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graphic Windows VISTA Information
graphic Help! I don't know how to get my original startup and shutdown screens back!
graphic Windows original files downloads (including startup and shutdown screens)
graphic I've followed the startup and shutdown screen instructions and I STILL can't see them!
graphic Do themes & savers work with XP?
graphic Why is there another program in the theme file and what is it?
graphic All the theme previews are showing as broken links
graphic I installed one of your Auto Install themes and there are no files.
graphic I'm using Win95 and your jpg wallpaper doesn't load or I get an illegal operation message.
graphic What are WebViews and why can't I see them?
graphic What are Logos? (startup and shutdown screens)
graphic Your themes don't work. I'm using Desktop Architect, Connectix, or another theme installer.
graphic I can't navigate to the pages on this site & Where are the themes?
graphic How do I download?
graphic My password isn't working
graphic All the links are taking me weird places
graphic How do I use the JPG images as wallpaper?
graphic I'm using Windows 98, but can't see gradients
graphicNT problems
graphicCan I use themes with Windows 2000?
graphicCan I use themes with Windows XP?

How do I apply themes and savers in Vista?

VISTA 32 bit versions- Themes will install just fine. You just double click on the exe file as usual. Your startup sound will not work and the network neighborhood icon will not change. Other than that, things work GREAT. To change the network neighborhood icon, you will need to go to PERSONALIZE. On the far left side you will see "change desktop icons." Click on that. Then browse to C:\\Windows\Resources\Themes" and click on the the subdirectory where your theme is located. You can manually apply the Network icon. Wallpaper exe files on my site also work just fine as do screensavers.

If you like the "glass" bars (Windows AERO) and don't want the theme colors, go to the PERSONALIZE area and choose "Windows Aero". This will reinstall your smoky bars. You will lose all the color information in the theme, but wallpaper, icons, cursors, and sounds will remain. Windows Aero is not available with Vista Home Basic. It is only available on Vista Home Premium and above.

VISTA ULTIMATE (64 bit)- You need to run the exe file as an administrator. This will create a Plus!/Themes directory on your C: drive. You then access the theme by clicking desktop/Personalise/Theme. As noted above, the startup sound will not work and the network icon will not change. Follow instructions above for changing the icon. Wallpaper exe files on my site work just fine. Not all screensavers will work. Savers that are merely "scr" files work just fine, but some of the exe files are not compatible. Ones that I know work are marked "vista 64 bit compatible."

Once you have the theme exactly how you like it, you can then go to PERSONALIZE, choose "themes" and "save as". Choose the same theme name and it will overwrite the theme file with the settings you just entered, so next time you apply the theme the icons will be there and Windows Aero will be there (or not... depending on your preferences).

Desktop Architect-
Believe it or not, this great free theme manager still works with Vista! Naturally, the Win 98 sections of the program no longer apply, and startup and shutdown screens no longer apply, but it will still work to manage and package themes!

Help! A theme overwrote my startup and shutdown screens!


If you installed one of my themes, it's very easy to get back your original startup and shutdown screens unless you use Windows ME. Just run the *Logos.exe file again. Instead of asking you if you want to install the logo files, it will ask you if you want to restore your originals. If you didn't save that file, read on.

If you have Desktop Architect as your theme manager (Win 95-XP), go into DA and click on the Logo tab. Then press the "restore defaults" button. That will restore your originals. You shouldn't use the startup/shutdown screens section at all with XP.

If neither of the above two methods apply, the fix varies depending on the version of Windows you have. With WINDOWS 95 you will need to replace the following three files: logo.sys, logow.sys, logos.sys. They are normally in C:\, and C:\WINDOWS. Replace them with the appropriate version in the general section below. For Windows 98 you have two choices. You can simply delete the logo.sys, logow.sys, and logos.sys files, or you can replace them with the appropriate files below. Windows ME is a little different. It has only logo.sys and logos.sys. But if the theme you installed used a logo installer, it installed all three files. Because there is no original logow.sys file to restore, you'll get an error message. Because of this you'll have to replace the originals manually. Use Windows Explorer to find the files and then replace them with all three in the ME archive below. If you manually replace all three files (rather than just the two) you will be able to use LogoZip installers to install and uninstall your startup and shutdown screens in the future.

General Help

graphic Download a help text file
This is a general help file that tells you how to install themes, wallpaper, and cursors, and what to do if you are having problems. If a theme author has not included instructions and you're not sure what to do, this file should help.
graphic Download the Windows 95 default theme
If you have accidentally deleted this theme, and want it back, here it is. This will automatically unzip to the C:\Program Files\Plus!\Themes directory.
graphic Download the original logo.sys, logos.sys, and logow.sys files (Win 95) or the Windows 98 PLUS logo files or the Windows 98 plain logo files.
If a theme has overwritten your Windows startup and shut down screens, or if you forgot to save the originals, all three are included here. The logo.sys goes in your root directory. The other two go in your Windows directory.
graphic Windows ME Logo files
If you've accidentally overwritten your ME logo files here they are. Search your system for Logo.sys and logos.sys and replace them with these. Logow.sys is also included, even though ME doesn't use it.

