HOW TO INSTALL AND USE WINDOWS THEMES GUIDE

5 min read
dpcdpc11's avatar
By dpcdpc11
21 Favourites
35 Comments
6K Views

INTRODUCTION

Hey guys, in case you're new to Custom Windows Themes, here is some information that you might find useful and a guide explaining how to install and use a custom theme. If you're in a hurry, jump ahead to the HOW-TO GUIDE below.


The first thing you have to understand is that Custom Windows themes apply only to Win32/classic apps that inherit the Windows UI and don't have a skinning system of their own like for example Winamp (a media player that uses its own skins) or the Microsoft Office apps (that have their own custom user interface).

So in order to style the titlebar and caption buttons of UWP/modern apps (like the Settings panel, Calculator, Windows Mail, Calendar, etc.) I've created matching Curtains styles for each theme which you can find in the Matching Extras section of the included README file.


If you're into Dark Themes, then you have to understand that these come in two flavors: Dark Mode compatible themes and Full Forced Dark Themes. The first category only applies the dark UI to Windows Explorer and other Dark Mode compatible apps, while the second category is trying to force the dark UI on most of the Windows UI elements. All my Dark Themes are Dark Mode only compatible and I'll explain why. The Windows UI was never meant to be dark in the first place so most apps make use of the Windows UI in this way. Thus by using a Full Forced Dark Theme some apps can become difficult to use. One example is Microsoft Words which gets a dark background in the writing section. My goal behind Custom Windows is to solve problems not to create some more.


Of course, this doesn't stop here. You can further customize your Mouse Cursors, Wallpapers, System Icons and so on, but first make sure to check out the Guide bellow and enjoy your Custom Windows Adventure!

HOW-TO GUIDE

  • create a Restore Point using System Restore (safety first).

  • patch Windows so you can use 3rd party themes by installing UltraUXThemePatcher. This app has to patch 3 DLL files located at "C:\Windows\System32" so make sure you run the installer as admin and follow the on-screen instructions. After you restart Windows run the patcher again to check if all the files are properly patched. It should look like this

Ultrauxthemepatcher Ss
  • If the files are not patched, then take ownership of the unpatched DLLs using this Context Menu Registry Hack. After this is done, run the patcher again as admin, and now you should be good to go! If the UltraUXThemePatcher still doesn't manage to patch the required files, try the SecureUxTheme Patcher.

  • install the themes by copying the content of the Theme folder to "C:\Windows\Resources\Themes\". It should look something like this

Themes Location Ss
  • apply the desired theme: right click on the desktop > Personalize > Themes > Change theme > Click on the theme you would like to use.

  • apply the registry settings by double clicking the relevant .REG file in the Window Metrics folder. These are some registry values that make the theme look right (details like the scrollbar width, window frame padding, etc.). You can always revert back to the default windows metrics values by running the windows10_default_window_metrics.reg file.

  • install OldNewExplorer and enable only the following settings:

✔ Use classical drive grouping in This PC

✔ Use libraries; hide folders from This PC

✔ Use command bar instead of Ribbon

✔ Hide caption text in File Explorer windows

✔ Hide caption icon in File Explorer windows

✔ Hide Up (go to parent folder) button

✔ Enable glass on navigation bar (ONLY FOR Simplify Dark Blue and Dark Purple)

  • restart Windows and... enjoy!

  • fix for Chrome and Edge (titlebar and caption buttons): Right Click the taskbar or desktop shortcut of the browser > Right Click the browser name > Properties and after "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" in the "Target" field, add --disable-windows10-custom-titlebar at the end and click Apply. Should look something like this: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe" --disable-windows10-custom-titlebar. Now start your browser using this shortcut and the titlebar and caption buttons will match your Windows theme. And to make Chrome match even better, here's a little trick: open up a New Tab and click the "Customize" button in the bottom right corner; go to "Color and Theme" and select the color that best fits your current Windows theme, like the color of the titlebar for example, then click "Done" and enjoy!

  • OPTIONAL: style UWP apps: use the available Curtains Styles to theme the titlebar and caption buttons (min, max, close) of UWP/modern apps (like the Settings panel, Calculator Windows Mail, Calendar or other apps from the Microsoft Store).

