Make Windows XP look the way you want

Microsoft Windows XP lets you change the look of your operating system. You can change everything at once by choosing a theme, or customize the appearance of Windows XP by tuning individual settings.

How to change the theme

Themes can change every aspect of your computer's appearance, including colors, sounds, pointers, and the desktop background. To change your theme, first find one that appeals to you. The Microsoft Download Center has many themes, or you can search the web. After you download a theme, install it as you would any other program. After you've installed a theme, you can change it manually.

To change a theme

  1. Right-click your desktop, and then click Properties.

  2. In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Themes tab, click the Theme list, and then select the theme you want to use.

  3. Windows XP shows a preview of the theme. If you like how the preview looks, click OK. Otherwise, click Cancel.

    The new theme takes effect immediately.

How to change your screen's appearance

Themes can change every aspect of your computer screen's appearance. You can also choose to change only one or two things, such as the color of your windows or the font size.

To change the appearance of Windows XP

  1. Right-click the desktop, and then click Properties.

  2. In the Display Properties dialog box, click the Appearance tab.

  3. To change the colors used in your screen's appearance, click the Color scheme list, and then click a new color.

  4. To change text size, click the Font size drop-down box, and then click a new size.

  5. Click the Advanced button.

  6. In the Advanced Appearance dialog box, click the Item list to select what aspect of the appearance you want to change. The most important items are:

    • 3D Objects. The color of buttons and windows.

    • Desktop. The color of your desktop if you don't have a picture.

    • Active Title Bar. The color, size, and font on the title bar of the window you're currently using. You can fade between two different colors.

    • Icon. The size and font of the icons on your desktop.

    • Inactive Title Bar. The color, size, and font on the title bar of the windows you aren't currently using. You can fade between two different colors.

    • Menu. The size of the text in menus.

    • Scrollbar. The width of scrollbars.

    • ToolTip. The size of text that appears when you hover your pointer over an object.

  7. After you've made changes to your settings, click OK.

  8. In the Display Properties dialog box, click Apply to test your settings. Click Cancel, and return to step 5 to change any settings you don't like.

  9. Click OK to close the Display Properties dialog box.

If you get tired of your computer's new look, you can always change the theme again, or you can select the Windows –XP theme to return to the familiar blue.