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  How to Install XP Themes and Visual Styles

 
hamesh
post Aug 4 2004, 09:52 PM
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Note. This Howto presumes that you have either patched your uxtheme.dll file to allow XP to load unsigned themes or have installed a theme manager such as StarSkin (recommended).

By: Mollie Hall

Before starting, make sure you have enabled XP to show *all* system folders and hidden files.

Also, I have yet to come across a downloadable Style XP theme that wasn't in a ".zip" file, so the following directions deal only with ".zip" files.

These directions are pretty detailed, so you need to read them carefully. It's not as difficult as it sounds, I promise!

1. Download ".zip" file - remember what folder you downloaded it in. I usually use the "My Documents" folder on the desktop because it's easy to remember.

2. Locate the downloaded ".zip."

3. Once you have located the .zip file:

a. For XP users using the Windows XP built-in zip file manager: locate the ".zip" FOLDER (not file), and then open it as you would any other folder. That will open the folder and show you the compressed files. Click on "file" on the toolbar, then "extract all" and then extract the files to "c:/windows/resources/themes."

b. For XP users using WinZip or another compression program: click on the .zip file, and extract to "c:windows esources hemes."

4. After you have finished extracting the files, right click on your desktop then click on "properties." That will open the Display Properties dialog box. Then:

a. For themes with the ".msstyles" file extension: click on the "Appearance" tab then choose your desired theme from the "Windows and buttons" dialog box, then choose which color scheme you prefer from the "color scheme" dialog box (most themes only come with one color, but some come with more) (see screenshot1). Click "apply" then close the display properties dialog box.

b. For themes with the ".theme" file extension, make sure the open "display properties" window is the "Themes" tab (it's the default window, so you should already be looking right at it.) Choose your theme from the "themes" dialog box (see screenshot2). ".Theme" files often come with icons and wallpaper, but it is not required that you use the icons or wallpaper, so before you click "apply" make sure the wallpaper and icons are the ones you want - for wallpaper click on the "desktop" tab, then choose your wallpaper. For icons, same as the wallpaper, except click on "customize desktop" and then choose your icons (see screenshot3). Once that is accomplished, click "apply" then close the display properties dialog box.

c. For themes with both the ".msstyles" and ".theme" extensions, use the ".theme" version if you want to use any included icons, wallpaper, etc. Use the ".msstyles" version to use the "visual style" only without using any of the included icons, wallpaper, etc.

You're done! Yeah, right, wouldn't that be nice? You only *wish* it was that easy, because I know I do. So keep reading.

There are certain things that *must* be in place in order for themes to work correctly, so I recommend you double check to make sure everything is good to go before you do any of the above. So go ahead and open the "c:/windows/resources/themes" folder, and follow the below directions:

1. ".Theme" files *must* be directly within the "c:/windows/resources/themes" folder (see screenshot4), and not within individual folders. a. If you find any in individual sub-folders, simply move the *.theme* file directly to the "c:/windows/resources/themes" folder.

2. ".Msstyles" files *must* be within their own individual sub-folders within the "c:/windows/resources/themes" folder (see screenshot5). For example, the file "generic.msstyles" must be in a sub-folder entitled "generic," "generic1.msstyles" must be in a sub-folder entitled "generic1," etc.

a. If any ".msstyles" files are directly in the "c:/windows/resources/themes" folder, make a *new* sub-folder and name it EXACTLY AS THE ".msstyles" FILE IS NAMED (minus the ".msstyles" extension of course), then move the ".msstyles" file into that sub-folder.