  • OPTIONAL: get a cleaner address bar: use Blank It to get rid of the dropdown arrow and the refresh icon in the address bar of Windows Explorer.

  • OPTIONAL: narrow vertical taskbar: use 7+ Taskbar Tweaker. Right click on the tray icon>advanced settings and set the no_width_limit = 1.

  • NOTE: before major Windows updates please switch to the default Windows theme and uninstall the UltraUXThemePatcher. After the Windows Update is completed, download and install the latest version of the patcher, but first make sure it's compatible with the new Windows version. Then, after restart, try applying the themes you used before and see if they work without any issues. I usually let people know if my themes work with the latest Windows Update or if I have to update them as well.


Of course, if you guys have any questions, please let me know and I'll gladly try to answer the best I can.

Published:
© 2020 - 2021 dpcdpc11
Comments35
anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
Nightshade-343's avatar
After-Reboot-Curtans-Macishpng

I setup the themes and re booted, and the mac-ish Curtains styles do not seem to change the windows taskbar as intended.

Other styles included with the curtains application do seem to be working, for example "Midnight by Stardock" as seen in the second screenshot.

Screenshot 2021-01-02 160601
dpcdpc11's avatar

Sorry but I can't reproduce your issue. Please use my email from the theme's README file to send me a screenshot of your Curtains settings. I don't want to turn the comments section into troubleshooting here.

My Curtains styles don't customize the taskbar and if the Windows Color is set to Light Mode then it should be white just as the preview shows. Maybe you have some other third party apps that's screwing with your taskbar.

Somiac's avatar

Hello sir, how do I apply or get the firefox theme? Right now its just black.

dpcdpc11's avatar

You have clear instructions on how to do that. Please follow them and it will work.

Carlosjrlu's avatar

Is there any way to make the task manager dark?

dpcdpc11's avatar

Please read the introduction part about Dark Themes.

TwinZombieAttack's avatar

Where do I find the reg files?

dpcdpc11's avatar

Have you actually got one of my themes? If yes, you will find the the relevant .REG file in the Window Metrics folder, as I mentioned in the Guide.

Ph1nPham's avatar

Hi, can I ask what is the Curtains Styles and how can I use it to theme the apps? Thanks alot!

dpcdpc11's avatar

Hi.. Check my Curtains gallery and you'll understand better what this is https://www.deviantart.com/dpcdpc11/gallery/75796086/curtains-styles

GalletaSystem's avatar

because I get a white line after I put another topic, now it doesn't disappear

Sin ttulo
dpcdpc11's avatar

Easy! Press the Alt key on your keyboard to show the menu bar, then right click on it and select Lock toolbars. Press ESC and you're done!

soojohan's avatar
Capture

Any way to hide the column headers?

dpcdpc11's avatar

There's no such option in Windows. Just switch to a different folder view like List or something. Why hide the Headers if you want to use the Details view? Makes no sense.

TBKNaito's avatar

Hi ! Is there any way to remove this black bar or theme it in a way for it to match with the rest ?

Screenshot 2020-12-02 194602
dpcdpc11's avatar

I think you skipped the part about OldNewExplorer. That's the File Explorer ribbon which can't be skinned so it has to be removed using a 3rd part app like OldNewExplorer. You have all the details in the guide so please read it again ;)

Enjoy and stay safe!

TBKNaito's avatar

I'm stupida haha, I checked every right box but didn't click on install

dpcdpc11's avatar

Don't worry about it, you're not the first one ;)

Enjoy!

GalletaSystem's avatar
Sin ttulo

Hello, install followed the steps of oldnewexplorer and the bar is not removed yet. helpp

dpcdpc11's avatar

That's hard-coded into the theme. So make sure you copied all the files from the theme correctly. Then apply a different theme then apply this theme again.

GalletaSystem's avatar

solved. Thanks a lot

dpcdpc11's avatar

Glad to hear that!

Handysaur's avatar

How can i put the firefox theme on edge? Or i cant do that?

dpcdpc11's avatar

Edge is made by Microsoft and Firefox by Mozilla Foundation which is a not-for-profit organization.

So what do you think these browsers have in common?

anonymous's avatar
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In