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Using Desktop Themes in Windows XP

A great way to spice up Windows XP is to change the default desktop theme that is displayed. A theme in Windows XP is what defines the appearance of the desktop. The desktop elements that can be modified within a theme include the background, screen saver, fonts, icons, mouse pointers, colors, and sounds.

There are several themes that are shipped with Windows XP or a custom theme can be created. Listed below are the procedures for changing or customizing a Windows XP desktop theme.

Change Windows Desktop Theme:

  1. Click Start | Control Panel | Appearance and Themes | Display. Alternatively, right-click on desktop and select Properties from menu.

  2. Select Themes tab, then from Theme list select a new theme. The sample box will display a preview of the theme as they are selected.

  3. After selecting a new theme click OK.

The theme that was selected is now applied to the computer.

If none of the predefined themes tickles your fancy then a custom desktop theme can be created.

Create a Custom Windows Desktop Theme:

  1. Click Start | Control Panel | Appearance and Themes | Display. Alternatively, right-click on desktop and select Properties from menu.

  2. Select Themes tab, then from the Theme list select theme to modify.

  3. Modify the settings of the theme to desired settings. The listing below includes the desktop elements that can be modified and where to locate the setting. Any combination of elements can be customized.

    Desktop Background - Select Desktop tab in the Display Properties dialog box.
    Desktop Icons - Select Desktop tab in the Display Properties dialog box then click Customize Desktop.
    Screen Saver - Select the Screen Saver tab in the Display Properties dialog box.
    Colors and Fonts - Select Appearance tab in the Display Properties dialog box.
    Mouse Pointers - Select Pointers tab in the Mouse Properties dialog box from Start | Control Panel | Printers and Other Hardware | Mouse.
    Sound Scheme - select Sounds tab in the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box from Start | Control Panel | Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices | Sounds and Audio Devices.

  4. Click Save As.

  5. Type a name for the new theme in the Save As dialog box, click Save.

  6. Click OK.

You now have a one of a kind desktop theme which is saved in the My Documents folder with a .theme extension.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Allison Nunn. All rights reserved.
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