Hacking Uxtheme.dll - Watercolor Theme

One thing I immediately do on a new pc is get it personalized. This includes changing icons and wallpapers, but also resource hacking the run box and hacking the uxtheme.dll to support custom themes.

Today I'll talk about implementing the Watercolor theme I have been using for a year now, and got a lot of mails on where and how to get it.

First you have to modify UXTheme. This used to be somthing "difficult" but now it's easy. Get the UXTheme Multi-Patcher and run it.

As always, and on the left side of the blog, I'm not responsible if something goes wrong, everything you do is your responsability.

Normally, according to the page I just linked, this doesn't work on XP SP2 final, but I ran it anyway and it worked. Just make sure you wait for the Windows File Protection box to come up.

Next you get the Watercolor theme, unzip it and run WatercolorLitev211.exe, it'll install the theme and you can select it from the Desktop Configuration control panel. It packs with several colors, I either have it set to Blue or Ergonomic.

Enjoy your sweet new theme :p

A screenshot from a previous posting demonstrating the theme:


  • THIS watercolor thems is so sweet! This tutorial is great =) much bettery then that Windows XP Silver look ;)

    And again, gratz to the man ;)

  • same here, theme hacking is actually more easy :)

  • Seriously, why would anyone even consider going for the super-bloatware like Windows Blinds when you can do it with uxteme.dll patching as easily and much more efficiently.

  • Just discovered this by accident but another way to get some themes to use with your hacked uxtheme.dll is to install the demo of StyleXP them remove it.

    If you look at the Appearance tab under Display Properties then check the Windows and buttons dropdown it seems to leave all it's themes behind, including a decent Mac-alike thing and the various flavours of Watercolor.

    I don't know if it's relevant but I was using the Watercolor theme when I uninstalled StyleXP.

  • Just curious, what are the two additional buttons on your Notepad's title bar?

  • I installed that on my Thinkpad, it runs great. Does it work in Windows 2000?

  • I used Style XP in the past and it stopped to work after a while because you have to pay for it. There were some workarounds but they were tedious and not really clean. When I saw this solution I was very happy because Watercolor is a very nice theme (my favourite!) and this provides a way to use it without much hassle or costs. Also I'm quite certain WindowBlinds and programs like that either modify system files also or otherwise disrupt the 'normal' working of the OS so I guess this is 'cleaner' than WB as you don't have to run an extra program.

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