How To Apply Custom Themes To Windows XP SP3

Customization is something I enjoy greatly. Why can’t we use user made themes in Windows out of the box? Beats me. Luckily, there are ways you can! What you need is something that will patch UXtheme.dll to allow third party (non-Microsoft) themes. This tutorial will guide you through installing, setting up and using Uxtheme Multi-patcher 6.0 to apply custom themes to Windows XP SP3, and I’ll share 5 of my favorite themes.

  1. Unzip the Multi-Patcher and click Patch. A window will pop up asking if what it describes is your OS, click Yes if it does. Another window should pop up asking you to wait a moment and telling you not to have any Windows Setup CDs in your computer. Click OK, and then it will tell you that you need to restart. Click OK to have your computer restart or click Cancel to restart later. You need to restart before you can use themes. I usually download some themes before I restart, but you can restart first if you want.

  2. click to enlarge

    Note: If you ever want to go back to your old ways, you can just run the UXTheme Multi-Patcher again and it will revert UXtheme.dll back to normal.

  3. Now, lets get to those themes! I’m going to share five with you. I find almost all of the themes I use on DeviantArt. To apply these themes, you need to right click on your desktop, click Properties, and then on the window that pops up click the Appearance tab.
  4. First up, Aquanox, shown below. Just click download, open the .zip file, and run the installer. Simple, right? Unfortunately, not all themes are this easy to install.
  5. Next, SlanXP 2. This one is slightly more complicated than just running an installer, but don’t worry! It’s still really easy. Download the .zip file, open it, go into the SlanXP2 folder and you should see something like what’s shown below.
  6. Open up the Fonts folder in the SlanXP2 zip, then open up your computers Font folder. Usually C:\Windows\Fonts (quick tip: copy that, press Windows Key + R, paste it, and press enter. The folder should open!). Select the fonts in the .zip file and drag them into your computers font folder. This will install the fonts. Now go back in the .zip file. You can ignore the Walls folder, or copy it somewhere if you like them. What we’re really after is the SlanXP2.msstyles file. You’ll need to go to your computers theme folder, usually C:\windows\resources\themes. Create a new folder here, name it SlanXP2, and drag the SlanXP2.msstyles file into this new folder. You should now have the theme in your Display Properties -> Appearance tab now. The different color schemes for this theme actually just use different fonts.
  7. Next up is GUI.Relax, because all black themes get boring after a while. Download the .zip and open it. With this one you can just copy the GUIRelax folder into your themes folder. You can also delete the wallpaper folder inside of it if you don’t want to use it.

  8. Second last one! Royale Vista II Final. I used this one for a really long time. It also another one with an installer! I’m showing blue but there’s a black scheme you can switch to.
  9. Now, the final, and one I’m using currently, NiteLiteXP! I’ve been using this for a few days now and really like it. Will probably stick to it for a while. Download it, open the zip, go into VS Original and copy the folders in there to your themes folder.

I hope you enjoy the themes. Please feel free to share some of your favorites!

34 thoughts on “How To Apply Custom Themes To Windows XP SP3”

  1. Pingback: How to install custom icons and cursors in Windows - Simple Help

  2. Thanks for these services
    However, your translation into arabic is too weak as many words were not translated correctly but instead they were writin in arabic letters. I think you should ask for advise from proffesional arabic translators.
    Yours
    Dr. Salah Najim

  3. WOW, TYTYTYTYTY, you don’t know how much i wanted this, you are a genius thank you very much, you helped me extremely, i have been trying to apply themes for 4 hours and couldnt get it reading this it took me 10 minutes, :P

  4. This does not work for me. I ran the multi patcher on my XP Pro SP3 and it worked without any problem, then I copied the complete GUIRelax folder to my C:\Windows\Resources\Themes folder. But when I try to change themes the GUIRelax option isn’t shown, only the standard ones like Zune. The ‘Browse’ box only displays ‘.theme’ files, which GUIRelax doesn’t have. What am I doing wrong?

  5. To Phil: Once you’re in Display Properties, select the Appearance tab, not the Themes tab. You’ll find the “themes” there in the drop down box.

  6. it still doesnt work… can someone please send me a message and explain it to me step by step.? i used that program at the beginning and all it has done was change my current theme to the old one ‘Windows Classic’.

  7. ok something’s wrong with mine.. I downloaded and extracted the Uxtheme Multi-patcher 6.0 and when i tried to open it, it said : “The Uxtheme Multi-patcher 6.0 has detected that there’s any Windows NT setup file in C:\i386.. It’s not recommended that you continue with this. Please eject your Windows NT CD or move that folder to somewhere else.”
    I don’t know how to deal with it…
    Also I have installed the program Style Xp .. would uninstalling it help?..

  8. You need to remove the i386 folder from your c: drive as the patcher has detected it.
    just rename or move it somewhere else and retry the patcher

    david

  9. ok something’s wrong with mine.. I downloaded and extracted the Uxtheme Multi-patcher 6.0 and when i tried to open it, it said : “The Uxtheme Multi-patcher 6.0 has detected that there’s any Windows NT setup file in C:\i386.. It’s not recommended that you continue with this. Please eject your Windows NT CD or move that folder to somewhere else.”
    I don’t know how to deal with it…
    Also I have installed the program Style Xp .. would uninstalling it help?..

  10. it doesn’t worked on mu pc(windows xp)
    i pasted both font as well as themes in the right directory
    but in appearance tab(windows & buttons) only predefined themes are there….
    anyone pls. help me sort out my problem>>>>>>

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