I've followed the startup/shutdown instructions and still can't see the new ones!

This will only apply to Windows 98 and 95. I'm not sure at this point if they even work with XP, and I know only one of them works with ME and needs to be manually installed (an autoinstaller won't work). If you have replaced or installed the logo.sys, logow.sys, and logos.sys files in Windows 95 or 98 and you are still seeing the Windows default, you are experiencing a problem that I KNOW exists in some versions of Windows 98, since I experienced it. What is happening is that Microsoft tucked away some backups of those files in other areas. Windows knows that the replaced file is not a Microsoft file, so it seeks out the duplicate. You have to find and delete the duplicates. Here is the way to go about that without screwing up your system.

Open up Windows Explorer and do a file search for each of the logo files one by one. Just because you find some doesn't mean they are Microsoft files since Norton also uses those names. Once you find the files, rename each with a bmp extension. If you have "View as Webpage" checked, you will be able to see clearly right within Explorer whether this is a Windows duplicate. The file will be skewed looking, but you'll be able to tell. When you find the duplicates, just leave them with the bmp extension. That way you'll have a backup on your system somewhere. As soon as you have renamed or deleted all the duplicates you will need to restart your machine. You should now see the replaced logo screens.

Do Themes & Savers Work With XP?

YES! They install to a new directory now (Windows/Resources), but they work just fine. You will no longer be able to use modified startup and shutdown screens, so don't install those at all. There actually IS a way to modify them, but it's very complicated, and not even worth it in my opinion, since the splash screen is visible for such a short time. XP comes with a themes installer, and is upgraded somewhat with Plus! for XP. Believe it or not, Desktop Architect still works like a champ with XP, and even to some extent with Vista (32 bit only), even though it was last updated during Windows 98. I still highly recommend the program. To access themes, go to your Control Panel area and click on the Themes icon. If you are using a self installing theme, like those I design, it will still find the default themes directory to install to. If you have downloaded a theme that needs to be manually installed, c:\windows\resources\themes or a subdirectory directly under this is where the theme should go. Follow the theme readme file to determine the name of the subdirectory since it's important this is named properly.

Screensavers will still operate properly under XP. The default directory for screensavers is C:\WINNT\system32\.

What is this other program in the theme file?

Anyone who stores their files on an EZ Theme or Themes and Screens servers will have their file "repackaged." That repackaging, at this time, adds a program called Gator to the file package (though that could change based on the advertiser). This is necessary due to the dramatic drop in advertising revenue. None of us want to see see sites go to a fee basis. This repackaging issue does not affect just my site, but all sites who use IBoost, which is most of the high volume theme sites, so you will eventually be encountering this on most theme sites. The good news is that you do not have to install Gator to install the theme. During installation there will be a screen that will ask you if you want to install the program. Make sure the box is not checked to install Gator if you don't want it installed. If you choose to install Gator, or change your mind during installation, you will be asked again later on as it acesses the site to finish the installation. So, you will be given two chances to determine if you want to install the additional software or not. If you choose to install Gator, you will receive a cookie that will prevent further installations of the software (unless advertisers change). On many themes there is a secondary link you can use. Secondary links do not have Gator packaged with the theme.

If you installed Gator and have a firewall, you will notice that you will be asked if you want to run FSG.EXE. That is the Gator program attempting to complete installation. If you change your mind about installation at this point and can't delete the fsg.exe program, reboot your computer and then delete it.

If you installed Gator by accident and want it off your computer, you may want to do more than simply uninstall it due to the nature of the program. There is a fantastic freeware product on the net called Ad-aware. It will seek out "spyware" (programs that transmit demographic information or info about your browsing). When you run it it will give you the ability to completely remove it from your system including cookies and registry entries. If you have Norton Utilities you probably have noticed that a typical uninstall often leaves bits and pieces behind. I run Ad-aware regularly and love it. The URL to download this small program is

Just for your info, there's a lot of spyware out there. Some people really don't care, but if you want to stay away from it, here are the most common. Adware (not to be confused with Ad-Aware), Alexa 1.0-5.0, Aureate v1.0, 2.0 and 3.0, Comet Cursor v1.0 and v2.0, Cydoor, Doubleclick, DSSAgent, EverAd, Flyswat, Gator, OnFlow-Player, TimeSink v1.0,v2.0 and v5.0, Web3000 and Webhancer. Ad-Aware will remove all of these programs if you want it to.

graphic How do I learn to do themes?
Check the Tutorials, etc. dropdown list for help with making your own themes.

