How to Open and Use Windows 7 Themes in Windows XP
By on June 13th, 2010

monitor-colors-ico I have Windows 7 on one of my computers, however, I spend the majority of my time using Windows XP, both at home and at work. Recently, I saw a very nice Win7 theme and I wanted to use the wallpapers on my WinXP netbook. This made me dig into how Win7 themes are made and how they work.

You can find the official Windows 7 themes at Microsoft:

themepack-downloads

There are plenty of other places to get Windows 7 Themes, and we’ve written about some of them. As an example, let’s take a look at a theme we posted about recently.

Here’s the FIFA 2010 World Cup Windows 7 Theme by EA Sports.

When you download the theme in Windows XP, you’ll see that there is no program associated with it to open the file. So how can you open it up?

themepack-file

There are at least two ways, first lets try the easy method. Rename the file and add the extension .CAB to the end of it.

image

Now you’ll see that Windows XP recognizes this file type (hopefully). Double click it and the CAB file will open in an Explorer window.

themepack-opened-as-cab

Copy the JPG files into your My Pictures folder or some other place and you can use them as wallpapers. Sometimes, there are also cursor and sound files that you can use if you wish. As far as I know, there isn’t much you can do with the THEME file you’ll find in a Windows 7 themepack.

If you can’t open up the CAB file because Windows doesn’t recognize it, you can use a third party program to open it. I recommend 7zip. Once it’s installed, you can right click on any themepack file and extract it to a local folder.

Now you know about as much as I do about Windows 7 themepack files. Be sure to tell me if you know a little bit more about these files that you think is useful. (comment below)


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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at clif@techie-buzz.com.
  • Jon

    Just downloaded a package using the .CAB method and it worked. Thanks!

    • http://news.google.com/news/search?author:clif+sipe Clif

      Excellent – thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.mezzi.com/ Aluminum Laptop Case

    Great workaround Clif. It would be frustrating for a windows xp user to find a great windows 7 theme that they are unable to use. Of course the wallpaper is usually the highlight of the theme and the part that most people would want to use.

    • http://clif-notes.blogspot.com Clif

      Thanks Jeremy

  • http://www.squidoo.com/howtorepairwindows7 sidder

    Thanks for the info on the themes I will give it a try.

  • JOHN

    thanks very much. followed your steps. they are easy to understand.
    thanks again.

    • http://www.google.com/profiles/clif.notes Clif Sipe

      You are very welcome.

 
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