Friday, August 28, 2009

Windows XP Theme Hack


Ever wanted to change the Windows XP theme to something MORE? Like the look of Windows Vista, but prefer XP? Or like the look of Windows 7, but don't have the money/don't have it considering that it hasn't even been released yet? Well, now you can make Windows XP look like pretty much anything you want!

One reason geeks like Windows XP is because of how easy it is to customize. With a little tweaking, hacking, or modifying, you can make it look even more visually appealing.

Note: read this all before doing anything!!!

1. Download UX Tender

You will need to download a program called UX Tender which can be found at this address:
Click "Download Now" (its a big blue button on the right). Save that somewhere you can find it again later.

2. Get Windows XP SP3

Now, make sure you have Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) installed. Some people have SP2...the way you can know is by going to the Start Menu, right-clicking on My Computer and clicking Properties on the drop-down menu that will appear. There, find where it says Windows XP (whatever edition you have), and then below that it will say Service Pack (2 or 3). If it says 2, you will need to go here:
This is Windows XP Service Pack 3--it will install very important updates that are necessary for your security, as well as improve Windows performance. Anyways, you will HAVE to have that installed before you do the hack. Now, I am going to explain why you have to do the hack.

3. Why?

Microsoft only allows a total of 7 themes to be used (the three that come with XP, the classic theme, Royale, Royale Noir and Zune which you can Google), those 7 are the only ones that have been "digitally signed" by Microsoft. There is a file called "uxtheme.dll" in the filepath: C:\Windows\system32\
This file contains the signing stuff. So when you download a theme not made by Microsoft, it won't be able to run unless you remove the digital signing file thing. So the program I told you to download first simply hacks the file and replaces it with one that is not digitally signed. If you ever want to change back, simply run the program UX Tender and click Restore.

4. Hacktime!

Ok, after you have installed Windows Service Pack 3 and restarted the computer when prompted to do so, you will need to run the file you downloaded, UX Tender.

It will open a window with two buttons, Patch and Restore. You will click Patch and it will require a restart (if you ever want to change back, just open the program and click Restore). After you have restarted, you will need to move the attached files to the following directory:


Now you will need to Google search some Windows XP msstyle themes to use (you can also email me and I will send you my favorite themes), and then put them in that directory that i just told you. I assume you know how to change a theme (right-click on Desktop > Properties > Appereance > select a theme and settings from a drop-down box).

Note: You need to have Windows XP SP3 installed to do this. I have done this hack on 4 Windows XP computers with SP3 installed and i have had a problem on my friend's computer, but only because he had SP2 installed and he told me he had SP3, but if for some reason your computer won't get past the splash screen where it shows the Windows Logo, just press F8 when prompted (before you get to the splash screen) and boot into safe mode, do a system restore or unpatch the file and you will be good).
It really makes your computer look awesome! Good luck and happy hacking!

Isaac :)


  1. Did you ever try to make your PC look like a MAC? HAHAHA, I worked for awhile but, things started happening. I had to reinstall XP - Grief. lol.

  2. Lol, yes, I did make my PC look like a Mac, somewhat. I installed a Mac-like MS Style, moved the taskbar to the top of the screen, mimicking the menu bar, i got a program called RocketDock and used that for my Dock, changed all the names of programs to Mac names....I was insanely jealous of Macs--but no longer! :P used a transformation pack I am guessing, right? I tried one of those....but luckily on a really old crummy worthless PC--it was an epic fail. But yeah, i prefer to stick to the basic visual hacks. :D