In this chapter
In this chapter, we take a closer look at three of the most popular skinning utilities: Style XP, StarSkin, and WindowBlinds. Skinning software allows you to dramatically change both the look and feel of the Windows interface. Skinning goes beyond the use of themes in that you are given control over individual interface elements such as the taskbar and Start menu. The ability to change the overall look of the Windows GUI even includes individual window elements such as control buttons and title bars.
In this chapter, we examine various skinning software packages that provide the ability to download premade themes, theme elements, and visual styles. These skin elements have been created by a wide variety of skin aficionados, designers, and artists. Examples shown in this chapter (and other chapters of the book) are the sole intellectual property of the original skin creator. So, although you can edit many of the items you download and then apply them to your computer, you certainly cannot claim to be the creator of that item.
Each of these skinning packages has a unique look in terms of its command window and each employs its own strategy for controlling the various interface elements, icons, backgrounds, and colors that make up a skin. Each skinning software also puts its own spin on how it interacts with the Windows uxtheme.dll skinning engine to provide control over interface items that are normally inaccessible because of the minimal options provided by the default Luna visual style. Let's begin our exploration of skinning software with TGTSoft's Style XP.