3. After doing the above, you will need to check each individual sub-folder within the "c:/windows/resources/themes" folder, *including* the ones you didn't have to fix, or create yourself. Why? Because:

a. It is essential that the name of the sub-folder match the name of the ".msstyles" file exactly, and caps, lower case, spaces, underscores, etc., ALL count - i.e., the file "generic.msstyles" must be in a folder entitled "generic," "Generic_01.msstyles" must be in a folder entitled "Generic_01," etc. (see screenshot5, above). If they don't match, you will need to rename the sub-folder that the ".msstyles" file is in so that it matches the file name.

b. Some ".zip" files will extract files into what I call a "sub-sub folder." For example, the file "generic.msstyles" might be in a sub-folder of a sub-folder; i.e., "c:/windows/resources/themes/generic/generic." If this is the case, you will need to move the ".msstyles" file into the first sub-folder, "c:/windows/resources/themes/generic." Delete the "sub-sub" folder after you've moved the ".msstyles" file.

4. Some ".msstyles" themes include what is known as a "shellstyle" ("shellstyle.dll".) "Shellstyle.dll" should be in its own sub-folder entitled "shell" *within* the ".msstyles" theme sub-folder, "c:/windows/resources/themes/generic/shell" (see screenshot6). Sometimes, the "shell" sub-folder has its own sub-folders, for example, "c:/windows/resources/themes/generic/shell/normalcolor" (see screenshot7). If this is the case, "shellstyle.dll" should be in the "normalcolor" sub-folder (see screenshot8). If you find any "shellstyle.dll" files floating around in the "generic" sub-folder itself, make a new sub-folder, name it "shell" then move "shellstyle.dll" into that folder.

Okay, NOW you're done. Have fun with your new theme!

If you have any questions regarding the above, please feel free to email me.

� 2003 by Mollie Hall

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lone45wolf
post Apr 27 2005, 01:32 PM
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I have manually installed the uxtheme.dll file, and think i have correctly installed the themes that i have already. After I installed some new windows updates only the background and some icons work. The appearance sets to Classic Windows style and the only selection there is for that and Xp style. Am I not installing the themes right, or is it the new updates I downloaded?
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TechkNighT
post Jun 30 2008, 06:21 AM
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Hello sir.
Well... iam having trouble in using a visual style created by me now that stylexp doesn't work anymore.
I made a .msstyles file using a modified version of a theme and resbuilder from tgt. Now that made a fresh installation of Windows XP SP3 and i would like to use that visual style again, but i followed your guide up here and nothing appear in Appearance Tab in Display Properties. can you help me plz?

I have uploaded the .msstyles file here in zip so if you can take a look and tell what i need to change.

Thanks in advance

TechkNighT.
Attached File(s)
Attached File  TechBlack.zip ( 115.39k ) Number of downloads: 4286
 
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hamesh
post Jul 2 2008, 10:29 AM
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If it's a fresh install of SP3, you have to re-patch your uxtheme.dll file. Easiest way is to just run Multi-patcher, available here, then reboot.

Once rebooted, extract your theme to c:\windows\resources\themes. Then drill down into that directory and double-click the .msstyles file for your theme. This will load up a preview of the theme in Display Properties. If it looks okay, click the Apply or OK button and that's it.

Once you have applied the theme, you can go back into Display Properties and save it as a new Theme (thus creating a .theme file), so that it will then show up in Display Properties without you having to go into the above windows folder and click the .msstyles file directly. Good luck!
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Mistawiggles
post Sep 29 2008, 03:51 PM
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Whenever i try to change the theme of my computer it displays an error screen... An exception occurred while trying to run "C:\WINDOWS\system32\shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL C:\WINDOWS\system32\desk.cpl"... uhh i don't know what is wrong plz help, email the answer to helping5anta@yahoo.com
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blackjac41
post Oct 27 2008, 02:05 AM
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i am also having the same error occur when i try to apply the regular windows xp theme and i get the classic. I think i deleted something or whatever when i tried to use the uxtheme.dll i think and using the multipatcher at the same time. what should i do now?
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blackjac41
post Oct 27 2008, 02:07 AM
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i am noob when it comes to this stuff so i need step by step
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Warren21
post Sep 10 2009, 07:38 PM
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Tune up Utilities is good in changing themes in the pc...I like it so much bec. my pc's appearance changes..Is there any updates of the software?I will download it and enjoy changing my themes...


