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How to Install & Use Custom 3rd Party Themes [Windows 7]


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DISCLAIMER: Please use this tutorial as per your own risk...

If u'll do something wrong, u may brick your PC :P

I'll not be responsible for any loss..

I use this method, so shared with you all..

Windows does not allow 3rd party themes by default thus we need to patch Windows to be able to use those themes. You can use either of the following mentioned free utilities to patch your Windows and to use your favorite 3rd party theme :

Universal Theme Patcher

UxTheme Patcher supports Windows XP SP2/SP3, Server 2003, Vista SP1/SP2, Server 2008 and

Windows 7. It can be used in both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) systems.

You can download it here

1. You just need to run its EXE file and it'll ask you to select the language.

2. Click on OK button and it'll detect the OS and condition of the system files. It'll show you the

information and will ask you for confirmation.

3. Click on Yes button. Now you'll see the main interface of this tool. You just need to click on

the "Patch" button given for each file:

4.Once you patch a file, the "Restore" button gets activated so that you can restore the default

file in future.

5. Restart your system and you'll be able to use 3rd party themes in Windows without any



Is a very small utility created by "Rafael".

UxStyle is a light-weight system service named Unsigned Themes, complimentary to the

Themes service, and a kernel driver, sizing in at ~500k and ~17kb respectfully (beta builds).

The service handles the enabling/disabling of custom theme support and the kernel driver

handles patching. For 64-bit platforms, the kernel driver is signed with a digital certificate, as

required by Microsoft.

Simply download and install the tool and get ready to enjoy 3rd party themes. It works in

Windows XP, Vista and 7.

You can get it from here

Note that it doesn't have any UI. It'll run as a service in background and will allow you to use

3rd party themes.

Applying Custom 3rd Party Theme

Once you have patched Windows, copy your desired theme folder (containing a .theme file and

a folder containing .msstyles file) to "%windir%ResourcesThemes" folder (where %windir%

means "Windows" directory present in system drive where Windows is installed.

Most probably C: drive). Now double-click on .theme file and it'll apply the theme or you can

apply it using Desktop Properties. Also make sure to install any included fonts first.

How to Add "Take Ownership" Option to File or Folder Context Menu

Many times you need to take ownership of a file or folder in Windows. For example, when you

want to customize Windows UI (explorer.exe, explorerframe.dll, shell32.dll) and need to replace

existing system files with a new one.

You just need to download following zip file and extract it. You'll get a .REG file. Run the file

and accept the confirmation:

Take Ownership

It'll add an extra option "Take ownership" in file and folder context menu:

Get it from here

Now you can right-click on any file or folder and select "Take ownership" option. It'll make you

the owner of the file or folder and you can perform your desired operation on that file or folder

such as replacing it.

After taking ownership of the file, backup your original and rename it, then replace it with the

new modded version.

For example to replace explorer.exe, first takeownership. Then rename to, for example

explorer.bak, once that is complete replace it with the modified version of explorer.exe that you


Explorerframe.dll Location

The navigation buttons of Windows explorer are stored in the system file explorerframe.dll. If

you want to change your navigation buttons, you'll have to replace the explorerframe.dll, & on

Windows 7 64-bit even twice!

Let's first see where the explorerframe.dll is stored.

Windows 7 32-bit<x86>:


Windows 7 64-bit:



Changing theme fonts

If you want smaller fonts or to change the actual font for a theme follow these instructions from

the WSB forums...

"Step 1: Open the theme you want to change in a resource hacker. (I use Restorator 2007.)

Step 2: Navigate to the string resource and expand.

Step 3: Drag/drop (or export) "Neutral" into Explorer.

Step 4: Open Neutral.rc in a text editor. (Notepad will suffice)

Step 5: Replace all instances of Font size with your preferred size.

Step 6: Save Neutral.rc

Step 7: Drag/Drop (or import) the new Neutral.rc from Explorer back into your resource hacker.

Step 8: Save the theme.

Step 9: Apply!"

Changing Icons

This can be tricky, for those that want a blank icon to start off with here you are... Blank Icon

It's very easy in Windows 7 with shortcuts to right click/Properties/Shortcut/Change Icon. With

application and system files you have to resort to an icon packager or/as well as reshackiing the

application and finding it's main icon and replacing it.

Alternate Applications/Tools

Windows 7 Start Orb Changer: Ultimate Tool To Change Your Start Orb by | Kishan-Bagaria


Windows 7 Navigation Buttons Customizer: Change Windows 7 Navigation Buttons Easily by |Kishan-Bagaria


Theme Manager - Windows 7 by bickelk

Download Here




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