What program do you use for customizing the look of windows?

Discussion in 'ten-forward' started by Matt_Smi, Mar 1, 2005.

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  1. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Registered Member

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    After seeing the show your desktop thread here I really want a program that will allow me to customize the look of windows. I guess the two big programs for this are Style XP and WindowBlinds. I would even not mind paying for one if it worked well. I am pretty much ruling out Style XP because I (in the past) and my friends have had trouble with it making their systems unstable and being a pain to un-install completely. And just now I read some reviews from download.com and they said that Style XP 1.01 contains a ton of Trojans/spyware, ect. Even though it may be cleaned up now in version 3.0 I do not want to take the risk with that program by a company who has possibly packaged crap like that in the past. I would not mind giving WindowBlinds that a try; and I understand it is certified by Microsoft so it *should* be legit and less prone to messing up your system. Is anyone using it? Did/does it cause any problems with your system? I really want to have a nice windows theme but at the same time don’t want to mess up my system. Thanks for any input.
     
  2. dog

    dog Guest

    Hi Matt,

    Why don't you try the "free" way first. ;) Use Neowin.net UXTheme Patcher, which will patch UXTheme.dll so that you can use un-signed custom visual styles. You can patch and unpatch UXTheme.dll as you like, and it works with XP/SP1/SP2.

    I use it myself and it's safe and has no issues. You can get it here --> http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=140707

    As for themes you can get plenty of MS styles from DeviantART or Customize.org, there are others as well, but these two would be the most popular.

    http://www.customize.org/list/stylexp
    http://skins.deviantart.com/windows/visualstyle/

    Two of my Favourites are:

    Kuantum Visual Style v1.2 by KoL - I'm currently using this one
    Details: http://www.customize.org/details/38285
    Large View: http://www.customize.org/view/38285

    Royal Mod by grrinder
    Full Start - Thin - http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/8900417/
    Royal Five Colour - http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/8908279/
    Royal Mod - http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/8521744/

    HTH,

    Steve
     
  3. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    WindowBlinds does have a free (cut-down) version so trialling that (before deciding on getting the full one) would be a good way to check for conflicts though given the maturity of WindowBlinds (5-6 years old now), these are quite unlikely now. Also check out WindowFX (window animation, shadows, transparency, tiling) and CursorXP (adjust cursor look, size, colour, transparency, shadow, add animated trails, graphic effects on button clicks, etc)
     
  4. iceni60

    iceni60 ( ^o^)

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  5. dog

    dog Guest

    The Same Patcher will work for all three versions XP/XPSP1/XPSP2 ... uxtheme.dll is a little different in each of these three, the patcher will patch uxtheme.dll according to your OS. ;)

    BTW ... Nice Theme Ice, my favourite Artist - KoL
     
  6. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Registered Member

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    Free is good :D This sounds like a very easy and practical method to apply skins. So all I need to do is download and run the UXTheme Patcher and then go to a site like Deviant art and download a skin to the C\windows\resources\themes\ folder and I am good to go? No need for any additional programs? I understand that with this patcher program you can run it and return the uxtheme.dll back to normal again correct? Should I make a backup copy of the dll just in case? Does an additional background process run when using a custom skin? Much thanks dog!
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2005
  7. dog

    dog Guest

    That's it. ;)

    If you want to back up uxtheme.dll you can, you can never be too safe. And yes, the patcher can unpatch/patch at will, so you can undo the change if ever necessary.

    No extra processes ... it's the same as using Luna etc. that come with XP.

    Enjoy & Have Fun! :)

    Steve

    Ps. There's a link in Ten-forward somewhere (Posted by Nadirah) where you can get Microsoft's Royale Theme that shipped with XP Media Edition. You just need something to unRar it. It's pretty sweet too ... It's what grrinder based the mod themes above on.

    Here's The Royale Link - https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=39520
     
  8. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Registered Member

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    Awesome, a few more questions, will a skin mess with how my start menu is set up, what I have pinned there ect? If I want to delete a skin I can simply delete it from the themes folder right? And will my current skins be displayed in properties themes (as seen by right clicking the desktop and going to properties)?
     
  9. dog

    dog Guest

    No, it won't adversely effect anything at all.

    All your Themes will be displayed in your desktop properties. Your Original XP, and any new ones you add. They can all be easliy applied thru this method. ;)

    Steve
     

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  10. dog

    dog Guest

    Hi Matt, :)

    One other thing ... to get the Visual Styles to showup initially in the desktop properties, double click the visual style in C:/Windows/Resources/Themes , to activate it.