Good Day!!!


Regards

_______
Pret immobilier
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Frank21
post Sep 27 2009, 07:46 PM
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Yeah i agree with warren21 Tune up utilities is good in pc desktop customizing.. I also use it.


Regards

Albert

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kalimba
post Nov 14 2009, 04:17 AM
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ive come to download a couple of zipped themes but can only get the icons and the background to work but everything else as in design arent showing , i did exactly what was described above but didnt get anything...help?
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greatlife
post Dec 15 2009, 09:22 AM
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QUOTE(Mistawiggles @ Sep 29 2008, 03:51 PM) *
Whenever i try to change the theme of my computer it displays an error screen... An exception occurred while trying to run "C:\WINDOWS\system32\shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL C:\WINDOWS\system32\desk.cpl"... uhh i don't know what is wrong plz help, email the answer to helping5anta@yahoo.com



Why is nobody in this forum replying to a good question? because everyone uses tools-4-dads like WindowsBlinds,StyleXP and alike.
Several users after mistawiggles state they have the same problem... still just useless answers.
to you mistawiggles, i just can propose not to ever asked quilified questions in a noob forum again.
did you really think these Windowsusers might be able to help or even identify a problem if given specific error reports? hell no....this forum is for people whose most intense contact with technology is to change a wallpaper.
You might feel a lot better using Linux...because of its code, its customizability and even its users level of education.

warren21?frank21?kalimba? you waste everyones time!
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Ekik
post Apr 2 2010, 07:43 AM
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Is this topic still active? Anyway, I guess this hasn't been asked yet, so here it is: How do I edit the theme names? Downloaded and free themes have theme names like crap and I want to edit them. Tried to edit them in the Resources/Themes folder but to no avail. Thank you in advance.
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djjskkall
post May 10 2010, 02:46 AM
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QUOTE(Ekik @ Apr 2 2010, 07:43 AM) *
Is this topic still active? Anyway, I guess this hasn't been asked yet, so here it is: How do I edit the theme names? Downloaded and free themes have theme names like crap and I want to edit them. Tried to edit them in the Resources/Themes folder but to no avail. Thank you in advance.



Ekik,

Try this:
Open the .theme file in a text editor, like Notepad. There may be a couple lines that say
[Theme]
DisplayName=
.
If so, you should be able to change the name of the theme there. For example, DisplayName=Ekik's Theme.

If the lines are not there, I believe you can add them in to create your own Display Name for the theme. Just make sure to make a backup of the .theme file before you make these changes, just in case. Good luck!
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josephmorris90
post Jul 27 2010, 06:53 PM
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QUOTE(greatlife @ Dec 15 2009, 09:22 AM) *
QUOTE(Mistawiggles @ Sep 29 2008, 03:51 PM) *
Whenever i try to change the theme of my computer it displays an error screen... An exception occurred while trying to run "C:\WINDOWS\system32\shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL C:\WINDOWS\system32\desk.cpl"... uhh i don't know what is wrong plz help, email the answer to helping5anta@yahoo.com



Why is nobody in this forum replying to a good question? because everyone uses tools-4-dads like WindowsBlinds,StyleXP and alike.
Several users after mistawiggles state they have the same problem... still just useless answers.
to you mistawiggles, i just can propose not to ever asked quilified questions in a noob forum again.
did you really think these Windowsusers might be able to help or even identify a problem if given specific error reports? hell no....this forum is for people whose most intense contact with technology is to change a wallpaper.
You might feel a lot better using Linux...because of its code, its customizability and even its users level of education.



Thanks for the suggestions!
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Nensi12
post Aug 12 2010, 03:17 AM
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I have read many posts from there and all of them are interesting to read out and contain very useful informatoin for the readers and I hope you will keep up the good work in future as well.
--------------------------------------------------

MB6-822
MB6-823
MB6-825
MB7-221
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