Before exploring all the aspects of creating your own themes (as we do in the next chapter), let's see what kind of ready-made themes are available on the Web. You can search for themes on the Web as you would search for any other subject matter using your favorite search engine, such as Google or MSN Search.
When you search for "Windows themes" in any search engine, you get a large number of hits. For example, Figure 3.12 shows a Google search for Windows themes that produced more than two million hits.
Figure 3.12. Numerous sites on the Web provide Windows theme files.
So, the issue isn't finding websites with themesit is finding websites that have simple themes saved in the *.theme format. As we discussed in Chapter 1, the terms theme, visual style, and skin are often used interchangeably, so even though the website might say it contains themes, you might actually have found a repository of Windows skins.
Simple themes don't require additional software, but visual styles and skins do. One of the first things you must determine when you search the Web for theme downloads is whether you are actually finding themes, visual styles, or skins.
We will be exploring visual styles and skins as we progress through the book and, as mentioned earlier in this chapter, we consider a theme a simple collection of unique Windows elements such as icons, a background, mouse cursors, and so on. This means our current search is for themes that we can apply to Windows XP without any additional software.
Table 3.1 lists some download sites that contain themes (rather than visual styles or skins that require additional software). We can then discuss downloading the theme and then applying the theme to the Windows XP GUI.
You can also find single themes on a variety of websites. For example, many professional sports teams and the official websites for new theatrical films often offer themes (for the team or movie).