How to Install Custom Themes and Visual Styles in Windows

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Windows has had help for themes, also called “visible types”, since Windows XP. By default, Windows will solely load Microsoft-signed themes—however you may get round this pretty simply.

There’s a thriving neighborhood of theme-builders who’re nonetheless creating themes for Windows 7 and eight. These aren’t your normal Windows themes, although—they modify the looks of window title bars, buttons, and different visible components.

Patching Your System Information

Windows checks if themes are signed by Microsoft earlier than loading them. In the event that they aren’t, Windows received’t load them in any respect. To make use of them, you’ll have to modify Windows system information—uxtheme.dll in explicit—and disable the examine. Previously, this required booting into Protected Mode and manually changing system information. At this time, there are simpler methods to do that.

UxStyle is the perfect resolution for Windows 7 customers (it not works with Windows 10, so should you’re on the newest and best, see UltraUXThemePatcher beneath for an alternate). UxStyle runs completely in reminiscence, disabling the examine with out modifying any system information. It’s the best, most secure approach to allow third-party themes. To make use of UxStyle, obtain it, extract the .zip file, and run the x64 installer (should you’re utilizing a 64-bit model of Windows) or the x86 one (should you’re utilizing a 32-bit model of Windows). After set up, a brand new course of named “UnsignedThemesSvc.exe” will run in the background. Reboot your laptop and you’ll find a way to set up unsigned themes.


UltraUXThemePatcher is an easy-to-use utility that modifies uxtheme.dll for you. It helps all of the variations of Windows you’d need to do that on—each 32 and 64-bit variations of Windows 10, eight, 7, Server 2008, Vista, Server 2003, and XP. All you’ve got to do is obtain the applying, run it, and reboot your laptop when prompted—you’ll now find a way to set up third-party themes.


Discovering and Downloading Third-Occasion Themes

You’ll discover customized visible types for Windows on a wide range of web sites. The most effective locations to hunt for visible types is DeviantArt. Verify the suitable class web page to your model of Windows:

Observe that these information are usually unconfirmed ZIP or RAR information, which can include malware or hyperlinks to contaminated websites. Use a virus scanner for further safety should you’re in any doubt. Additionally observe that particular updates of Windows (particularly in Windows 10) would possibly require particular updates to theme information—double-check the data on DeviantArt or different pages to make certain the theme you’re downloading is appropriate along with your construct.

Select a theme you need and obtain it to your laptop. As an example the method, we’ll use the Maverick for Win7 theme that makes an attempt to port Ubuntu’s default theme to Windows 7.

Many themes are distributed in .rar format. If you’d like to open these, you’ll want a file-extracting program just like the free 7-Zip.

Putting in Visual Styles

Themes are situated in the next folder:


Every theme has its personal subfolder right here. To put in a brand new theme, simply drop its information into the Themes folder—you might want to affirm the file paste with administrator privileges. The .theme information ought to be in the foundation of the folder.


Observe that some themes could embrace different property and require you to comply with extra directions earlier than they are going to work as meant. For instance, themes could embrace customized fonts and icons. The theme’s obtain web page—or included readme file—will usually include data on finishing the set up course of.

In the event you do want to set up fonts, simply drop the included font information—in .ttf format—into the next folder:



Upon getting a theme put in, you may double-click its .theme file to change to it. You’ll additionally discover it listed alongside the themes included with Windows in your desktop personalization management panel.


As a result of Microsoft doesn’t formally help third-party themes, you’ll doubtless run into the occasional graphical glitch or tough edges when utilizing customized visible types with third-party purposes. Not a lot might be finished about this—builders usually don’t take unofficial Windows themes into consideration when designing their purposes.


Stardock’s WindowBlinds is a well-liked utility that works equally, providing a better approach to set up Windows desktop themes. It makes use of its personal WindowBlinds format for themes, permitting you to set up a wide range of extra themes from Nonetheless, WindowBlinds isn’t free—it can price you $9.99.

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