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Easy guide to skinning Windows XP

Changing visual styles on Windows XP is notoriously difficult, but following these instructions it should be pretty painless.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility if this messes up your computer, this method has always worked for me, but use it at your own risk.

  1. Download and install flyakite's excellent UXTheme.dll Patcher
    Note: You will need to restart your computer, if you're relying on this guide you might want to save the link.

  2. Go download some visual styles.
    My favorite resource for this is deviantART, the files you need are craftily hidden away in the Skins -> Windows Utilities -> Visual Styles folder. One of my personal favorite skins is HmmXP

  3. After you download your skin.
    Unzip/unrar and drag the files to your C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes folder.

  4. Right click on your desktop and click Properties to open up your Display Properties window.
    Then click on the Appearance tab, now select your newly installed theme from the Windows and buttons drop down menu.

  5. Click Apply.

  6. Enjoy!

"I don't see my theme in the Windows and buttons menu!"
Make sure your theme is its own folder. For example, if your theme was called "mytheme" then all the files should be in C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes\mytheme
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