All the theme previews are broken links

graphic The main cause is using a program to prevent ads or popups. Zone Alarm Pro, for example, will show some graphics as broken links, because some cgi scripts look like ad code when you have the ad eliminator turned on. Temporarily turn off Zone Alarm Pro (or other popup/ad stopper) and that should cure the problem.
To view my site in the normal way, please shut down your browser, restart it, and then go to Do not go through any kind of program, download manager, search engine, or another site if you wish to see the previews.

I Installed one of your Auto Install Themes and there are no files

The auto installer assumes you are using the default directories for Windows and Plus! and will install all files to the following places:
THEME FILES- C:\Program Files\Plus!\Themes\Name of Theme
SOME SCREENSAVERS- C:\Windows\SYSTEM\name of theme.scr

If you are not using the default directories, or if you are not using Plus!, these files will still be installed to the directories above even if they did not exist on your computer. Go into your Windows Explorer and refresh the page. Manually search for the directories above. You will need to drag the theme subdirectory and the other items to where you want them when you're not using the default Windows or Plus directories.

What are WebViews and why can't I see them?

To automatically see WebViews you need to have Windows 98 and Plus for 98. Webviews are graphics that show in the file preview area of Windows Explorer screens when you have them enabled. They are also graphics that show when you want to view your Windows directory. All Windows 98 users can run themes, but only Plus users have WebViews. But there is a way to enable WebViews without Plus. If you download one of Microsoft's Windows 98 themes from their website, the files necessary to see webviews will be installed on your computer after downloading and installing the theme. After reboot you'll have the Webviews.

There is also a freeware program out that will enable Windows 98 to use webviews. Download the program (37k).

What are Logos?

Logos are startup and shutdown screens. When you start windows, you see the cloud picture with the Microsoft logo and the moving bar at the bottom. That's the startup screen. You have two shutdown screens. One that says Windows is shutting down and another that says it's O.K. to shut down your computer. The shutdown screens are usually black with orange letters. If you have Plus! or another theme manager that supports the logo files, these screens can be replaced. My themes have logo files that will install automatically in the proper locations, but not all themes do. If you need to manually install your logo screens, first backup the originals or rename them!! With Plus, only the file names below will work. That means you will need to rename the files to the names below if they are named something different. Some theme managers don't need you to do this. Your three files are named logo.sys, logow.sys, and logos.sys. These three files are actually skewed bitmaps. Here is where you need to place them (changing drive letters and your default Windows directory if needed):

For Windows ME (this is based on info given to me since I don't use ME):
logos.sys is in C:\Windows
logo.sys is in C:\Windows\Options\Cabs
logow.sys isn't used.

Themes don't work

graphic My themes are designed for Plus (see the directories the auto-install themes will install to above). Desktop Themes (from LeftSide Software), My Themes, Connectix, and probably other installers may have their own peculiarities. If you have the problem with Desktop Architect, there is a fix for this problem. After unzipping the file, right click on the name_of_theme.theme file. Choose the "install" option. This will recompile the theme so it will work with Desktop Architect. You can also open up Desktop Architect and install the theme from a button along the top. I use DA as well as Plus, and it only seems to be the older versions of Desktop Architect that experience problems. Sometimes, people don't code their themes correctly, or you haven't put them in the proper directory. Please look for a readme file with the theme. This is usually what the problem is.

I'm using Win95 and JPG images won't load as wallpaper or I get an Illegal Operation message

There was a bug within the Windows 95 themes.exe file. Microsoft released a patch 9/9/96. If your themes.exe file is older than 9/9/96 you need to download the patch. You can download it here.

Copy the file into your Plus!-directory over the old one. This should enable you to use *jpg files as wallpaper too. You can read more about this problem in the Microsoft Knowledge Base at;EN-US;Q160846&LNG=ENG&SA=ALLKB

I can't navigate to the pages on this site!

You must have javascript enabled in your browser. Also, be sure you are using the scroll bar on the left (not just the one on the right). This site uses frames. Some sites link to secondary pages. Be sure to go in the front door at so you'll have the index.

How do I download?

  • Click on a download checkmark in My Themes Directory. Most themes will download remotely and you will be taken off this site.
  • Themes resident on my site go through a redirect script to prevent remote linking. You will get a popup window with the file to download. Then you click "Click Here" to download. There may be a delay while the cgi script initializes. Be patient and it will start to download.
  • On wallpapers and featured theme areas, the download links are left of the preview.

    Your password isn't working

    I no longer use a password protected directory for my files. I use a redirect script. You may be viewing a cached copy of a page. Refresh your browser. I suggest you don't have your browser cache all websites. Here is how to check your caching status.


    1. Go to the top bar. Click on Edit/Preferences.
    2. Click on the "+" sign next to the word "advanced".
    3. Click on the word "cache".
    4. Make sure that you have selected the radio button near the bottom that says "Once per session."
    5. Click OK, close all open browsers, restart and reconnect.


