When XP was released, we all rejoiced at the great new look, a nice step forward on the looks side of windows. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided to lock down the themes, making it unexpandable. You where stuck with 3 colors of the same thing. Although pretty, it was...boring after about 3 years of looking at the same thing.
'So, what do we do about that?' You might ask. Well, we break Windows Theme service to allow unsigned themes. The crazy thing is, Microsoft built a great theme engine, capable of handling a large amount of different themes, with no changes to the engine, as long as those themes where signed, but then, Microsoft never released any new themes. So, lets fix the whole signing part. http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=140707 normally does the job.
Now that you have the whole signed themes issue fixed, where do you get unsigned themes? Well, there are a lot of sites, but I like http://www.deviantart.com. They have a lot of different themes, which I will now refer to as Visual Styles, or VS.
Ok, so you have your fixed theme engine, and a nice new theme file, and you are looking to use it. Well, look no further. All you have to do is extract the .zip into your C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\ folder, then go into the folder in explorer, and launch the .theme file. If it doesn't have a .theme file, it might have a .msstyle one.
Doesn't that look nice. Well, it may not, it really depends on weather or not the artist was half good at his job. That, however, is beside my point. You will want more. It looks good now, but the change is only minor. Lets go for some effects, lets add a splash of color and depth to our desktop. http://www.crystalxp.net/galerie/en.id.130.htm is a package of software, aimed at enhancing your desktop. In it is...
A Visual Style(I don't like it)
A OSX looking dock, very handy.
A drop shadow maker, fill your desktop with depth
A icon pack, change the look of almost every default icon.
UberIcon, makes icons bounce to you when you click them
Wow, doesn't that look great?
'Wait, something on my computer hasn't changed... It's that thing, on the bottom, what with the icons...desktop, yeah, thats it, my desktop hasn't changed enough!'
Oh my, yes. We nearly forgot about the lonely old desktop. Look at it, looking all the same. A few new icons, but that is merely a tease as to what it can become. You need something cool, something...almost unreal, you need a Widget! Or many of them. But controlling all these widgets would be hard...unless...I've got it, a widget engine, I am a genise. Wait...It has already been done, by a lot of people. Lets go with Kapsules.
It is not the best widget engine, I would venture to guess, but I like it. Try it out. Make sure you get this widget to hide your desktop icons, because a true widget master doesn't need icons.
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Jan 29 2006, 3:53 pm