HOW TO: Distribute a Custom Desktop Theme to Users in Windows XP

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Article ID: 310514 - View products that this article applies to.
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This step-by=step article describes how you can distribute a customized desktop theme to other users of Windows XP-based computers. If you create a customized desktop theme, you can distribute it to other users to standardize the appearance of the Windows XP interface across the enterprise, within departments, or just to those users who admire your design and want to use it.

Distributing Custom Desktop Themes

When you save your customized theme, Windows XP saves the file in the theme name.theme format, where theme name is the name you gave the theme. By default, the file is saved in the My Documents folder. Built-in system theme files are located in the %SystemRoot%\Resources folder. The theme file is similar to an .ini file, as it contains section headings with data for each section.

For example, the [Control Panel\Colors] section contains data about the appearance of title bars, borders, windows, and so on.

You can send a theme file in an e-mail message, or copy it to a remote computer by using My Network Places. A recipient can take the following steps to load the file:
  1. Right-click the desktop, and then click Properties to open Display Properties.
  2. On the Themes tab, click Browse in the Theme box.
  3. Locate the folder that has the theme file, and then double-click it.
  4. Click OK to load the new theme, and then close Display Properties.
NOTE: Windows XP displays a Please Wait message while the new settings are applied.

For additional information about Windows XP desktop themes, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307855 HOW TO: Configure Desktop Themes in Windows XP


Article ID: 310514 - Last Review: October 26, 2002 - Revision: 1.1
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
kbhowto kbhowtomaster KB310514

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