Site menu:

Windows XP > Windows XP How To's

Apply Windows XP Theme To Third Party Applications

By: Arie Slob

Did you notice that some third party applications don't have the XP theme style applied? They look all flat, exactly like they used to in previous Windows versions, but not comparable to the Windows XP "themed" GUI.

You can easily change that!

  1. Use Windows Explorer to open the folder where the program file (for which you want to change the style) is located
  2. Right-click an empty space in the folder, and select New > Text Document
  3. Copy and paste the text below inside your new Text Document:
  4. Save it and change the file name to program-name.exe.manifest (If the normal program name would be 123program.exe, you would call the manifest file 123program.exe.manifest

When you next run the program and you should see the XP theme applied to it. Don't expect it to work on everything though.

Below is a part of a program with some controls (tabs, check boxes and a drop-down box) without the visual style:

This is how the same looks like with visual style support: