When customizing XP, many people think that all you can do is add a different
screensaver picture, however, with the correct knowledge and know-how, this is far from the truth.
Firstly, you will want to enable something on your PC called "Clear Type". Cleartype
renders "sub-pixels" which makes the texts on your PC look visibly clearer. To enable clear type go to:
Start > Control Panel > Appearances and Themes > Display
A new box will open up, and then click the "appearance" tab. Then click the effects box as shown in
the screenshot below:
A new box will open up, and where it shows "Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts",
change it from standard to ClearType.
Then press ok to close the box, then apply and ok to close the other box. You now have ClearType enabled.
The next thing that you can do, is change the color of the start menu.
You will probably notice that its a dull blue color, and that you can only change it to silver, or classic windows.
To get some themes you will first need to download a patch which will patch
up uxtheme.dll. Once this file is patched, you can then use custom themes for your start menu.
To patch uxtheme.dll, there are various programmes that do it for you automatically,
or indeed you can do it manually. I prefer the automatic option.
For Windows XP SP3:
All other Windows Versions
Just download either one, and install it on your computer, and then restart.
You will then be able to install custom themes on your computer. A theme that was supposed to be on XP, but never made it,
was "Royale" which was leaked onto the web in 2005. Its probably the best theme for XP that contains no bugs or anything like
However, if your looking for something more different, you can find various
themes from here:
Simply choose the visual style that you like, download and extract (by
right clicking it and choosing to extract), to:
(Simply go to start, then go to run, and copy the filepath in and press enter, then extract the downloaded
files into that folder)
Then double click the file that has the file format .msstyles
(Windows Visual Style File). Then right click the desktop, choose properties. Go to the themes tab, choose your
visual style from the list, and click apply and ok. A typical Visual Style file will look like this:
And thats it. Job done! The visual style (i.e. start menu, start up,
explorer etc) of your computer will now have changed to the look you wanted.
Customizing the boot screen is very easy, with a highly useful programme
called Tuneup Utilities. The boot screen, is the image that loads when your PC is loading the system files. Usually, it will
say "Windows XP" with the Microsoft Logo. But this can easily be changed
with an image of your own. An excellend guide to do this can be found here:
TuneUp Utility will additionally make a backup of your bootup files, so
when inserting a custom image, if anything goes wrong, your PC will still be able to load the system files.