How to Install & Use Custom 3rd Party Themes for Widows Xp, 7, 8/8.1, 10 RTM & November Update!
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.
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.
This method always for support for themes on Windows 10 November Update only. Remember to create a system restore point first!
Once you have patched Windows, copy your desired theme folder (containing a .theme file and
a folder containing .msstyles file) to "%windir%ResourcesThemes" folder (where %windir%
means "Windows" directory present in system drive where Windows is installed.
Most probably C: drive). 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…
I knows that almost all customize software are compatible but maybe sone files of theme can make any issue ??
Sorry if it's a stupid question and thank you by advance
I installed UltraUXThemePatcher
I download a VS, put it in "C:\windows\resources\themes", has a .theme file and a .msstyles file.
Double-Click the .theme file....
Loads a bit..
Goes back to how windows 7 looked right out the box.
(Yes the service "UnsignedThemes" is running)
Am I missing something crucial?
My case: UxStyle initially works then, after a system update, completely stop working. It is still installed but when you try to apply any custom theme it changes only the wallpaper (if theme comes with wallpaper) and windows colors but it does not change anything else. Already tried to uninstall and reinstall it with several boots. Tried also UltraUXtheme patcher or any other tool in the net. NOTHING works.
Since system update is necessary, I would like to know if someone solved the issue.
System: win8.1 pro x64
Is there something easy I'm missing? or?
The thumbnail for the theme in my "Installed Themes" tab is just black btw, with no pic.
So basically, if everything goes to shit, you only need the use System Restore
Because Concave VS is still not working for me...
this is really helpful
i got it working fine one time but now, it's not working.
i got uxstyle and installed it.
i used the theme yesterday but i changed it away and back, and ever since then i cant get installed themes to work.
when i select the theme appears to have changed to it but visual styles gets automatically disabled every time, and when i turn it back on the style goes back to default- but in personalisation it says it's still the theme im trying to get.
my computer is playing a cruel game against a newbie to changing themes. -w-
im actually starting to think uxstyles is the cause.
i think i threw in the theme first and that's when it worked, but then i was playing around with some more themes and installed uxstyles and now none of the installed themes will work. (-i think-)
but i cant find the uxstyles folder to know for sure. w-w
so please if someone can provide me with a step by step method in downloading and installing it
It's just like in IBN5200's photo further down.
I tried using both UXStyle and UltraUXTheme separately. Same result in all cases.