On my XP systems, I prefer the darker tones of Microsoft’s add-on “Zune XP Desktop Theme (direct MSI download link)” theme.
If I had to go with a 2nd XP theme, it must be Royale Noir.
I can’t stand the default punky green-blue "Luna” theme, nor does the silver version look any better. I’d rather go back to “Classic” in the Windows 2000 theme. In fact, that’s what Lavie still prefers on her XP laptop profile.
So when I found notice of another “official” Microsoft theme freely available I took a look. Wow!
Microsoft’s “Embedded” theme is both fresh and nicely tonally blue.
It’s almost “harmonious” in a sophisticated way.
While my main XP interface remains Zune black/orange. For my virtual PC sessions (and Lavie’s profile) I have switched to “Embedded”.
What makes all of these themes nice is that they were all signed by Microsoft “officially” so you don’t have to do any dll hacking/swapping as one does with other “unsigned” replacement XP themes.
- Download Windows Embedded Theme for XP and 2003 – Sizzled Core
- Windows Embedded Theme Available for Xp, 2003 - Download Squad
How To Install XP Embedded Theme
It’s pretty simple, download, unpack, copy, and activate!
However, for some reason, folks have been a bit confused on how to install this theme.
So here’s Claus’s attempt at instructions on installing the “Embedded” theme on XP;
- Download Microsoft Embedded Theme as a ZIP file and save it somewhere handy.
- Unpack it.
- Then in another Windows Explorer session, browse to c:\windows\resources\themes
- Copy the “embedded.theme” file from your unpacked zip folder and drop it right in that folder.
- Copy the "Embedded" folder from your unpacked zip folder and drop it right in that folder.
- Note: You should see what I mean as the Luna.theme and Luna folder should already be present.
- To activate this theme switch, either right-click on your desktop to change the theme/properties or just double-click the Embedded.theme file.
The included “WES_Desktop.bmp” file is just an optional wallpaper for the XP Embedded platform that is nice, but not really needed unless that's your thing.
Happy XP Theming!