Are you looking to transform the look and feel of your Windows XP or Vista desktop into Windows 7? We had earlier told you about the free windows 7 theme for xp. In this article we tell you on how to use the windows 7 themes from the Microsoft personalization gallery, on computers running XP or vista and also bring all other cool Windows 7 functionality to it.
Download Windows 7 Themes For XP and Vista
Microsoft offers several useful personalization options in Windows 7.There is even a personalization gallery that offers a number of free themes, gadgets and desktop backgrounds.While most themes in the gallery consist of desktop backgrounds, some themes are more complete and bundle within it desktop backgrounds, screen savers, sounds, icons and colors. Though these themes are meant for windows 7, you can use some of the assets like the desktop backgrounds, screen savers, icons and sounds in either Windows XP or Vista.
Head on to the Microsoft Windows 7 themes gallery and check the various themes on display. Download the themes you like to your computer running Windows XP or Vista. The themes will have the extension “.themepack”. This is Microsoft’s proprietary archive file format that packs all the components of the theme and this file format was introduced in windows 7. Earlier versions of windows like XP and Vista may not be able to handle this file format natively. If you had downloaded the theme pack to a computer running Windows XP or vista, you may extract this archive file using the free 7-zip file compression utility.
After extraction, you will find a new folder with the same name as the theme and within it you will find a “Windows Theme File” with a .theme extension and a sub folder named “Desktop Background”. You may find all the gorgeous wallpapers of the theme, within this sub folder. To set any one of those as a desktop background in Windows vista or XP, right click on the wallpaper and click “Set as desktop background”.
If the theme includes sound files, you may copy them to “C:\Windows\Media” to use those sound files. Likewise, if it includes screen savers, copy them to “C:\Windows\System32″ folder.
You may then use these sound files and screen savers like you normally do on your computer running XP or Vista. For example, to use the screen savers in XP, right click on the desktop and click “Properties”. In the “Properties” dialog, click the tab labeled “Screen saver” and choose the desired screen saver from the drop-down box labeled “Screen saver”.
If the theme pack includes icons, you may also use them to replace any of the existing desktop icons. Right click on the desktop icon, choose “Properties” and click on “Change Icon…” button. You may then “Browse” and select the icon to replace the current one.
However, you don’t have to stop with Windows 7 themes.You can download and use the following free utilities to bring all the Windows 7 awesomeness to your computers running XP or Vista.
Windows 7 Aero Peek, Aero Snap and Aero shake freeware for XP and Vista
- We had told you about ViGlance, a windows 7 super bar for XP. With the free tool, you can get the thumbnail previews and the windows 7 Start ORB. It also makes it easy to pin your favorite applications to the task bar and also brings “Jumplist” to windows XP. Download ViGlance from lee-soft.com/viglance
- Download Aero Peek to make the desktop windows transparent in windows xp and Vista. With this functionality, you don’t have minimize the open windows to have a quick peek at the windows desktop.
- Bring Aero Snap to re-size the desktop windows with drag and drop – Download it from www.aerosnap.de
- You can also get the Aero Shake functionality in windows XP using this free tool from lifehacker. Hold the title bar of any active window on the desktop and shake it back and forth to automatically minimize all other open windows to the the task bar.
Using all the above free downloads, you can get the most complete Windows 7 look and feel on your Windows XP or Vista desktop!