    1. Click on Start/settings/control panel.
    2. Double click on the Internet icon.
    3. Click on the "general" tab.
    4. In the center you will see a section that says "Temporary Internet Files." Click on the "settings" button.
    5. You'll get a new screen. Make sure that you have chosen the "Every time you start Internet Explorer" radio button.

    All the links are taking me to the wrong places

    You are clicking on the links but are being taken to completely unrelated pages.
    I have had some a few reports of an inability to navigate this site. Specifically, what is happening to a very few people is that when they click on any of the page links in the themes table, they are being taken to a completely different page.

    I have narrowed the problem down to AOL users who are using an older AOL internal browser and possibly MSIE 3 users. The problem is due to a browser incompatibility problem involving information that is contained within the table. The best help I can offer is to upgrade your AOL version or use Netscape or MSIE 4+ after you've logged on to AOL and to be sure to half javascript turned on. You will not be able to download from this site without javascript enabled due to the cgi script I use.

    How do I use JPG images as wallpaper?

  • Click on the thumbnail.
  • Let the jpg image load fully.

    MSIE Instructions

  • Right click with your mouse, choose "save picture as," save to your wallpaper directory (usually your C:\Windows folder).

  • Netscape Instructions

  • Right click with your mouse, choose "save image as," save to your wallpaper directory (usually your C:\Windows folder).

    Here are instructions for saving to your hard drive for later use. It looks like you can only use bitmaps for Windows wallpaper, but Windows does have other filters. There are several ways to invoke it, but the easiest is open up the file in Netscape or MSIE 5. IE 4.01 does not have this ability unless the image is resident on an HTML page. If you are a MSIE user, I strongly suggest upgrading to version 5.


    (This only works with Netscape & MSIE 5)
    1. Move the graphic file to your wallpaper directory.
    2. Open up Netscape. From the menu, choose File/Open Page.
    3. Click the "choose file" button.
    4. The default file is HTML. Change the "files of type" window to read *.*
    5. Browse to the location of the jpg file, double click to choose.
    6. Press "open".
    7. Position your mouse cursor over the image in your browser and right click with your mouse.
    8. Choose "set as wallpaper."

    No Gradients in Win98

    If you are using Windows 98 and haven't added Plus 98, some of the versions don't read the title bar gradients properly. If you don't see gradients, go to the Windows update URL and download one of their themes. This seems to update the themes.exe file.

    NT Problems

    I can't help you NT problems, but I will post any "fixes" you can come up with for NT. I have heard that themes will work with NT when XTheme Manager is installed on the system. Besides that bit of infor, here is what I've received so far.

    No Sound from one login to another

    You may remember that I sent you an email about a month ago or so asking you if you had any ideas why the theme's sound scheme would not save from one login to another on a Windows NT 4.0 workstation. You told me you had heard of this problem from other folks and asked me to let you know if I discovered a solution.

    Well, I don't know if this is a "solution" or not, but it has worked twice now for me when I've changed themes. After downloading and installing your Spring theme (I tried this first with Easter1), I set it up as my desktop theme. I made sure that all the options for the theme were selected.

    Then I opened Control Panel/Sounds. I checked to make sure that all of the events were, in fact, connected to your *.wav files within your Spring theme. They were. I also assigned a *.wav file to the New Mail Notification event. I then saved the scheme as Spring.

    This is the third day in a row now that the sounds have come up when I log onto my workstation. I've not had to go into Control Panel and "reattach" Spring as my scheme.

    No Sound from one login to another

    You may remember that I sent you an email about a month ago or so asking you if you had any ideas why the theme's sound scheme would not save from one login to another on a Windows NT 4.0 workstation. You told me you had heard of this problem from other folks and asked me to let you know if I discovered a solution.

    Well, I don't know if this is a "solution" or not, but it has worked twice now for me when I've changed themes. After downloading and installing your Spring theme (I tried this first with Easter1), I set it up as my desktop theme. I made sure that all the options for the theme were selected.

    Then I opened Control Panel/Sounds. I checked to make sure that all of the events were, in fact, connected to your *.wav files within your Spring theme. They were. I also assigned a *.wav file to the New Mail Notification event. I then saved the scheme as Spring.

    This is the third day in a row now that the sounds have come up when I log onto my workstation. I've not had to go into Control Panel and "reattach" Spring as my scheme.

    Can I use themes with Windows 2000?

    I have no experience with Windows 2000, so I can't help you, but here is a snip from an article that ran in ZDNet: Sandy's Themes also has a really nice fact page that may answer lots of your questions. I have anecdotal information that Desktop Archtect will install and use traditional themes just fine on Windows 2000.

    Site and graphics Debbie's Desktop Themes