Changing Windows Vista Themes

Now before we start, I Just need to say that since there are system files that require changes, I can not be held responsible for any system problems that might occur, This is at your own risk. ALWAYS ensure you take backups when changing any system files.

Now Vista has made it a little harder to change themes, as when you upload a new theme to the , however this is a quick guide which will enable you to use custom vista themes.

First step is download the patched system files

Now there are a few options under windows vista, if you are not sure what version of vista you have. STOP HERE you really should not be trying to do this.

Second Step

here are the steps:

1. Login as a user with Administrative privileges -or- have Administrative
credentials ready (check under the keyboard for a slip of paper).

2. Navigate to %systemroot%\System32

3. Right-click uxtheme.dll and click properties.

4. Take ownership of the file and close dialogs. (if you are unsure follow

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for themeui.dll and shsvcs.dll

6. Right-click uxtheme.dll and click properties.

7. Give yourself (or group) Full Control permissions and close dialogs.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for themeui.dll and shsvcs.dll.

9. Rename uxtheme.dll to uxtheme.old.

10. Rename themeui.dll to themeui.old.

11. Rename shsvcs.dll to shsvcs.old.

12. Copy patched files into %systemroot%\System32

13. Reboot (yes, this is really required)

third Step

Download your desired themes

I have found some nice free themes at

Now Here when you extract them most of the themes will be an extension .THEME, this is a true vista theme style, and in this post I am only showing you how to apply these themes. (there are other themes extensions but these are generally previous version formats and I HIGHLY recommend not using them, use only .theme)

Once you have downloaded the .theme you must copy the .theme and associated folder(s) into %systemroot%\Resources\Themes

Now right click on the desktop and go to personalisation and choose themes, Low and behold you now have custom themes.


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