Forget Aero, I like XP’s Looks!

For a long time, I have ranted and raved about the ugly glass look of Windows Vista.  While I haven’t had problems with the performance, as others have, the look really bugs me.  Until now, I have used Stardock ObjectDock to cope, eliminating the taskbar.  However, the windows (explorer.exe, dwm.exe) still have the same feel.

Today is a great day.  Today, I added a visual style.  Visual styles allow you to change the appearance of Windows.  By default, the only styles available are “Aero”, “Classic”,  and “Standard”.  So, basically, either glassy windows or greyed out, sharp edged windows.

I settled for neither.  Sure, there are programs like WindowsBlinds that will make the process of changing the OS appearance easy, but why spend so much money when it can be done for free (and lower on system resources for that matter)?  I have always been fond of the Windows XP look, so I found a nice little theme called Royale that mimics that look.  Take a look below to see if you can tell the difference.  While it’s not identical to the actual Windows XP theme, it’s pretty darn close and most certainly beats Aero.



Here is a step by step guide to changing the look and feel of your desktop.  Visual styles and themes can be found easily by performing a quick google search, or searching sites like DeviantArt.

First, we need to get patched version of 3 files in your Windows/System32 folder.  Get these files here.  *Please note to get the files for your specific OS.

Use something (like 7zip), to unzip the .RAR file.  You should be left with three .dll files.

Open up an explorer window and go to C://Windows/System32.  Since you’re using Vista, just type in “uxtheme.dll” in the search box.  When this comes up, change it to read “uxtheme.old”.  This will keep the file in your System32 folder.  In case something goes wrong, just rename it back to a .dll file.

Do this same process for the files “themeui.dll” and “shsvcs.dll”.

Now, simply drag the three freshly downloaded files into the System32 folder.  You should note that they have the same names as the ones you just changed.

Since this change affects the way things look, and especially Windows system files, you should restart your computer.

After that, all you have to do is apply the visual style of your choice.  For organization purposes, I would suggest copying the styles into the Windows/Resources/Themes folder.  Once there, just double click the .msstyles file.  After a few seconds, the style should be applied!

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