did install UltraUXThemePatcher 3.1.4
    => did install a Theme (i think it was dark-ubuntu), got dark gray background, no nothing
    => did turn off the pc, put in my bootstick, turned on pc and it booted to the windows-installation mask (os and language-settings). THERE in left bottom corner was a link "other installoptions" (or something like that). clicked on it and came into the mask, where you can choose "troubleshooting" (or something like that). here you have the possibility to choose the command prompt (for sfc), or you can choose to reset your pc (all data left). i've chosen "set pc to an older system restore point"
    => no five minutes at all for restore, got back my os !

    so long
    Thanks for posting! Yah, I don't use system restore points like I should. I usually use disk images.

    But big thanks for posting your success results!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4. RECONBunny's Avatar
    Posts : 89
    Windows 7 Ultimate x64 | Windows 10 Home x64
       08 Mar 2017 #4

    I have a 3 point question here:

    1) Is having Fast Boot disabled Pre-Installed going to prevent this?

    2) System Restore points can totally undo this if something ****s right?

    3) If I uninstall this patcher is it going to mess my Windows up? What's the point of that?
    Last edited by RECONBunny; 08 Mar 2017 at 02:30.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5. Perlchamp's Avatar
    Posts : 6
    x64 Windows10 Home Build 14393.rs1_release.160715-1616 without KB3213986 + KB3211320
       08 Mar 2017 #5

    my experiences in these cases are:
    1) yes, because with disabled "fast boot" you can reach the boot-menu (one time i had it enabled, and couldn't come into boot-menu => took out batterie on MoBo => got the possibility back coming into boot-menu again)
    2) security first, this means set a restopre point before installing themepatcher and better: make a system-image with security-soft that really works (test it)
    3) use ccleaner after uninstall, or replace your system-image you made before or reset restore-point you made before

    what i think:
    don't install themepatcher-software because you never will know what will happen, if microsoft comes with updates. by the way: i can't understand why microsoft block users to modify the design (here is the starting point of becoming/getting motivated employers - microsoft has build some locker-rooms and quiet-zones instead ...)
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6. TheArkive's Avatar
    Posts : 12
    Windows 10 v1803 Build 17134.48
    Thread Starter
       31 Mar 2017 #6

    1) Is having Fast Boot disabled Pre-Installed going to prevent this?

    ####
    As long as the configuration is correct then yes. Fastboot is part of hibernation mode, so hibernation must be disabled too, but that is covered by the attachment in my OP.
    ####

    2) System Restore points can totally undo this if something ****s right?

    ####
    It should. I've had issues with system restore actually restoring a faulty state. But with fastboot properly disabled system restore should be more reliable.
    ####

    3) If I uninstall this patcher is it going to mess my Windows up? What's the point of that?

    ####
    You will only mess up windows if you uninstall this patcher while your system is in an unstable state because of waking from hibernation or booting with fastboot. Or if you uninstall the program while an unsigned theme is active.

    This is covered in the OP, but I'll say it again because it's important:

    Once you disable fastboot you must shutdown and do a cold boot to break the fastboot cycle. Once the cycle is broken everything will be more reliable when using UltraUxThemePatcher. It works even through windows updates.

    EDIT:

    The purpose of using theme patcher software is to be able to run 3rd party themes that are not signed by Microsoft. Obviously if you are not comfortable modifying your system, then this is not an option for you. If you want to modify the Windows theme beyond the options given to you by Microsoft, then theme patcher software will in most cases be required.
    Last edited by TheArkive; 28 May 2018 at 14:02.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    23 Jun 2017 #7

    Hi...the part 1 ..when it says to delete the offering theme file and folder..how do you do that and when I put copy aero.theme "[offending theme].theme" it says the system cannot found the file..help please
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8. TheArkive's Avatar
    Posts : 12
    Windows 10 v1803 Build 17134.48
    Thread Starter
       15 Aug 2017 #8

    fernandex00 said: View Post
    Hi...the part 1 ..when it says to delete the offering theme file and folder..how do you do that and when I put copy aero.theme "[offending theme].theme" it says the system cannot found the file..help please
    EDIT: 28 May 2018

    I've updated the tutorial. Basically, you don't need to mess with the [offending theme] folder, only the [offending theme].theme file.

    COMMAND:

    del "[offending theme].theme"

    copy aero.theme "[offending theme].theme"

    That should be it once you:

    1) get to the command line

    2) navigate the command line to the proper directory

    which is: C:\Windows\Resources\Themes

    Once you get this far just run the above commands. Replace [offending theme] with the actual file name of the theme that caused you issues (or potentially caused you issues).

    ===========================================

    If you have questions on how to get to the command line, or how to navigate the command line, please see the updated original post.
    Last edited by TheArkive; 28 May 2018 at 14:00.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    30 Sep 2017 #9

    I did everything correct. Everything was going great until xcopy aero "Aero 7" /i and it said 0 files were copied. After all the rest, when I restarted my computers into safe mode, it flashed black and white.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10. TheArkive's Avatar
    Posts : 12
    Windows 10 v1803 Build 17134.48
    Thread Starter
       28 Feb 2018 #10

    McKraken said: View Post
    I did everything correct. Everything was going great until xcopy aero "Aero 7" /i and it said 0 files were copied. After all the rest, when I restarted my computers into safe mode, it flashed black and white.
    EDIT: 28 May 2018

    I've updated the tutorial. Basically, you don't need to mess with the [offending theme] folder, only the [offending theme].theme file.

    COMMAND:

    del "[offending theme].theme"

    copy aero.theme "[offending theme].theme"

    That should be it once you:

    1) get to the command line

    2) navigate the command line to the proper directory

    which is: C:\Windows\Resources\Themes

    Once you get this far just run the above commands. Replace [offending theme] with the actual file name of the theme that caused you issues (or potentially caused you issues).

    ===========================================

    If you have questions on how to get to the command line, or how to navigate the command line, please see the updated original post.
    Last edited by TheArkive; 28 May 2018 at 14:00.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Related Threads
So here's how it all went down... This morning when I open the device manager, I saw that the display adapter, Intel HD Graphics 4000 had a yellow exclamation mark on it. When I clicked it, it saids Window had stopped the device from working(code...
Hey all So the last 2 days on 3 separate occasions my computer has crashed and restarted, when it happens my screens (2) either turn black or a random colour (light greyish on 2 of 3 occasions). All 3 times have happened whilst I have been...
I'm trying to change my account password but when I click 'change', a grey window pops up for about 20 seconds then closes. This also happens when using Cortana. Does anyone know how to resolve this? 68312
Hello! I recently got a windows 10 ASUS laptop, and I tried to install this theme on it. After installing it, I went to personalization, and clicked on the theme. The screen started flashing black and light gray, I tried rebooting, but to no avail....
Our Sites
Site Links
About Us
Windows 10 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 10" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:21.
Find Us