This book has been organized so that a novice user can explore basic to intermediate to advanced subject matter as each chapter is read. However, the chapters have been written to be primarily self-contained so the intermediate or advanced user can pick up the book and jump to a particular chapter and take full advantage of the topics covered in that chapter.
The book has been configured so the reader can first explore Windows themes (the simplest way to modify the Windows XP interface) and learn how to modify default themes as well as download themes available on the Web. Information is also provided on the various types of skinning software and how to acquire that software. Skins and visual styles can then be downloaded from the Web, making skinning Windows a matter of installing a simple application and then downloading any number of premade skins.
For users with a more artistic bent, you learn how to create your own skins and looks and the software options that are available. Finally, an appendix includes an introduction to software that enables a very advanced user to actually hack Windows resources and create skins without the use of additional skinning software.
Skinning Windows is fun and allows you to take the Windows environment to a whole new visual level. Whatever your current knowledge level is related to Windows, you will be able to use this book to personalize the look and feel of the XP interface. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.