    If you have any other questions, ask away. ;)

    Steve
     
  11. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Registered Member

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    Cool, thanks again!

    O yeah do the themes try to skin your programs as well?
     
  12. dog

    dog Guest

    No, not really ;) It will skin somethings, like buttons and Scrollbars in some programs, if the program uses M$ Visualstyles to render those things.

    Steve

    Here's an attachment as an example. ;)
     

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  13. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Registered Member

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    Ok I am going to do this later today when I am done with classes. The last question I had was should I make a new folder for each theme in the themes folder? For example a folder for Kuantum and then put the theme in there, or should I just drop it right into the themes folder? Also is it possible that a downloded skin (from a site like deviant art) may contain spyware?
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2005
  14. iceni60

    iceni60 ( ^o^)

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    i have never had any problems with themes from deviantart having malware, if you look around you will find lots of other places that do VS they might have malware in their downloads. just stick to deviantart and if dog says http://www.customize.org/ can be trusted use them too.

    not all of my VS in the theme folder show up in my desktop properties so i go to the thrmes folder and choose from there. the reason for that is because they are inside their own folders so they aren't seen in Display Properties Appearence. the folders are already made so you don't have to make them. if you take them out of their folders and put them straight into the themes directory then they should then be seen in Display Properties Appearence

    when you patch the .dll you will be asked to reboot straight away so be ready to do that.

    Good Luck :)
     
  15. dog

    dog Guest

    Hi Matt, ;)

    When you extract the VisualStyle zip file to C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes it will extract it to it's own folder by default. (Screen Shot Attached)

    As far as any Malware goes, anything is possible, never deviate from always scanning everything you download with your AV (anti-virus) and AT (anti-trojan). With that said I've never found anything to be infected.

    Steve
     

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  16. iceni60

    iceni60 ( ^o^)

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    you can change your icons with the program below.
    http://www.cursorarts.com/ca_aifw.html

    here are some icons you can use
    http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/10843761/
    http://www.foood.net/xp-icandy.htm
    http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=194608
    http://www.deviantart.com/view/10843682/
    http://browse.deviantart.com/icons/os/win/?offset=24

    you can get Download
    Y'z Dock which is a program launcher like the dock in MacOS X.
    GTRipple which ripples your desktop wallpaper making water pictures come alive, it can hide desktop icons and few others things.
    Desktop Sidebara side bar which provides you with instant access to the information you most desire.
    Desktop Architect i don't have at the moment, but i think it lets you design your own VS if it's the program i remember.
    CursorXP change you cursor, there are more cursors in XP in control panel> mouse.
    3DNAscreenshots below
    all the above i have the rest of the page i haven't tried. you can get them at the link below. :)
    http://decentdownloads.x-istence.com/Appearance/Appearance.html
     

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  17. lynchknot

    lynchknot Registered Member

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  18. iceni60

    iceni60 ( ^o^)

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  19. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Registered Member

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    I just did it a little while ago; so far everything is fine, no bugs or glitches. I got a nice black and blue theme (came with some other colors too). I wish I could post a screen shot of it but I do not know how to do a screen capture, can it be done without software? I again wanted to thank you guys for helping me out and answering all my questions (esp. dog). It was really easy and I love the results! Now I am going to look into getting a system info bar and maybe a program to change my icons. Also my roommate now wants to know if he can do something similar with his Mac.
     
  20. iceni60

    iceni60 ( ^o^)

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    hi Matt :) good to hear it went well for you. Marja and i just talked about taking screenshots here you can download hoversnap here and follow the how to set it up from post #9
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2005
  21. dog

    dog Guest

    Hi Matt, ;)

    I'm glad you like it. We'd love to see a screen shot too. An alternative to what Ice posted to do a "Screen shot" would be to follow the Wilders' FAQ Bubba did up. Screen Shot FAQ ... the learning never ends, eh. :) Have Fun!

    In regards to doing the same on an Mac, I'm sure it's possible (as it is "the artists" computer :p) ... but I don't have a clue how, I haven't touched a Mac since the Apple II :ninja: :D

    Steve
     
  22. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Registered Member

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    How is “desktop sidebar” it is free and looks good, anyone using it? The other one I found that looks nice is the one seen in this theme http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/11860228/ I will probably just give desktop sidebar a try, I understand you can customize and skin it as well. BTW hopefully I will have a screenshot up soon, I am going to try it the no software way.
     
  23. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Registered Member

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  24. dog

    dog Guest

    It Looks Very Nice Matt :)

    Do you have a Link for that theme?

    Steve
     
  25. Matt_Smi

    Matt_Smi Registered Member

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