Hi Drupallers,

hopefully this question wasn't asked too often - in that case, I'm sorry that I didn't find it.

I created Zen-Subthemes and if a (minor) update for Zen is available and done sometimes my design for the subtheme gets changed - not always in a way I want it.

So, what is the best way to keep the design of the subtheme?
Is it a best-practice to prevent the subtheme from updating?
If yes, how can I achieve that?

Thanks for your patience and your help.

Kind regards,


Christopher James Francis Rodgers’s picture

It is not a good practice to avoid updating.

As, for example, there was some small security issue in Zen recently,
and so I updated from Zen 7.3.1 to Zen 7.3.2.

There is, however, a big difference between Zen 7.3.x
and Zen 7.5.x. My customized 7.3.x CSS files
can not be simply dropped into a Zen 7.5.x sub-theme
to achieve the same 'look'; even though I would love to be using
Zen 7.5.x because of the HTML5, and other new 'responsive' changes
incorporated into Zen 7.5.x.

I would suggest, in fact, that since John Albin,
the maintainer of the Zen theme,
takes great care to address all the issues of Zen,
please see the Zen Issues page at
where you can first search for an answer,
and if you can not find your answer,
click the link on that page "Create a new issue"
and use the 'Category' choice "support request".


PS: Themes do not automatically update.
If you do not want to update, then don't.

Or, save a copy of your "zen" folder at
and then try updating. If you have problems,
just replace the new 'zen' folder with your old one.

Updating will not affect/ will not change anything in your subtheme directory (folder).

PS2: Run "update.php" after updating (or reverting back to old version),
and then visit your "Appearance" page,
and you should then have all changes incorporated.

All the best; intended.
-Chris (great-grandpa.com)
"The number one stated objective for Drupal is improving usability." ~Dries Buytaert *

Christopher James Francis Rodgers’s picture

To be honest, Zen is the only D7 theme I have ever used,
since D7 first came out,
and I never had any noticeable change after updating
to what I am now using, Zen 7.3.2.

And though I will eventually jump up to Zen 7.5.x,
I realize I will have to essentially start from the beginning again
to create a customized CSS file.

(My Theme is Black-background: similar to the ole' Zen Midnight:
Major work ahead of me using FireBug add-on with FireFox
to replicate what I now have with Zen 7.3.2)

All the best; intended.
-Chris (great-grandpa.com)
"The number one stated objective for Drupal is improving usability." ~Dries Buytaert *