Use custom themes in Windows Vista

Martin Brinkmann
May 16, 2007
Updated • Jun 30, 2013

Just like in Windows XP, the ability to use custom themes in Windows Vista is limited as Microsoft is locking down that option by default. There is however a very convenient way to unlock custom theme use in Windows Vista.

All you need is the free software Vista Glazz from the developer Code Gazer which, when executed, unlocks the ability to use custom themes and also changes the Vista Aero theme to use Glass effects on maximized windows as well.

The program basically patches several core system files that block the installation of unsigned themes on Windows Vista.

This is pretty useful for those who like to download custom themes from sites like Deviant Art and apply them to their system.

The program has not been updated for some time now, and it is not clear if it is compatible with all service packs that Microsoft has released for Windows Vista in the past.


If you are running Windows XP, Vista or 7 you can make use of Vista Glazz to patch the system's theme files so that you can install third party themes on your system afterwards.

Update: The latest version of the application is compatible with all versions of Vista, and also with Windows XP SP3 and Windows 7 SP1.

An alternative is Universal Theme Patcher which you can use as well to patch Windows system files to install third party themes on the system.

The program supports the classic Windows Vista operating system, as well as all service packs that have been released for it by Microsoft in the past. It supports all different language versions as well, and other Microsoft operating systems like Windows XP or Windows 7.

Even better, it automatically backs up the original files, and provides you with the means to restore them at a later point in time if you ever want to return to the status quo.

The theme patcher is offered for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, and users need to start the right version for their operating system to patch the files successfully. A restart may be required before the changes become available. Another alternative is the UXTheme Multi Patcher which is also compatible with all mentioned operating systems.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. littledev said on March 2, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    is it possible to see the list of visual styles instead of just scrolling each aero style just to locate the one you just added

  2. Reid said on November 17, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Just did the software. I was a bit scared at first after i patched the system, but nothing wrong happened to my supprise. i guess some people just have bad luck.

  3. shawn said on October 20, 2009 at 2:34 am

    it DOES make aero work when your window is maximized, though it doesnt let you use themes (vista home premium sp2)

  4. Vista is crap said on June 13, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Doesn’t work.

  5. AVG said on April 10, 2009 at 8:43 pm




  6. brad said on September 24, 2008 at 8:09 am

    If you have SP1 you need to use the beta 1.1 version.

  7. julien said on August 28, 2008 at 6:51 am

    i tried to install work and then a little box appear and say that some .dll
    cannot be found bla bla bla and then it close my windows…i reboot my computer and when i arrived on my dekstop another time the box appeared and say dans window explorer cannot work and then my cpu shut down again …what should i do ??!

  8. Sandeep said on May 30, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    It doesn’t work once you’ve applied Service Pack 1. Hopefully a new version of Vista Glazz will come out!

  9. mick said on March 1, 2008 at 5:45 am

    i tried this too and does nothing. i still have the vista aero theme but when i choose it i get a black background instead of the vista wallpaper.

  10. will said on October 19, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    i tried it, patched the files and everytin, didnt let me use other themes and then when i tried to unpatch them removed aero from my system altogether!!

  11. thedom98 said on October 3, 2007 at 1:43 am

    I don’t get it…what does it do? I got it but I have no idea what-so-ever. Could someone please help me?

  12. Radical said on September 16, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Ima try this right now!

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