A "New Users" guide to Applying Skins ...

A guide for the new user on how to download/install and apply a skin...

Monday, January 10, 2005 by HG_Eliminator | Discussion: New Users

***Scroll down the page for more Tutorials on other applications***

Tutorial part 1:

Windowblinds and Sysmetrix

This guide has been written to help guide new users on how to use and apply a few of the various skins here. once you get the jist of a few different applications the rest should be easy to figure out.

#1 most commonly a skin is the images used to build the applications GUI or Graphical User Interface, in simple terms the "body" of the program. In the case of the MS Windows that would be all aspects of your desktop, icons wallpaper, windows,taskbar.etc.

#2 Many .. but not all programs can be set to use a skin other than the default..

#3 Not all Wb skins in the library will work with Vista, look for the Vista compatible logo below the image thumb in the WBs download page.

Now for the fun part.... To install and use a skin, I will use Window blinds as my first example. The window blinds program apply s a skin to the windows and various parts of the default windows desktop. go here for the full details ... WindowBlinds Site

First you will need the window blinds program. (each library here has a link at the top right that will take you to that programs page to Download it ). See the link above

when done installing, you may then search the library's to find the skins that you want ...I will use BoXXi's Catalyst Evolution for this example.Catalyst Blind

At the right of each skins section, there is a download button. Click on this button to save to your hard drive ..(remember where it saves the file to) I made a specific folder for all my downloaded skins to be saved to.
If you are using FireFox browser you may choose the "open .WBA in Widowblinds (default)" and it will auto install.. then click the systray popup balloon when it prompts you and the skin will be applied.(if you are useing WIN XP SP2 and internet explorer you will have to change the files extension from .zip. to . wba)

you can do this as you Download it by changing the extension to .wba in the "save to" window.. or after you download it by editing the files name to ( file name goes here.wba)

WBA is the file extension for window blinds skins compressed folders.renaming the file to a .WBA will allow window blinds to read the file and install it ...

After you have changed the.zip to .wba you can double click it and it will auto install in to window blinds... Now open the window blinds configuration window ( double click on the window blinds icon in the systray), and in the "my skins section" you should find the newly installed skin.select it and hit the "apply this skin now" button and it will apply that skin to your windows... now you have sucessfully installed your first Window blinds skin...

Now lets try a different application... for this example I will be working with Sysmetrix. heres the library for it ..Sysmetrix Library remember the link to each program needed, is in the top right hand side of it's corresponding library. In this example I will be using Apocalypse_67's Azar skin. (remember to download and install the program first)

Now down load and save the zip file..once you have downloaded the zip file to your selected spot on the hdd, unzip it. Where the files are unziped to depends on how your file compression program (generally winzip) is set up to. Often winzip will make a folder in your HDD named "unziped" generally in the main hard drive (usually C:\unzipped)..

After unzipping the file you need to copy it to the programs "skin or themes" folder for sysmetrix on my pc it is C:\Program Files\SysMetrix\Themes ...copy the folder here .. remember you want to copy the whole folder containing the new skin's files .. not just the files in it .....

Now start sysmetrix. once the program has loaded right click on it .. A menu will pop up. in that menu, select "sysmetrix configuration". This will open the configuration window for sysmetrix. Generally it will open to the "theme browser", in here you can look at the various skins available and choose the one you wish. (in this case im going to select the skin I just installed "azar"). Once you have highlighted the skin you want, press the load button at the bottom middle of the window. This will apply the chosen skin ..... You have just successfully downloaded and applied your first Sysmetrix skin.. Good job !!!

Most the skins are generally the same as the two examples I have given. Download and directly apply or download and save the skins file folder to the programs skins/themes directory.

I will update this article to add more programs as i have time ..
I hope that this article will help those who are new to the skinning community and give a little better understanding of how to install a skin

***update*** scroll down for more tutorials ***


Tutorial part 2:

Icon Packager

This part of the tutorial I will work with Icon packager. first you will need the Stardock Icon packager program found here.Icon Packager
After you install Icon packager find an icon set you like in the library, found here Iconpackager Library.

