The CExtCmdIcon and CExtBitmap classes are based on a 32-bit bitmap with alpha channel.
The icons, used everywhere in menus and toolbars, have the Windows Vista/XP icon quality (Figure 1) on any Windows OS starting from 95/NT4 (Figure 2).
The CExtCmdIcon class also features an enhanced algorithm for generating hovered, pressed, and disabled images.
When some theme is applied, it produces smooth alpha icons with the hue adjustment for disabled icons (Figure 3).
The HICON handles are not used in these classes, and this completely solves the potential problem of a limited number of GDI objects on Windows OSes. According to Microsoft:
This is especially important for enterprise-class applications with a large number of user interface objects.
Figure 1. Windows Vista/XP quality icons
Figure 2. Windows Vista/XP quality icons on Windows 98
Figure 3. Smooth disabled icons