Make XP Look Like Vista in 3 Easy Steps

vistablackscreenshotsmallI was sick of how my laptop looked.  So I tried to ‘freshen it up’ but I only had a couple of themes on my system, and those looked like they came from 3.1 era…, so I selected get more themes in the properties–>themes directory, only to be routed to a website telling me to upgrade to Vista.  So then I searched the web for XP Themes and got completely confused because, after selecting I theme I liked and trying to download it, I found out that you had to buy and install some software to use it.  That’s not what I was looking for!!!  I just wanted to download a free theme!   So I got stubborn, and it took me a couple of hours, but I finally got it pinned down.  So I thought I’d share my experience with you so others wouldn’t have to spend a night pulling their hair out like I did.

3 ‘Kind of’ Easy Steps

1. Go to http://themes.belchfire.net/ and you have to register before it lets you download a file… so you give it an email and it sends you an email and you open the email and click the link and then…  you will be able to download your file (a bogus process that someone needs to fix).  Then you can go to the page on ‘belchfire’ that has the file you want here –>   http://themes.belchfire.net/index.php?automodule=downloads&showfile=6803 and just save it to your desktop for now.

2. Because Microsoft insists on making things difficult, you have todownload a freeware program to ‘fix’ or ‘workaround’ the partial road block Microsoft built into XP that made it so you couldn’t use themes from anyone else but Microsoft.  I happen to be running service patch 2, However, if you are running service patch 3, I did notice that Softpedia had a link to this same program that is designed for that version…  so just download the one appropriate for what you are running (either Service Patch 2 or SP3).  I’ve only tested it with SP2 but soon I’ll put this on my desktop too and then update this post.

Service patch 2:

http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/OS-Enhancements/UXTheme-MultiPatcher.shtml

Service patch 3:

http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/OS-Enhancements/UxTheme-Patch-for-Windows-XP-SP3.shtml

This is the part that was a little hairy, well…  it’s a lot hairy.  In fact, it’s so hairy it’s scary!  🙂  After I downloaded it and ran it I got an error that said 200811ddhorror_28jpgsomething like ‘you’ve got a file in i386 folder and it isn’t recommended to continue.  Either move that folder or cancel the operation’. I took a leap of faith and moved my i386 folder to c:\my documents and then I ran the software and everything turned out great.  After running this program you do have to reboot your PC.

3. Now open the directory, C:\windows\resources\themes and then open the zip file you downloaded in step 1, double click on the directory and it will open and show you 2 other directories named ‘fonts’ and ‘theme’ , open the ‘theme’ folder and then drag and drop the ‘Vista VG Black’ directory into the “C:\windows\resources\themes” that I had you leave open a minute ago.  And do the same with the file named VistaVG Black Theme file that you see there and then you are ready.  All you need to do is right click on your desktop and select ‘properties’ and then select ‘themes’ and choose ‘Vista VG Black’ and it will change everything for you.  Including the wallpaper, cursors, Start bar, active and inactive windows, sounds… everything will look just like Vista and I really like it.  One added bonus…  now you can download any of the themes on that site you registered for in ‘step 1’ and they will work.  Also, I’m sure there are other sites that have many many other themes for Windows XP.  I downloaded 3 before I found the ‘vista’ one I liked.  So now you are free!  the way it should be!!!

I will put in a brief disclaimer in this post, which is really only common sense…  I test this software I write about and it works for me.  I can’t accept responsibility for anything that doesn’t work or if something screws up your system…  But at least I tried it on my CPU and it worked well and without problems, which is better than you just trying it on your own!   And that disclaimer really applies to all my blog posts. 🙂

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