Enable Visual Styles Bug

Enabling the use of Themes in .net apps may cause the following error:
‘System.Runtime.InteropServices.SEHException’ occurred in system.windows.forms.dll

Background information regarding this bug can be obtained at Code Project’s BugList

There are two solutions for this bug:

The first solution is to add Application.DoEvents() just after calling EnableVisualStyles() on the main form:

void Main()
  Application.Run(new Form1());

The second solution is to create an application external manifest file:

Create a new xml file in the application directory with the name of the application and an extension of exe.manifest. For instance, if your application name is "MyApp", you will name the manifest file as MyApp.exe.manifest. Place the following content in this file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<assembly xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1" manifestVersion="1.0">
        version=""       This is the application version
        name="Theme Test"  This is the application name
        type="win32" />        This is the application description
    <description>Testing Windows XP Visual Styles.</description>
                language="*" />

Its possible to embed this file into the executable as John McTainsh explains in this article.

Some information about this bug can be found at Cool Client Stuff blog


  • Creating a static manifest xml file and deploying it along with the application main executable at the post build event isn't such a hard work to automate...

    Its much more easier then writing any kind of code...

  • The manifest may be easier than writting code but not easier than copying code which you never have to worry about integrating it into the build.

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