Posted 07 October 2008 - 10:25 AM
Here is how to enable custom themes for Windows XP. A file called uxtheme.dll prevents people from using downloaded 3rd-party themes in Windows XP. I read a lot of tutorials on how to replace the uxtheme.dll but I could never get it to work...until now. Here is what I did:
1. Search online for "uxtheme.dll"
There are many places you can find it. You will use this file to replace the one in windows. Make sure you download the right version for your computer (SP1, SP2, SP3). If you keep up to date with your computer you should have Service Pack 3 by now.
There is an actual .exe patch that will automatically replace the file for you but that's not the way I did it. And it may cause some problems like saying that you are using Windows NT when you are not. Or by asking you to put in the windows xp cd.
2. Once you download the file, restart the computer and boot into Safe Mode by pressing F8 before the Windows XP loading screen appears. (I would save the file under "my computer" or something and not the desktop because not all the desktop icons appear in safe mode.
3. Go to C:\WINDOWS\system32 and search for uxtheme.dll. Rename it uxtheme.dllOLD (I think you can rename it anything you want almost). Drag the new uxtheme file that you downloaded into the folder.
4. Restart windows
5. If you downloaded a theme by now, it should be in the C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes folder.
6. But here is the tricky part that confused me. Right-click the desktop > Properties > Themes and you MIGHT not see the theme anywhere on the list. Even if you go to the bottom of the list to where it says "Browse...". Look for the theme and it won't be there. And if you do find it, it will tell you it is not a valid theme when you try to load it. So if it isn't there, go to the tab that says Appearance and it should be there.
A lot of people say that they have trouble getting this to work and I think the problem may be that they were looking for the theme under the themes tab when it turns out it was listed under the appearance tab. At least that was MY problem all along. Oh well. I hope this helps.