Pick the icon set you like and select it by clicking the link or the image thumb. you will be taken to the download/comments page. At the right you will see a Download button. Remember again to watch where you are saving the package (as stated above, I set a specific folder up for all my Skins storage and save all skin related downloads there)

Once the icon package is downloaded you can open it directly from the download manager window or go to the specific folder you saved the package to and double click it to install..When installed the Icon Packager configuration window will open with the new icons ready to be applied. Press the Apply button at the bottom right of this window to apply the new theme, and press Close.. Your new icons should now appear in place of the old ones.

Now if for some reason the drive icons in My Computer like C:\ aren't changing try this.
Open Iconpackager/icons & cursors tab/Drives button/Individual Drive Mode setting at mid left. This will allow you to select the icons used for each drive instad of a general Icon used for each drive type.

But if they do not. no fear, try a reboot sometimes XP don't let the drives free to change icons til a reboot..

If at this point they still don't show. try this, open icon packager again,select icons and cursors on the left menu, then select drives, then highlight the specific drive you are having problems with by clicking on it once, then go to the lower left of that window to the "Change Icon" button click it. A new window will open usually showing the icons in the package to choose from, select the one you want and hit OK. after the window closes hit apply in the main Icon Packager window again and close it and reboot. this should force that sticky drive to take the icon.

I hope this helps


Tutorial part 3:


Today I will be focusing on Winamp media player. First you will need to Install the Winamp media player found here.Winamp.com
After installing Winamp go to the Winamp library here "Winamp library" select the Winamp skin you would like to use. Press the download button and it should automatically install the Winamp skin, if it asks if you are sure press yes, as WC allows no Spyware etc to be within the downloads..

Now if the skin is within a Zip file there are 2 ways it needs to be handled.

#1 The skinner zipped the .Wal file in a zip. You will need to extract the wal file from the zip file and then double ckick the wal to install it.

#2 The skinner forgot to rename the Zip file to .wal. A wal file is nothing more than a zip file renamed to Winamps skin file extension. Explore the zip file if you see folders instead of a wal file its probably this. Just rename the .zip to .wal. then double click the file and it should install...

Now you should have the basic idea of how to install a winamp skin...


Tutorial part 4:

Desktop X themes,objects ,widgets and gadgets.


DX themes are typically full desktop suite style themes comprised of a group of "objects" to make a theme, but there are some that only add the major objects like top bars and a few objects.
First you will need to install DesktopX. DX site
After you install DX. select a DX theme from the DX themes library DX library
select the theme you want.Download the theme by pressing the download button..
The theme should auto install and open up DX to run..if the theme is zipped in a zip file you will need to extract the DXtheme file and then double click it to install...
Now your desktop should look like the theme you picked...


These are DX based single objects and require DX installed to run (such as clocks or weather objects). After installing DX select a object you wish to use. click the download button and it should auto run in DX. if zipped do as above and unzip it and double click the object file..the object should now appear on your desktop.


These are Mini programs that only need DX installed to run and will not start DX up to operate..
Select the widget you want and download. Typically they are in a zip file and will need to be extracted to use..unzip the file and double click the Widget file to run... it should now be running on your desktop..


These are full mini programs that do not require DX to run. (clocks,weather, calendar gadgets ,etc..)
Select the gadget yow want from the library and download. It will typically be in a zip file. Extract the zip file and double click the Gadget file... it should now appear on your desktop..


Tutorial part 5:


Bootskins replace the default XP/2000 boot screen you see when your PC is booting up.
Bootskins is not vista compatible

First you will need to install Bootskin program, go here Bootskin
After installing bootskin prog, you will need to find a bootskin you want. Go here Bootskin library
click the Download button of the bootskin you wish to use.
It should auto install and open up the bootskin configuration window, with the newly installed skin highlighted in the window. Now press apply and close the window. your new bootskin should be seen next time you reboot

If the boot skin is in a zip file you will need to extract it then double click the bootskin file to install..and follow the steps above..


