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Windows XP - Change Themes

Welcome to this Windows XP tutorial on how to change your windows XP theme. You may want to change the theme to suit your style and favourite colours

Thinks To Note
  • Click the images to see a larger version
  • Yellow arrows or circles indicate where to look or click
  • Unless specified otherwise use the 'left' mouse button to click

Windows XP - Change Theme

Start Menu in Windows XP showing selection of control panel

With your computer logged into Windows you should have the desktop loaded. In the lower left corner of the screen click the 'Start' button. A vertical menu will pop up.

On the right of the pop up start menu are many commonly used items. As pictured 'Control Panel' is one of these items.

Click the 'Control Panel' option on the start menu.

Control Panel selecting Display

The control panel will load showing all of the available settings. You will see an icon for 'Display' which we have highlighted in the picture.

With your mouse, double click the 'Display' icon.

The Display properties window will appear.

Display properties box showing themes in Windows XP

You will see five tabs along the top of the display properties window. The first one is the 'Themes' tab.

The themes tab should already be selected but if not click the 'Themes' tab once with the mouse.

You will see a picture of the desktop and recycle bin, and above this a drop down box with a 'Save As' button to the right.

The idea of themes is that you change the wallpaper, icons, colours, fonts etc as in the last tutorials and then this becomes your theme which can be saved as below.

Display properties box selecting the themes tab

If you click on the drop down box next to the 'Save As' button it will display all the available themes to you. By default you have a Windows XP theme and a Windows Classic theme.

If you wanted to make the Windows desktop and general appearance look the way it did when it was installed then select the 'Windows XP' theme and then click the 'Ok' button at the bottom of the screen.

If like in our example you have added icons to the desktop, changed the background picture or changed the colour scheme you will see a 'Modified Theme' option.

Display properties showing save as box under themes in Windows XP

As pictured in our example we have changed some of the appearance settings and have a 'Modified Theme' selected. We can now give this a name.

Click the 'Save As' button. A save box will be displayed asking you what to call the theme.

From the 'Save In' drop down box at the top of the window choose the location where you want to store the theme. We have chosen the 'Backup(D:)' location.

Near the bottom of the save box you will see a 'File Name' entry box with a suggested name. You can call the theme whatever you want so long as you keep the .theme on the end. As you can see we have called the theme example.theme.

showing the new selected saved windows xp theme

You can see that once you have clicked 'Save' you are returned to the main display box where you can select the theme.

Notice that in the drop down box it now reads the name you saved the theme as. You can now load Windows XP default themes and rather than making all the changes again to the appearance, just select your saved theme from the drop down list and everything will load the way you saved it.

If you are happy with the selections click the 'Ok' button at the bottom of the display properties box.

Next tutorial - Change Windows XP Screen Resolution

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