I have switched a site back to use UI version 3, so this basically works as a 2007 site would.

I would expect that when accessing application pages this would use the application.master in the layouts folder. It doesn't, how do i know this? Well i edited the application.master in the layouts folder with

Hello World

and when i open an application page, the edited application.master is not showing.

Can anyone tell me what master page it is using, driving me a little crazy!

  • Is it not using the v4.master or default.master from the GLOBAL folder?
    – Colin
    Sep 14, 2011 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


Are you sure the page you were testing wasn't using the simple.master?

What _layouts page where you using to test?

If you are interested, I wrote a httpmodule for 2007 that would set the applicationpage master to be what the web's master was set to, for the consistant experience: http://www.thelineberrys.com/default-category/using-your-sharepoint-sites-master-page-on-all-application-pages-3.html

I did have to make a change to the code to get it to work as expected in SP 2010 using UIVersion 3 (because with UIVersion 4, there is an option to do this OOTB in your web application general settings).

Below is the new preinit that works with SP 2010:

void page_PreInit(object sender, EventArgs e)
    LayoutsPageBase page = sender as LayoutsPageBase;
    if (page == null) return;
    if (page.DynamicMasterPageFile == null) return;

    HttpContext context = HttpContext.Current;
    string currUrl = context.Request.Url.ToString();
    string basepath = currUrl.Substring(0, currUrl.IndexOf(context.Request.Url.Host) + context.Request.Url.Host.Length);
    //Use RawUrl, otherwise it will always use the root web.
    currUrl = context.Request.RawUrl;
    if (currUrl.ToLower().Contains("/_layouts/") &&
        (page.DynamicMasterPageFile.ToLower().EndsWith("default.master") ||
        currUrl = currUrl.Substring(0, currUrl.ToLower().IndexOf("/_layouts/"));
        SPSite site = null;
        SPWeb web = null;
            site = new SPSite(basepath + currUrl);
            web = site.OpenWeb(currUrl);

            if (String.IsNullOrEmpty(web.MasterUrl) == false &&
                web.UIVersion == 3)
                page.MasterPageFile = web.MasterUrl; 
                page.Load += new EventHandler(page_Load);
            if (web != null)
            if (site != null)

master pages are in \14\TEMPLATE\GLOBAL folder.

Try to edit them by SharePoint Designer instead of editing files directly in folder.

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