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Change Windows XP Theme to Look Like Vista

By KarlM
You can change your Windows XP theme to a Vista look, without the need for shell-packs, by using MSStyles.

Changing the Windows XP Theme

Patch the uxtheme.dll file first.

Download some software. You can get various MSStyle themes which look very similar to Windows Vista. You also have the option to obtain shell packs or other themes, although some users claim that this can result in the deterioration of your system. You can use Google to find themes to download. One such theme is –kol’s VistaXP. After downloading the theme, unzip it and copy the files to ‘C:\WINDOWS\Resources\Themes’.

You can now modify your computer’s theme to the Vista theme you have chosen.

Changing the Wallpaper

Many Vista wallpapers are available for download on the Internet. Your downloaded theme will most likely have one as well. If not, use Google to find Vista wallpapers.


You can change your computer’s theme to look like you are using Internet Explorer 7, similar to the way you can get Firefox on computers with Windows Vista OSs (which is employing any user-designed theme and modifying the look of your browser). You can download Firefox and the Google toolbar, which you can use to surf the Internet and manage your e-mail.

After downloading Firefox, you can use any of the Vista-like themes, such as myFireFox and Vista-aero.

Changing the Cursor

Google the ‘aero cursor pack’ and download it. Browse through the folder’s files and study the ‘read me’ file contained within for instructions on how to integrate it into your theme. You can also change your mouse pointer to that of the 3D-White system scheme, which is very similar to Windows Vista’s typical cursor.

Vista-similar Applications

One of the most striking features of Windows Vista is transparent windows. You can incorporate that feature into your current theme by Google-ing and downloading the the following tools:

Vista Explorer – this theme is very much like the actual Vista Explorer, yet it works for the XP OS. It has the transparency feature, just like the OS from which it was derived. The Internet Explorer (Transparent Version) is also quite similar to the actual IE. Here, the task bar’s IR button also says ‘Internet Explorer 7). You can also acquire the real Internet Explorer 7 (which has no transparency feature).


You can fine-tune other features of your theme to look more like Vista’s. Download the ClearType Tuner PowerToy to tweak your font options and activate ClearType fonts. As the actual Vista OS employs the ‘Segoe UI’ font, you can utilize ClearType to use that font as well. If the theme you have downloaded already contains Segoe UI, all you need to do is enable that feature.

Shell Packs

If you wish to acquire shell packs to change your theme, you can get the following off the Internet:
• JoeJoe’s Vista Customization Pack
• CrystalXP’s Brico Pack
• Windows X’s Windows X Longhorn Transformation Pack

Note that the shell packs do not set up your computer theme to look like the most recent builds of Vista or Longhorn.

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