Tutorial Part6:

ObjectDock Plus and Free:

(free version: the tabbed section of this tutorial will not apply to you)

First you need ObjectDock, found here

ObjectDock site

Then you will want to Download a new Background set to install

ObjectDock library go here

Remember to save the dock backgrounds zip file to C:\Program Files\Stardock\ObjectDock\Backgrounds then unzip them directly to that same spot so ObjectDock will see them.


After installing the program and starting it running, Right click on the "tabbed" dock. (This is the dock section with the Text tabs at the edge.) In the drop down menu click Tab Settings... This will open a configuration window. In the left side of the window select Tabs and styles. Towards the bottom you will see "Style" the drop down will show all backgrounds available. Select the one you want and it will auto apply. Now merely close the window,and your all done with the tabs .

Main Dock:

For the main dock, right click anywhere on it or the tab dock and select "Dock Settings..." A new window will open. Here you will select "Appearance" in the left side menu. To the right will now show "Background" this drop down menu will have all the backgrounds you installed, as well as the default ones.. Select the one you wish to use and it will auto apply. Now close the window and you are done..


Now for the Icons. Head back to the ObjectDock library and Download a set of icons or PNG images you want, you can use either in ObjectDock. Save the file to C:\Program Files\Stardock\ObjectDock and unzip it to the same spot.

Now go to the dock and select the Icon you want to change and right clik on it. In the drop down menu select "Dock Entry Properties" at the very bottom. A "Dock Entry" Properties window will open. Within this window select "change image" and a new sub window will open. Within this window you will see a Tree Style menu on the left,in it will be the folder you just unzipped full of the icon images you wish to use.

Select the folder and all the images will appear in the right section of the window. Select the image you wish to use and you will notice it instantly changed the one on the dock. After you find the one you want click ok in both windows to close them out. Your new icon is now applied.

Tutorial Part 7:

CursorFX: (free and + versions)

First install CursorFX.

Then find a set of cursors you like from the library.

If by the odd chance they don't auto apply,(typically they auto load as you download them) then you will need to keep an eye on where you are downloading them to.

After downloading the files, browse your PC to the folder you saved them to. Then double click the .CursorFX file to install them. If they happen to be in a zip file extract the file from the zip and double click the file.

Now the Cursors should be installed and applied.

ok lets delve a bit in to the advanced settings. These settings will apply to the + version.


This setting will allow you to set a various number of patterned effects for the button strokes of the mouse. "Left button down" will allow you to set an effect for the left buttons down press, the "left button up" will allow you to set another effect for the buttons up stroke or "release". It goes the same for each button listed..


This setting will allow you to set trailing effects for the cursor. You can preview each trail by highlighting the desired trail with a single click, then moving the cursor over the open box above the selections window. Double click the effect to apply.

More Cursors:

Click to open up your default web browser to WinCustomize's Cursor library.


Appearance tab.
This tab has 5 controls.

"Hue" is used to alter the color spectrum of the Cursor ( basically it changes the colors around).

"Brightness" is used to adjust how light or dark the cursor appears.

"Contrast" This adjusts the contrast saturation of the cursor.

"Opacity" This adjusts the transparency of the cursor.

"Size" This adjusts the size of the cursor. ( kind of self explanitory huh?)

"reset" this will reset the cursors settings back to the defaults.

Shadow Tab:
This tab has 5 settings in Static mode, and
7 in Dynamic mode.

Static mode settings:

"Sharpness" This setting adjusts the clarity of the shadow, one way it will become crisp and clear. the other will give a more blured/ softer look.

"Shadow X and Y" will adjust the shadow left or right up and down in relation to the cursors actual position.( Basically it moves it to either side or above and below the cursor.)

"Disable" will remove the Shadow effect all together.

"Change to Dynamic mode" This will switch to the more advanced shadow settings.

Dynamic mode Settings:

These settings here are more adjustments for moving the "light source" around to achieve even more flexible shadow depth and or cursor height effects.

"reset" sets the shadow settings back to the defaults.

Options Tab:

"Movement Smoothness" basically cursor lag. You can adjust it to make the cursor zip around as fast as you move the mouse, or slow it down. (You also get a pretty trippy effect with shadows enabled.)

