A lot of the great artists submitting to this site are designing complete visual themes for Windows XP/2003 comprised of different components such as shellstyles, wallpapers, sounds, visual styles, screensavers, icons, and cursors. ThemeXP distributes not only complete themes, visual styles and wallpapers separately, but also has Windows XP logins and bootscreens, as well as icons (.iconsets). A visual theme will consist of a .theme file and several other elements of the authors choosing (from the items listed above), of which a visual style (.msstyles) file is mandatory. If there is a single self-installing executable file inside the download, just unzip it and install. If the files are separate, then there should be a .theme file and an associated folder with the visual style and other author inclusions inside the .zip, (if it's packaged correctly).
If your download only consists of a visual style (.msstyles) file inside the .zip, then open it using your favorite install software(Or the Windows default software in the Control Panel.
The simplest and safest way to change a login screen is to use a quality third-party application. If you feel comfortable doing it manually though, here are some excellent instructions courtesy of bFarber Logins (bfarber.com).
- In Explorer, browse to C:\Windows\System32 and find the file named "logonui.exe".
- Rename "logonui.exe" to "logonui.exe.bak". This way if anything messes up...you have a backup.
- Place your new login in C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 and rename it to logonui.exe.
- That's it! Now when you log off your new login screen will be there.
- Download the wallpaper .zip file to your computer.
- Extract the .jpg file from the .zip and open it in Microsoft Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.
- Right-click on the image and choose "Set as Desktop Background".
- Your new wallpaper should appear as your desktop background.
The simplest and safest way to change a boot screen is to also use a quality third-party application. If you feel comfortable doing it manually though, here are the complete instructions for doing so.
- In Explorer, browse to C:\Windows\System32 and find the file named "ntoskrnl.exe".
- Copy "ntoskrnl.exe" to "ntoskrnl.exe.bak", (COPY not RENAME). This way if anything goes wrong...you will have a backup.
- Extract the files inside the .zip file you downloaded to a temporary location of your hard drive, but NOT to C:\Windows\System32.
- Reboot your computer into Safe Mode (hit F8 before the boot screen appears) or into true DOS mode (from a boot disk)
- Browse to where you extracted the files for your new boot screen in Explorer and select the correct file to copy to C:\Windows\System32. If you have SP1 for Windows XP installed use ntoskrnlsp.exe, otherwise use ntoskrnl.exe. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO USE THE CORRECT FILE, OR YOUR SYSTEM WILL LOCK UP ON BOOT.
- If using ntoskrnl.exe, copy the file to C:\Windows\System32 overwriting the existing ntoskrnl.exe, (which should have been backed up).
- If you are going to use ntoskrnlsp.exe, delete ntoskrnl.exe in the temporary folder and rename ntoskrnlsp.exe to ntoskrnl.exe. Then copy the file to C:\Windows\System32 overwriting the existing ntoskrnl.exe, (which should have been backed up).
- All done! Reboot your computer as you normally would and enjoy your new boot screen.
Windows 7 Themes
For all the Windows 7 Users, Microsoft provided a wonderful interface for applying Themes to the System. The theme for Windows 7 is stored in a file called a "Themepack" and this Themepack contains all information for the desktop, icons, sounds, window colors and even Screen Savers - if the author built their theme will all those possible components. Most of our Themepacks on ThemeXP.org have many, if not all, of the key pieces used to make really great themes. Our custom installer will install your windows 7 files without any further action necessary from you if you want the defaults provided by the author. To change any part of the theme, simply right click on your desktop and choose "Personalize" which will take you to the Windows 7 Control Panel for Theme Management.