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Win95 FAQ Part 13 of 14: MS Plus etc.
Section - 13.5. How do I use Desktop Themes?

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Part10 - Part11 - Part12 - Part13 - Part14 - Single Page )
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Top Document: Win95 FAQ Part 13 of 14: MS Plus etc.
Previous Document: 13.4. How do I use DriveSpace 3?
Next Document: 13.6. How do I use the "Visual Enhancements"?
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
   Be sure to install at least one theme from the included Plus themes to
   enable themes in general, otherwise Plus Setup won't install any theme
   support. You can always hand-delete the components of the theme and
   retain theme support.
   
   From here, you can use a theme from the included list, or download a
   favorite from www.windows95.com.

     * 13.5.1. How do I make my own theme and save it? 
       
   To make your own theme, make your own custom changes to the desktop
   scheme, colour scheme, sound scheme, mouse pointers, and screen saver,
   using the Properties sheets or control panel programs for each. Once
   you're satisfied with your work, run the new Themes control panel and
   "Save As..." to create a .theme file.
   
   You may also change the icons for My Computer, Net Neighborhood, and
   Recycle Bin. Bring up Display properties and hit the Plus! tab to
   change them.
   
   You should store all the custom icons, animated pointers, sounds,
   screen saver, and bitmaps in C:\Program Files\Plus!\Themes so your
   theme users can install the theme easily. If you use a custom font,
   include instructions on copying the font to the Windows\Fonts folder.
   Batch files can use the Win95 START command if necessary.

     * 13.5.2. Where can I get more themes? 
       
   www.windows95.com has a well regulated themes section. I'm sure
   other major FTP sites will also carry Plus themes.
   
   Usually a custom theme has a special installation procedure; you have
   to install a font, copy a screen saver to your Windows directory, copy
   a bitmap to your Windows directory, etc, for use in the theme. All of
   these options (except custom fonts) can go anywhere in the hard drive,
   so C:\Program Files\Plus!\Themes is a good place to keep them.

     * 13.5.3. Why do all the themes I downloaded take up so much hard
       drive space? 
       
   Be warned: a typical theme is about 750 KB to 1 MB in size, and that's
   the compressed size!
   
   Be reasonable; pick a theme after you browsed all the themes you
   wanted to see, and delete the components of the others.

     * 13.5.4. How did Microsoft replace all the drive, folder, printer,
       etc icons? 
       
   This is actually quite "cool" how they did this. Explorer has Registry
   entries for each icon type it displays, and grabs that icon type from
   an .ICO or .DLL file when it starts. It usually grabs them from
   SHELL32.DLL.
   
   Plus Themes also support these Shell icons, though they don't document
   them. Look for a library file labeled COOL.DLL (I'm not making this
   up!) and QuickView it, or try changing the icon for any shortcut and
   use COOL.DLL as the source for the new icon. There are icons in that
   library to replace all the normal Shell icons. Theme support also
   includes replacing the SHELL32 icons with these COOL ones.
   
   You won't notice any changes to the icons until you use 65 thousand or
   16 million colour modes; then the system over-writes COOL.DLL with a
   HiColor version. The HiColor icons really stand out compared to the
   256 colour ones. NOTE: If you ever have to re-install Win95, Setup
   will restore the original SHELL32 icons; you'll need to re-install
   Plus to restore the COOL icons.
   
   Angelo Di Pierro says these HiColor icons are really 256 colour icons
   (eight bitplanes) and you can control which version of the icons come
   up with the Registry key
   HKEY_USERS\.Default\ControlPanel\Desktop\WindowMetrics (or
   HKEY_CURRENT_USER\etc... if you use User Profiles) and the value
   "Shell Icon BPP". Use values 8, 16, or 24. This seems to work
   regardless of what display mode you're actually using. You can also
   change the Icon size in this key; it support three size versions
   (small, normal, and large). This logic works because modern DLL and
   .ICO files (including COOL.DLL) include several versions of each icon.
   
   Theme support does not include directly modifying these icons, but you
   could do some searching with REGEDIT (if you feel adventurous) for the
   key "DefaultIcon" in any of the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID sections.
   There is a DefaultIcon key for most of those.

     * 13.5.5. How can I replace all the drive, folder, printer, etc
       icons? 
       
   This is a theory, but it is possible based on the COOL.DLL stuff last
   section. COOL.DLL is really a 16-bit library (QuickView it to see for
   yourself). So, it is possible to edit COOL.DLL with a Win 3.1 icon
   editor that supports library files (such as Borland's resource editor
   for Win 3.1 which comes with Turbo C++), or copy it and replace all
   the icons. This is safer than Registry hacking, and it's easier to
   transport with your theme.
   
   Angelo says the best icon editor around is "Microangelo". You can also
   find many HiColor icons at
   http://www.southern.edu/people/jrbeck/iconpacks (I hope you can
   find Microangelo there!)
   
   Once you do that, save it with the name COOL.DLL and replace the one
   in your SYSTEM directory with this one. You will need to re-start
   Win95 for this to take effect. You will need to replace the Computer,
   Net Hood, and Recycle Bin icons the normal way, but the icons can come
   from the COOL.DLL replacement you make up.
   
   NOTE: Check out the INFGEN.EXE tool which comes with Service Pack 1
   Admin Edition. Since many of the newest themes include replacement
   LOGO.SYS files, new fonts, and the like, it might make sense to
   prepare a theme installable from Add/Remove Programs / Windows Setup /
   Have Disk. Win95 .inf files can contain any kind of configuration
   info, including Registry changes and replacements for any kind of
   file. This method can also work if the user doesn't have MS Plus
   installed!
   
   Every time I see the file "COOL.DLL" I think of an AVI file Microsoft
   distributed with their VidTest 1.0 package, which had Bill Gates
   saying "Cool!" at the end of it. Look for COOL.AVI in the MS
   Multimedia Demo CD-ROM, or in VidTest.
   

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Top Document: Win95 FAQ Part 13 of 14: MS Plus etc.
Previous Document: 13.4. How do I use DriveSpace 3?
Next Document: 13.6. How do I use the "Visual Enhancements"?

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:12 PM