"Mirror" Mirrors the cursor from left to right. A nifty extra for Southpaws.

"Hotkey" allows you to change the default Hotkey configuration to what ever key strokes you wish. (The hotkey stroke when used will disable the cursor and revert it back to the default pointer, until you press it again). This is a Handy setting for those games that have their on cursors built in.

"Reset" will set all the settings back to defaults.

I hope enjoyed this advanced tutorial in CursorFX.

Tutorial #8:

Sound Schemes.

Sound schemes allow you to apply new sound's to your PC's sound events. Like the sound you hear at startup and shut down.

First you need Sound Packager by Stardock, found here.

Once installed you will need to find a sound package you want to try. Go here for the packages.https://www.wincustomize.com/skins.aspx?libid=69

Click the download button and save the file to your PC. Once downloaded you can click on the package file and it should auto install to your Sound Packager. ( which will open during the process). After it opens, click apply to set the sounds to your pc and enjoy

Now go have fun Customizing your desktop

First Previous Page 1 of 2 Next Last
Reply #1 Monday, January 10, 2005 10:28 PM
here is a article by BoXXi on how to install and run DX themes...https://www.wincustomize.com/Forums.aspx?ForumID=144&AID=47358#313416
Bebi Bulma
Reply #2 Tuesday, January 11, 2005 2:33 AM
Cordelia has been writing some excellent guides for newbies.


Reply #3 Tuesday, January 11, 2005 3:02 AM
cool ....i hadent seen those ..
Reply #4 Tuesday, January 11, 2005 5:59 AM
thank you
Reply #5 Tuesday, January 11, 2005 9:19 AM
Your welcome
Reply #6 Tuesday, January 11, 2005 3:29 PM
my window blinds skins used to automatically install themselves after downloading. Why do they not do this anymore? Does it have something to do with having windows SP2 installed. Just curious.
Reply #7 Tuesday, January 11, 2005 3:34 PM
yes SP2 on XP changed some stuff in IE.. and now it changes the .wba extension back to zip...you can auto install most the themes like before if you use a different browser like firefox....
Reply #8 Friday, December 21, 2007 6:34 PM
thank you i needed this training
Reply #9 Friday, December 21, 2007 6:58 PM
Reply #10 Friday, December 21, 2007 7:06 PM
Thanks for bumping this up guys. I just got windowblinds today!  
Reply #11 Friday, December 21, 2007 7:13 PM
I just got windowblinds today!

We gotcha!
Reply #12 Saturday, December 22, 2007 8:44 AM
Thanks HG, I'll be using this one tonight!  
Reply #13 Monday, January 7, 2008 11:49 AM
This is really good HG. I think at the very beginning everyone has had questions that your User's Guides would have helped answer. Once people get past the initial start up of the software then the harder questions can be answered by the tutortials.

Good Job.   
Reply #14 Sunday, January 13, 2008 5:45 AM
**Full Update on the main body of the original post, all tut's are within it now...***
Reply #15 Wednesday, January 23, 2008 11:17 PM
Thankk u so much This was so helpful!!!! But could u make it easier to setup?! I was in pain!!! b4
Reply #16 Thursday, March 20, 2008 5:25 AM
good one
Reply #17 Thursday, March 20, 2008 5:46 AM
seriously .... very well written hg, its in plain english and basically very easy for me to understand.......Kudo's mate for taking the time, its greatly appreciated.........  
Reply #18 Thursday, March 20, 2008 8:55 AM
seriously .... very well written hg, its in plain english and basically very easy for me to understand.......Kudo's mate for taking the time, its greatly appreciated
. .  and still good info after three years(with updates!). 
Reply #19 Saturday, March 22, 2008 8:11 AM
Thanks Kitty and Zubaz

Have added an advanced Tutorial for CursorFX to the list. ( A simple one would have been like 4 lines)
Ginette Hardwick
Reply #20 Friday, April 18, 2008 5:50 PM
Is it possible to add new trails to CursorFX Plus please? And if so how?

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