Style XP from TGTSoft (www.tgtsoft.com) provides a single interface that enables you to select the current theme and visual style and then apply them to the Windows GUI. Easy access is provided to different theme elements, such as icons and backgrounds. Style XP also provides the ability to quickly change the logon screen or Windows boot screen that you associate with a particular theme or skin. Figure 6.1 shows the main Style XP window.
Figure 6.1. The Style XP window.
Style XP is add-on skinning software that integrates itself with the internal strategy Windows XP uses to skin the interface. Style XP directly uses the Windows uxtheme.dll skinning engine. So, any of the objects and interface items that make up a visual style created for Style XP are rendered and loaded in the same manner in which the Luna visual style is loaded by Windows (as the default Luna visual style). Therefore, you are not looking at a lot of additional overhead in terms of memory use when you use Style XP to skin Windows.
The previous chapter talked about how the uxtheme.dll is designed to accept only digitally signed visual styles and that either a patch or software running on top of uxtheme.dll is required for skinning. Style XP does an in-memory patch of the uxtheme.dll; this is why the internal skinning engine is then used to load Style XP skins.
Style XP can be loaded when Windows boots up and then accessed from the system tray. However, if you don't want to expend the system resources to have quick access to the Style XP window (via the system tray), you can load and unload Style XP as necessary as you manipulate the various theme elements and the visual style, including mixing and matching elements to create new themes or downloading themes, theme elements, and visual styles and then applying them.
Let's take a look at how you download and install Style XP. We can then sort out the Style XP window and look at the various ways to manipulate the Windows interface using Style XP.