[Guide] Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Windows Customization

We here at AskVG regularly share Windows themes, skins, wallpapers and other customization stuff. Sometimes people get confused with different terms which are used for various customization goodies such as visual style, msstyles, etc.

That's why today in this topic, we are going to post some frequently asked questions (FAQ) with answers so that you can understand them better.

So without wasting time, lets share the QnA list:

Q. 1. What is a Theme/Visual Style? Are both same or is there any difference between them?

=> Visual Style & Theme are not same. But many people use these words in same manner. Actually Visual Style has extension .msstyles, while a theme has extension .theme.

Visual Style is the main file, which skins all parts of windows, like border, titlebar, buttons, etc. A theme file stores all settings, like icons, wallpaper, etc along with the visual style.

Q. 2. When I opened Display Properties, I got only 3 Visual Styles, Blue, Olive Green and silver. How can I get more?

=> You can download lots of themes and skins for Windows and other software from following section:

Themes and Wallpapers

Q. 3. I downloaded some Visual Styles, but none of them are working on my computer. Am I missing something?

=> By default, Windows doesn't allow 3rd party themes. So you'll need to patch a file uxtheme.dll to allow 3rd party themes. Take a look at following article:

How to Install & Use Custom 3rd Party Themes in Windows XP, Vista & 7

Q. 4. Can I edit my downloaded .msstyles file?

=> Yes, You can use Resource Hacker to edit themes, but it requires some expertise.

Also check:

[Guide] What is the Difference between a Theme, Themepack, Skin, Visual Style and msstyles?

Complete Guide for Windows Customization Terms and Resources


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Posted in: Software, Themes & Wallpapers, Windows 7, Windows 8 / 8.1, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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  • Hello VG, Recently i have seen some themes that include "Boot Screen" And "Logon Screen" too, How can we create themes like that, And one more thing, You have also said theme contains icons, how can we add icon to themes . I have seen your theme "Vista VG Blue Refresh" & "Vista VG Ultimate", Icons are not included.

  • VG

    ^^ You can only define icons for My Computer, Recycle Bin, etc using its .theme file. And you can't set boot screen, etc using a theme. You'll need to change them manually.

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