How to make a Visual Style for Windows Vista

With this easy-to understand tutorial, you will be able to create or make your own visual styles for your Windows Vista. Lets us see how you can do it.

Make a Visual Style for Windows Vista

First you will need to download and install the following.

1. The uxTheme Patch. This will allow you to apply custom themes.

2. The My Theme Template. This will install a copy of the original aero theme and place all the required files into the correct locations with Jemaho’s Improved Shellstyle, ready for modifying.

3. Restorator 2007. This is your Tool for extracting and replacing resources from within the .msstyle and shellstyle.dll.

4. Alpha Image Converter. This will convert your images to Alpha Aero.msstyle Compatible Images.

5. A Paintshop Program. This will be your main Image editing software, I recommend Adobe Photoshop CS3 Or Corel PaintShop Pro XI.

Naming Your Theme Files

If you have installed my Theme Template, Navigate to C:Windows\Resources\Themes.

You will need to rename the following files to the name you wish to call your theme. I recommend you name all the files the same.

  • Template.Theme
  • Template Folder
  • Template.msstyle (Located within the Template folder)
  • Template.msstyle.mui (Located within Template folder/en-US)

Editing Your Theme File

  1. Navigate to C:Windows\Resources\Themes
  2. Right Click on your Theme file and select Open with Notepad

Here you will see many changes you can make to you theme. For Example: Cursors, Wallpaper, Title bar Text Colours, Padded Border Width (frame width)

Once you have edited what you want to, Save and Exit the file. You will get full details about the important locations / parts which you may want to edit, in the pdf file, which you can download from the link mentioned below.

Creating your Style (Editing the .msstyle and shellstyle)

  • Navigate to C:Windows\Resources\Themes.
  • Inside your themes folder right click on the .msstyle and select Open with Restorator 2007

Now you will see the contents of the .msstyle All of the images are located in the IMAGE Folder and one is located in the STREAM Folder. (See the Next section “Resource Locations” for a rough guide to show you what images to edit)

  • Extract the Individual images (or the entire image folder)

Drag and Drop to your desktop

  • Edit the images in your Paintshop program

If your Paintshop program does not make Alpha aero compatible images then this is when you need to use the Alpha Image convertor. If your image is not Alpha compatible then you will notice a horrible white background when applied to your theme

  • Replace the Images back into the folder they came from

(e.g. .msstyle\Image) by using Restorator 2007 to drag and drop

  • Save the .msstyle in Restorator 2007
  • Apply your theme to see changes

Control Panel\Personalization\Theme Apply

Repeat the Above Process for the Shellstyle.dll (Windows\Resources\Themes\**Your Theme Folder**\Shell\NormalColor\Shellstyle.dll)

Resource Locations

This is just a rough guide of some of the Common Images you can edit to make your style, there are Hundreds of images you can edit and most of them are used for both aero and basic.

You can also try my .msstyle Resource Finder, to help you narrow down the search to the nearest 40 images.

KEY: Aero-Red, Basic-Blue, Both-Green

For full details with all images, please open my pdf tutorial from here and then Save File As, to your Desktop.

Authored By : Terry Springham (UK.Intel)

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
This post has been submitted by a Guest Author. If you would like to submit a guest post, you may contact me on the mail ID mentioned in the About page.