For a while now I’ve been using the Zune Windows XP theme (download). That one is by Microsoft and a complete theme compared to Royale which is incomplete (there are "rough" spots here and there).
I like the "Classic" XP theme but it’s a bit too bland. However there is an alternative called HmmXP. It is not by Microsoft and requires a DLL hack to get it to work.
Before explaining how it’s installed, this is what it looks like:
Above: The Start Menu is modified so "Start" is gone and replaced by a small flag icons, words are eliminated to show icons only. This is called the "Compact Menu".
Above: This is the "Normal Menu" view. Still minimal but more in line with how XP usually looks.
Above: HmmXP has several options on how the theme can look.
Above: With "Codename Whistler" selected, the top right of windows get a pixelated fading look.
Above: Applications in the taskbar do not have dividers, but it’s still easy to select anything you want.
I personally give this theme a thumbs up and have switched off the Zune theme to use this. It’s sort of like a "Classic Enhanced" of sorts. Looks very nice and is very functional.
HmmXP Download: http://fugacious.deviantart.com/art/HmmXP-2-0-1-5514034
But yes I did say this requires a DLL hack to get it to work.
The tool required to install this hack is Uxtheme Multi-Patcher 6.0. You must run it, follow the instructions carefully and slowly, then reboot once.
Once you do that, you extract the HmmXP theme into the following directory:
This is what mine looks like:
"Luna" is the standard Windows XP theme everybody is familiar with, as is "Windows Classic". "Zune" is the one I downloaded prior from Microsoft, and the new one is HmmXP.theme along with its HmmXP folder that came with the archive file.
After the Uxtheme installation, the reboot and the extraction of the archive to the themes folder, you will be able to select it from Display Properties.
Final note: If this doesn’t suit your fancy and want to undo what Uxtheme did, just run it again and it will restore your old DLL for you.
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