How to Distribute a Theme in Windows Vista - dummies

How to Distribute a Theme in Windows Vista

By Woody Leonhard

If you’ve taken the time to create a custom Vista theme, you probably want to be able to share it with others. Right? To share your new creation, you need to know how to distribute a theme in Windows Vista.

When you distribute a theme, you gather up all the pieces and move them, along with the .theme file, to the new computer. How do you know where to find the pieces? You look in the .theme file:

  1. Choose Start→All Programs→Accessories→Notepad.

    Poor, humble (and eminently useful!) Notepad appears on your screen.

  2. Choose File→Open.

    You get a run-of-the-mill Open dialog box.

  3. In the drop-down box to the right of the File Name box, choose All Files. Navigate to the new .theme file you created. Click Open.


    You see a whole bunch of Registry-style garbage.

    When you create a theme, you create a .theme file. If you weren’t specific about where that new .theme file should be located, Vista probably put it in your Documents folder.

  4. Look for filenames and locations. Print the .theme file if need be. Then “X” out to close it.


    In particular, the Wallpaper entry points to your %USERPROFILE%Pictures folder. (That’s your Pictures folder.) If you changed any cursors, the location of the cursor files is in the section marked [Control PanelCursors]. If you changed any sounds, the location of the sound files appears toward the end of the .theme file in entries marked [AppEventsSchemesApps.Default.Default.Current].

  5. Copy the .theme file, wallpaper image, and any custom cursors or icons from your computer to their corresponding folders on the new computer.

    Use the information you found in the .theme file guide you.

  6. On the new computer, right-click any empty part of the desktop and choose Personalize. In the Personalization dialog box, click the Theme icon.


    You see the Theme Settings dialog box.

  7. From the drop-down Theme box, choose the theme you just moved. Click OK.

    Lo and behold, your theme has made the leap.