How to install a Mac theme for Windows

I was just delivered a new laptop from my company. It is a smoking smoking Dell E6500 duo core processor with a sweet solid stated drive and…. Windows XP (booo!).

While it is a very stable system, I can’t help but have flashbacks to the early 2000′s when I look at the XP windows manager. It just looks so dated by today’s standards. After about 20 minutes I just couldn’t take it any more and had to modify the look. I came across a great looking Mac theme for XP and I have to say that overall I am pretty pleased with the look and feel now. Here is a screenshot of what it looks like now:

(click for full-size)

If you want your Windows XP machine to look like that, then do the following. First you will need to run a patch utility that allows you to install non-Microsoft approved themes such as this. Given the restrictive nature of Microsoft software, this is surprisingly easy to do. Download the UXtheme Multi-patcher for free from softpedia.com.  Inside the zip file you will find a single executable file.  Run it and follow the instructions.

When that step is complete, you have now freed yourself to be able to install any theme you like.  You can find lots of themes at places like deviantArt and  WinCustomize.com.  The former is where I found the Mac Panther theme that we will be using.  Download that theme and unzip the contained “Panther” folder to C:WINDOWSResourcesThemes.  Once you do this, go into that folder and double-click the file Panther.msstyles.  With this step, you have now installed the theme.  To finish the look though, I took a few other steps.

First, I moved my start bar to the top of the screen.  If you can’t drag yours, you may need to right-click on the task bar and un-check “Lock the Taskbar”.  After I moved it, I found that it left an undesirable border line on the bottom of the bar that I corrected by rechecking “Lock the Taskbar”.

So what about that background?  I found a pretty nice looking version of that Mac inspired wallpaper here.

And lastly, it is time to create that launcher that you see at the bottom of the screen.  RocketDock is an really clean (and free!) application launcher for windows.  Download RocketDock from here and install.  Customize the options as you see fit and you are done!

So here is the bottom line… Is this whole idea a little bit goofy?  Perhaps.  However, it is far less goofy than a default XP theme for damn sure.  It gives it a really clean feel and I am no longer quite as bitter about having XP. :)