Windows XP Themes

A popular pastime for many users of Windows XP has been to customize their Operating System so it looks more like something they are comfortable using.Such customisations include changing the loading screens, start menu, dialog box appearances, icons, wallpaper which makes your machine just a little more individual than the standard Windows XP blue desktop theme which millions of users all have.

Personally I have always stayed away from participating in this kind of customisation because the majority of software on the market is either supported by advertising, costs money or is extremely bloated and slows down your machine. As you know I hate software that loads when you start the machine and a lot of the theme managers that I encountered sat continually in memory managing your themes.That attitude of mine changed recently when researching software that I could write about for this weeks article when I found a tiny little program that will modify Windows so that you can easily add unsigned (not Microsoft) themes so that you can then download any of the freely available designs without having to resort to using third party software to install them for you.

To locate this program either do a search on Google for ‘UXTheme Multi-Patcher 4.0’ or I found a copy of it online at http://www.windowsx.cc/download/nw_uxpatcher.zip – Simply download and run the file and then when Windows complains that some files have been replaced with unrecognised versions simply hit ‘cancel’ and then reboot your machine.You are now able to go to any of the Windows XP theme websites and start downloading and installing customisations for your machine.

I would recommend that your first port of call be http://themes.belchfire.net as all the themes available on this site are completely free to download – the site is well designed and is sponsored by minimum advertising.Online you will not only find several hundred themes that you can download but also boot screens, logon screens and wallpaper along with icons to replace the standard ones used for programs, utilities, your toolbar and taskbar.Searching through such a comprehensive resource list is made easier by allowing you to enter certain keywords or to filter your selection by specifying whether to sort by popularity, date, rating or the artist.Once downloaded simply go to your display settings (Control Panel > Display) then click on ‘Appearance’ and browse for your theme in the location you saved the saves.If you feel like using one of the more advanced utilities for managing your profiles these are also available to download although do note that some of them to require payment.

Of course, you don’t need to stop there; using a decent search engine such as Google to locate further themes or to discover tools that will allow you to create your own.Do make sure that with any programs you download that you do read the instructions FULLY as we are messing around with the way that Windows looks and behaves and you obviously want to make sure that you’re comfortable with what you’re doing.

If you have quarter of an hour to kill this weekend; give it a go.You may decide that you don’t like your new look Windows but it can be changed as many times as you like or even reverted back to its previous state should customisation not be right for you.

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.

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