Copy desktop themes to other Windows XP computers

Familiar desktop themes are can be a great comfort to Microsoft Windows XP users. You can copy a unique or particularly creative desktop theme to another computer just by copying the right files. Greg Shultz shows you how easy it is to make the move.

If you have created a favorite desktop theme and you work on more than one Microsoft Windows XP computer, you may have considered recreating that theme on your other computers. However, manually recreating the desktop theme can be a tricky and time-consuming operation. Here's how you can easily copy your favorite desktop theme from one Windows XP computer to another.

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  1. On the computer containing your favorite desktop theme, right-click the desktop and select Properties. On the Themes tab, with your theme selected, click the Save As button and save the file to the My Documents folder (or folder of your choice).
  2. Launch Windows Explorer and access the My Documents folder.
  3. Look for files with the .theme extension, locate your file, and copy it to a floppy disk or USB thumb drive.
  4. Go to the other computer on which you would like to have your favorite desktop theme and copy the .theme file to My Documents.
  5. Right-click the desktop and select Properties to open the Display Properties dialog box.
  6. On the Themes tab, click the Theme drop-down list and select Browse.
  7. In the Open Theme dialog box, access the My Documents folder, locate your theme file, and double-click it.
  8. Click OK to load the new theme and close the Display Properties dialog box.
  9. While Windows XP loads the desktop theme, you'll see a Please Wait message in the middle of the screen. Your current desktop colors will fade to gray while the new settings are applied.

There is one caveat to this approach — if part of your theme involves wallpaper you created or other graphical elements unique to that particular PC, those elements will have to be copied over along with the .theme file.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

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Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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