XP Theme Skinning Program

The place to hang out and talk about totally anything general.
User avatar
Mr. Roboto
level4
level4
Posts: 826
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 6:05 pm
Location: Baltimore.md.us

XP Theme Skinning Program

Postby Mr. Roboto » Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:23 am

Lately I've been looking into converting some of my old Windows 9x - era themes for XP. I need a program that can change the XP-style colors (don't like the default MS gives) as well as change the logonUI and bootup screens.

I've tried three programs so far:
  • Style XP and Stylebuilder (TGTSoft): These programs seem to be meant for each other. Style XP seems capable enough, but Stylebuilder makes things more complicated than they should be. I only need to change colors, I don't need to change the elements themselves, though I might try that later.
  • TopThemes: Another "style editor"/theme manager paring that makes the color changing I need simpler. Then they package the theme stuff (wallpapers, cursors/icons, even the logon and bootscreens) for distribution if I want. For some odd reason, they crap out on me when I make the theme, offten with messages like "Unable to apply style" or "invalid msstyles.dll" or something like that. Maybe it's my system, I've been having problems with updating because the permissions have been fubared.
  • Desktop X: This comes from Stardock (the same ones who distributed the now warez Uplink:HE?). I haven't been able to get into it since my ZoneAlarm firewall gave the warnning "Desktop X is trying to inject code into the process EXPLORER.EXE." The only programs I know of that "inject code" into anything are malware that are trying to bypass/crack security on a system.

If I can find a good freeware theme/skinning program, I'll use it. Otherwise, I'll just stick with the old Plus!-styple themes that I have accumulated over the years.
User avatar
ChasM
level2
level2
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:47 pm
Location: Arizona Desert

Postby ChasM » Thu Feb 16, 2006 10:34 am

WinXP is a mess. If you have XP Home there is no admin and you're kinda stuck as in WinME. If you have XP Pro, you get a ton of weird active directory related problems on top of the user permissions FUBAR.

Skins. Oh yeah, start here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/down ... rtoys.mspx

The powertoys series seems the ONLY way (unsupported by MS) to gain control over the insane user interface A.I. I've enjoyed a few of the more fundamental tweaks since 98SE. For example, I prefer the "Explore" mode as a default instead of the "Open" mode whenever I double click a folder. This is one of the innocuous "Folder Options" buried deep in the U.I.

After a while you will need to learn about the HIVE databases called the registry.
Think "random access record pointers". Anything can reference anything. Recursion abounds.
The four main .DAT files have a common registry editor and backup-restore process. This is seperate from the system restore points. So be careful in there.
Eventually you will want other tweak software that goes beyond the registry. Then you will find "resource editors" that modify EXPLORE.EXE directly. With these you can, for example, change the text "Start" to "Crash" on the main start menu button.
(-: Chas.M. :-)
Darksun
level5
level5
Posts: 6461
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2002 7:08 pm
Location: 127.0.0.1

Postby Darksun » Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:06 pm

ChasM wrote:The powertoys series seems the ONLY way (unsupported by MS) to gain control over the insane user interface A.I.


The Windows UI is intelligent? That explains so much...
User avatar
prophile
level5
level5
Posts: 1541
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 4:17 pm
Location: Southampton, UK
Contact:

Postby prophile » Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:01 am

Yes, the Windows UI is secretly trying to dominate the world.

Human slaves in a Windows nation?
User avatar
ChasM
level2
level2
Posts: 211
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 11:47 pm
Location: Arizona Desert

Postby ChasM » Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:17 am

To reiterate, reiterate, reiterate, reiterate, reiterate, reiterate,
Recursion abounds.
Recursion abounds.
Recursion abounds.
Recursion abounds.
Recursion abounds.
Recursion abounds.

Service service service service pack pack pack pack. . .

boot:boot:boot:boot:boot:boot:boot:boot:booot
(-: Chas.M. :-)
cr0wley
level1
level1
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 11:08 am

Postby cr0wley » Fri Feb 17, 2006 2:03 pm

I use Stardock's Windowblinds (which I think is part of DesktopX) and I find it excellent for skinning the main WindowsUI. Unfortunately, you can't use this program alone to change the bootup screens. It will change the colour and style of your desktop, and I believe it can change the logon UI. A demo version is availible but steer clear of warez, they (apparently) do not work. The full version of WindowBlinds is only about $20

Your 'inject code' alert is safe to allow, I would assume it's beause of the way that WindowBlinds manipulates the Windows GUI. Unless you have a hacked version of the Stardock software, it's a false alert.
User avatar
trickfred
level5
level5
Posts: 1691
Joined: Sat Jul 24, 2004 5:01 am
Location: The Great White North, Eh?
Contact:

Postby trickfred » Tue Feb 28, 2006 4:55 pm

TuneUp Utilities 2006 will allow you to add/change themes, boot screens, and login screens; it's like a less bloated version of Norton Utilities with those extra features added. Since I've switched, I'll never use Norton Utilities again.

http://www.tune-up.com/

(Not spam, since I don't work for them, and won't get paid for my previous endorsment)
Radiobuzz
level2
level2
Posts: 165
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2003 6:21 pm
Location: Mar del Plata, Argentina
Contact:

Postby Radiobuzz » Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:19 am

I agree with fred, TuneUp is a really great program. I have been using it for a couple of years now, it's brilliant.

Return to “Introversion Lounge”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests