How to Install & Use Custom 3rd Party Themes for Windows Xp, 7, 8/8.1, 10 November & Anniversary Update!
***BEFORE YOU START CREATE A SYSTEM RESTORE POINT***
I get asked quite often "how to install" or such...hopefully this is able to help those just starting
out with customizing. Feel free to use this as an open forum for those who are new, and those
who may be willing to help out.
Windows does not allow 3rd party themes by default thus we need to patch Windows to be able
to use those themes. You can use either of the following mentioned free utilities to patch your
Windows and to use your favorite 3rd party theme.
Patchers WINDOWS 7, 8.1
Many people know from experience, that the Windows design is nice, but sooner or later it will become boring and you wish to have a different design. And here is the problem, because to use 3. Party themes you have to modify some system files, which is not everybody's thing, or buy expensive software.
*Note: This application make changes to your system files, this can lead to unexpected problems or total breakdown of Windows!UxStyle
UxStyle is a bit of software that relaxes Windows theme signature requirements to enable third-party customization. Specifically, UxStyle consists of a tiny system service and a kernel driver that are loaded into memory where they hang out until reboot. No file system changes are made.
Patchers WINDOWS 10 November UPDATE
NOVEMBER UPDATE VISUAL STYLES
Patchers WINDOWS 10 ANNIVERSARY UPDATE
Once you have patched Windows, copy your desired theme folder (containing a .theme file and
a folder containing .msstyles file) to "C:\Windows\Resources\Themes" folder
Now double-click on .theme file and it'll apply the theme or you can
apply it using Desktop Properties. Also make sure to install any included fonts first.
How to Add "Take Ownership" Option to File or Folder Context Menu
Many times you need to take ownership of a file or folder in Windows. For example, when you
want to customize Windows UI (explorer.exe, explorerframe.dll, shell32.dll) and need to replace
existing system files with a new one.
You just need to download following zip file and extract it. You'll get a .REG file. Run the file
and accept the confirmation:
It'll add an extra option "Take ownership" in file and folder context menu:
Now you can right-click on any file or folder and select "Take ownership" option. It'll make you
the owner of the file or folder and you can perform your desired operation on that file or folder
such as replacing it.
After taking ownership of the file, backup your original and rename it, then replace it with the
new modded version.
For example to replace explorer.exe, first takeownership. Then rename to, for example
explorer.bak, once that is complete replace it with the modified version of explorer.exe that you
Changing theme fonts (Windows 7)
If you want smaller fonts or to change the actual font for a theme follow these instructions from
the WSB forums...
"Step 1: Open the theme you want to change in a resource hacker. (I use Restorator 2007.)
Step 2: Navigate to the string resource and expand.
Step 3: Drag/drop (or export) "Neutral" into Explorer.
Step 4: Open Neutral.rc in a text editor. (Notepad will suffice)
Step 5: Replace all instances of Font size with your preferred size.
Step 6: Save Neutral.rc
Step 7: Drag/Drop (or import) the new Neutral.rc from Explorer back into your resource hacker.
Step 8: Save the theme.
Step 9: Apply!"
This can be tricky, for those that want a blank icons.
It's very easy in Windows 7 with shortcuts to right click/Properties/Shortcut/Change Icon. With
application and system files you have to resort to an icon packager or/as well as reshackiing the
application and finding it's main icon and replacing it.
How to change super bar icons in Windows 7, 8 & 10
Windows 7 Themes
Along with a huge gallery of Start Orbs to choose from Startorbs
- Windows 7 Navigation Buttons Customizer: Change Windows 7 Navigation Buttons Easily by |
Windows 8/8.1 Themes
- OldNewExplorer is the Windows 10 (and Windows 8.1, and 8) shell extension / tweaker which can undo "improvements" to file browsing made in newer Windows version. Everything is optional for your liking
- Aero Glass
Windows 10 Themes
The tool I use to create custom Visual Styles is WindowsStyleBuilder. You can use it to create your own themes, or modify existing themes to suite your tastes!
Most of my themes are OPEN SOURCE! But out of respect please ask first before Modding for redistribution.
*Parts of this tutorial were adopted from the article on the askvg website entitled How to Install
& Use Custom 3rd Party Themes in Windows XP, Vista & 7 using Universal Theme Patcher,
VistaGlazz and UxStyle www.askvg.com/how-to-install-u…
Also, am I right to say that modern apps aren't themed at all?
I'd be curious to see. I know it can be changed to black I've done it myself as explained using the High Contrast mode method of forcing it through the VS.
It's probably my own fault because of not reading carefully, but it seems I'm having the same problems as merlyn333 and Shad-Wolf.
I was trying to install several themes. None of them worked. I used both patchers. Here is probably where I went wrong. The last theme I tried to install was Discovery, after that my screen went grey, then black and it turned off by itself. I restarted my computer and now I'm stuck in the login screen. Logging in gives me the same grey, then black and after that I'm back at login screen. I have been looking for a solution online, but I couldn't find any. Can anyone help us please? Btw neiio, I love your themes.
I have Windows 10 Professional, x64 and I used the "Aniversary" update.
Do you know what could be wrong?
@Shad-Wolf comment can be found scrolling down or in the following link:
Only a male would say that.
Do you not know what the word "subjective" means
What you find visually appealing is completely subjective. If you prefer the work of women to men, let no one stop you. If you claim that because of this men, or really ANY group, as a whole are inferior in the world of design, simply due to your personal preferences, and that they should be banned from designing because you don't like their work as much as you like a different group's… regardless of the groups, it's totalitarian discrimination in ART.
Windows 10 - Update: (10586), using the x64 files, because 64-bit OS. It's a pain in the arse with Windows because Microsoft removed the ability to theme the system. :/
I'd like an explanation.
So I guess I will never be able to enjoy themes on Win10.
BTW thanks a bunch for the guide.
EDIT: When I try Windows 7 Theme Installer it gives me an error: "File versions don't match. File won't be replaced."
I need to install it manually.. i cant find it >.<