Recently I encountered an odd problem with Visual Studio. Both in the 2008 and 2010 editions where certain images, colors and gradients in the GUI fail to load.
After various reinstalls of the program and related components, and some long phone calls with Microsoft technical support, I opened WordPad one day, and realized that this problem is not tied to visual studio at all.
WordPad and MSPaint have the same problem. I don't know what is responsible for the GUI in the three programs, but it appears that images and gradients are missing from the interface, causing the same sort of effects in all three.
I have screenshots of all three programs:
http://wilhall.com/vs.png (Visual Studio 2010)
If anyone has any ideas, I'm willing to try them and post back - I know that this problem could be solved by simply reinstalling Windows, but I would like to figure out the issue in case of future problems.